This wine is hard for me to categorize as rosé – it has a textural depth and harmony of expression that comes from the extreme care taken in the vineyards and the fact that it is aged for far longer than is usual for a rosé (a year in the barrel and then another 18 months in the bottle). The aging gives it a distinct quality, a present funkiness that is far from dirty, but carries the experience farther than summer water ever could. Before I get to the heart of the wine, and how it brought me back from a state of disrepair – literally – there’s something you need to know.
I am a case-less phone carrier. I admit it. I have an iPhone, and I carry it naked, in all of its design glory and sleek, ergonomic splendor. It’s what Steve would have wanted. And then the other day, it slid off of my lap and gracefully travelled in slow motion – it was practically ballet – until it landed face down on asphalt. Unprotected. I felt like a negligent parent and cracked inside along with my screen.
And what followed was a saga of epic repair proportions – I thought I’d deftly avoid the grove on a Sunday and took it to a screen repair place with 1,800 5-star reviews on yelp. That should have acted as a warning, I guess, but hindsight, you know?
Anyway, cut to U Break We Fix:
UBWF: Here you go! Your phone is ready!
Me: Umm, ok but I can’t type anything.
UBWF: That’s weird, let’s have a look. Ok, give me 5 minutes. Okay it’s ready [again].
Me: Umm, but I still can’t type anything (at this point my Dad is super pissed because I am not answering his texts about how to click on a Facebook link).
UBWF: Let’s see? Ok give me 5 minutes.
We had this exchange for four rounds.
Finally, they implored me to take a loaner phone and come back in the morning. That’s odd, we’re not treating a hangover here. I declined the scripted remedy. They put a broken screen back on – someone else’s because they couldn’t find mine in the heaping graveyard of screens, and sent me on my way. And then, my phone didn’t work AT ALL. Not even Siri. Not that she’s super on it normally, but still.
Things had gone from cosmetic to medical. I had one option only: urgent care (aka the Apple Store). At the Grove. ON A SUNDAY.
Where’s the wine in all this you ask? You better believe I was asking the same damn thing.
Scene two: Walking to the Apple Store on a Sunday is worse than trying to navigate the 405 at 5pm. At least on the freeway you can scroll through an Instagram feed and fantasize about Bali or whatever. The Grove is bad fashion, relentless Frank Sinatra, kids cracked out on Dylan’s Candy, and a geyser-like fountain shooting water in the air – a 40-foot wet middle finger in the face of the California drought. What a mockery of a place.
For the record, I love Frank, but it’s a grotesque soundtrack to apply to the scene outlined above. I needed a cold glass of wine STAT, and all I had was my broken phone and two hours to kill until the doctor could see us. Little ole Wine Drinker, Me came over the loud speaker. The entire Rat Pack was mocking me. I was the fool in the corner.
I refused to participate in Grove madness and shop (but then I broke down and shopped). I closed my eyes and imagined myself glass in hand, a twinkling pink pool of Domaine Dupasquier’s Rosé that I had sitting in my fridge at home. A cool treat made from Pinot Noir, Gamay and Mondeuse – a trio that would have shut Sammy, Dean, and Frank right up because of how delicious it is. Like a faithful friend ready for the call to mend your broken heart, it was waiting for me. If only it could have healed my cracked screen.
But for what it lacks in technology repair it makes up for x 1000 in undoing ego shatter. It is a slinky wine with a gentle sexiness (similar to the unnecessary lacy top I bought during my hours stranded on Grove island). If most pink wines skip happily along, this one glides; it dances slow and deliberate, not fast like a teenager. There is something tea-like in its delicate but assertive complexity. Its color glows intensely pink, like a bougainvillea in a garden of pale roses.
Kids trotted by me, stuffing their faces with gum and candy. I wanted my own treat. Dupasquier, with its vivid, sun-ripened fruit and nothing bubblegum-y about it: rose petals, violets, and ripe red strawberry twirled in my head, mingling with balsamic and peace and quiet.
When I finally got my fix, I was instantly uplifted, joyous even, forgetting that I had just wasted 6 hours of life on 3rd and Fairfax. Some wines just reel you in.
This wine is from Savoie, which is a place that is much more amazing than The Grove. It’s a little hamlet in Southeastern France, close to the Rhone Valley, where the Dupasquier family has been growing and winemaking for five generations, doing everything by hand with natural processes and only native yeasts. Sixty-year-old vines add dense layers but there’s total accessibility.
I love when people say oh, that’s pretty dark for a rosé, it must be poor quality. I only drink pale pink wines. Well that’s wine-cism. Darker colored rosé can be just as amazing as those pale colored hues you love from Provence. Sometimes, these darker creatures are more apropos than that delicate shade of salmon. Sunsets are intensely colored, do you mind those?
This is a generous wine; the second you walk in the door it gives you a neck massage AND a foot massage, putting definition to the word unwind. Then it gives you a gentle, warm kiss before going all the way down.
And, it’s absolutely perfect with food. Round and broad on your palate, it spreads itself across the surface of your tongue the way silk moves in those commercials for ice cream bars. It is rich, but as buoyant and refreshing as a bouquet of flowers for no reason.
Although I did not receive flowers for no reason, I did get quite the surprise in the mail a few days later from someone who loves me as much as I love rosé: Hudson, in all his sunbathing glory, sitting blissfully head turned to the sky, taking in life’s smallest pleasure of doing nothing at all. There he was, basking on the back of a brand new phone case. His expression said it all: life’s pretty delicious.
Which brings me to the moral of this story: pink wine should not be judged by its color, but by the hand that makes it. The producer is what matters most, and Dupasquier is one of the quiet greats, making wines I couldn’t be happier to share. And actually, I’ll be even happier if you don’t even buy any, because I will delight in keeping it all for myself, there is so little of this one.
And secondly, iPhones, while beautiful, also deserve to be wrapped in their own fitting shade of pink. It’s what Steve would have wanted.
THE CHEAT SHEET
THE WINE: Domaine Dupasquier Rosé de Savoie, France 2012
THE GRAPE: Mondeuse, Pinot Noir, Gamay
HOMETOWN: Savoie, France.
TASTES LIKE: Strawberries at the height of ripeness, roses, and hibiscus with a tea-like complexity and a hint of something balsamic. Texture like whoa.
GOES DOWN EASY WITH: Pretty much anything in the Farmer’s Market would have worked with this. This is a true food wine – cheeses, pork, chicken, duck, and spicy foods are awesome with this.
IF YOU LIKE: If you love rosé but want to experience something different, explore the category in a little more depth and get out of your rosé comfort zone, drink this.
WINE HACK: I am currently exploring drinking wine with Thai food. This treat scores 10/10.
FYI - This wine is super small production, and won’t be back till next vintage.