Friday, June 1, 2007

A Real BBQ Wine: 2006 Domaine de la Mordorée Tavel Rosé

Okay, I admit it, my suggestions for "barbecue wines" were pretty absurd. As one poster on Don Rockwell's board put it: "Surely there's a happy medium between painfully 'middlebrow' and unbearably upscale. Next time I'm cruising Charles County for 'cue I'll be sure to bring my iced Billecart-Saumon and a couple of flutes. Nothing says authentic barbecue like bubbly." Point taken. (Though the sheer absurdity of my picks was largely the point.) As I replied:

I absolutely agree that there's a happy medium between the industrial wines written up in the Post article and my "unbearably upscale" counter suggestions. My post was deliberately reactionary -- to bring out the big guns that would still pair well with barbecue in taste, if not necessarily in spirit. I'd probably prefer a beer or two with Charles County 'cue, myself. I just found it incredibly frustrating to see the Post's wine writers trotting out four seemingly arbitrary "factory wines," as someone called them, without any discussion of where they come from, how they're made, or how they relate to other wines. Of course, as Mark pointed out, they weren't that arbitrary after all.

If I had been writing in a more temperate frame of mind, I probably would have suggested something like Tempier's Rose or Mordoree's Tavel Rose. Usually, my co-blogger Jeffrey and I try to stick to writing about wines $20/under. There definitely is a sweet spot to be found for the Post's audience of reasonably priced, artisanal wines, particularly given, as someone noted, DC's lax importation laws and quality retailers. But, again, it's frustrating to have these writers based in New York with little apparent knowledge of or curiosity about the DC market -- on their website, they ask distributors sending in samples to New York to document that these wines are available in DC stores, which puts the onus on the wrong party. It's not surprising that they ended up with three Constellation wines.

I haven't yet had the 2006 Domaine Tempier Bandol Rosé, but I can heartily recommend Domaine de la Mordorée's 2006 Tavel Rosé ($17), which I drank over lunch today. Beautifully colored (trying to think of words to describe it, I couldn't come up with anything better than "rose colored"), the Tavel Rosé is heady and full-bodied (a stated 14.5% alc., probably higher) with delightful strawberry and framboise flavors. The wine is voluminous (from the alcohol) but not weighty, and the fruit is well balanced by good acidity. It's a bit one-dimensional in the mid-palate, but it is undeniably a great food wine. Served well chilled, it is an ideal pairing with BBQ -- refreshing and hedonistic -- if one can do without PBR.

(For D.C.-area readers, the 2006 Tavel Rosé is currently on sale at Calvert-Woodley for $14.99; no commercial affiliation.)

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