My husband and I recently moved into a new apartment, switching up our oceanfront digs in sleepy, Pompano Beach, for a high-rise in downtown Miami’s Brickell district. While the moving process was as expected (i.e., exhausting) I can say without hesitation that we made the right choice.
Locals refer to our neighborhood as Mini Manhattan, a descriptor that appeals to me. We have skyscrapers galore, with a host more under construction. Traffic is bustling – and loud! – during business hours, but quiets down in the evening. That’s when the humans emerge, their voices bubbling out of side-street cafés in more languages than I can count.
If I close my eyes, it’s easy to pretend I’m in Madrid – a place I love – or in Rio, one I’ve only imagined. After a few weeks, I understand why Miami is called the Magic City.
Women here dress vividly, in colors Pantone would approve of; they perfume themselves in the same fashion, trailing sweet-scented vapors as they strut by. They want to be noticed! It might be the most powerful observation I’ve made in my short time here: young or old, petite or voluptuous, Miami women are a force of Nature, exuding energy, sex appeal, and confidence.
In contrast, the men are less showy, maybe not daring to compete with the awesome display put on by the females. It’s like the avian world in reverse, with the men in camouflage, blending into the background, and the women adorned in color and accoutrements. It’s a beautiful thing!
Right in My Backyard
Slowly but surely, we’ve settled in, getting rid of most of the boxes and finding a place for most of our stuff. That has set me free to sleuth around for little neighborhood gems; the shops and restaurants just outside our door that will become our new haunts. Here’s what I’ve found so far:
- The most amazing Italian wine shop! Enoteca has bottlings from every one of Italy’s 20 wine-producing regions, including a few wines I’ve only read about. Can’t wait to dig deeper into their inventory and take advantage of their expertise.
- The perfect early-morning walk. A waterfront pedestrian path provides the perfect escape from traffic on Brickell Avenue, and offers me a glimpse of a few of the boats docked nearby.
- Two (!) grocery stores within walking distance.
- A Cuban take-out place in the lobby of our building, where we can pick up homemade empanadas, pastries, and super-charged coffee without venturing outside.
- And, for a bit of local color, there’s the Lamborghini parked in the garage, with the license plate CASHIN. I just know there’s a story there!
Christening Our New Abode with French Rosé
Given that our first two weeks were spent breaking down boxes and organizing furniture deliveries, it was nice to slow down last weekend and enjoy our new apartment. My sister flew in for a few days, and we toasted her arrival with some wines from Provence.
For me, rosé is the perfect celebration wine: sparkling or still, made via direct press or saignée, its rosy hue and refreshing profile enhance everyone’s good mood. And here in Miami, especially during the summer, there’s nothing better to tame the temperature and humidity.
It’s also a great wine for sitting on the balcony and reconnecting with your sister, catching up on normal life, in normal times. We’ve had a rough year, losing our mother in March, then attending to and settling her affairs. Our family spent Easter together, but it was bittersweet, with much of our conversation centered on Mom. This was our first chance to sit back, relax, and just do what sisters do: laugh, gossip, fight, and make up; repeated as necessary throughout the weekend. French rosé was the silky ribbon that tied it all together, the perfect accessory to our visit.
Each of the wines described here was sent as a tasting sample, although the opinions expressed here are my own. Many thanks to Teuwen Communications, Terlato Wines, and Donna White PR for including me in the process.
2017 Château de Berne Inspiration Rosé ($19.99 retail; 12.5% abv)
From the well-known Provençal appellation AOP Côtes de Provence, this gorgeous bottle contains 70% Grenache Noir, 20% Cinsault, and 10% Syrah. I love my rosé with a healthy dose of Grenache, so it’s no surprise that I found myself returning for glass after glass of this wine.
Grapes are grown on slopes (elev. 1,000 feet) not far from the Mediterranean, on limestone and clay soils. The entire property comprises over 1,200 acres and dates to the 12th century, although Romans made wine here even earlier than that. These days, luxury travelers can enjoy the amenities of the Relais & Châteaux property, which include a Michelin-starred restaurant, full-service spa, and cooking school.
Tasting notes: pale pink, with delicate aromas of red fruit; flavors tend toward cherry-almond and pomegranate, with refreshing acidity. Medium-bodied with a tart cherry finish accented by a slight saline tang. Delicious!
2017 Château de Berne Emotion Rosé ($16 retail; 12.5% abv)
Another beautiful bottle from the folks at Château de Berne, this wine relies on the same grapes as the Inspiration, just in different proportions: 50% Grenache Noir, 25% Cinsault, and 25% Syrah. Right off the bat I notice the Syrah – there’s a distinct peppery note on the nose that plays well with the pink grapefruit and raspberry aromas. It’s quite enticing!
The color is pale rose gold and, when I look at the full bottle sitting on the counter, it reminds me of the trophy presented to the winner of cycling’s Giro d’Italia or Tour of Italy. One of three Grand Tours contested each year (in addition to the Tour de France and Vuelta a España) the Giro happens in May and the winner takes home the Maglia Rosa (pink jersey) and this gorgeous piece of hardware. As I sit and watch the Tour de France, I take solace in the fact that I’ve got my own rose gold trophy on the table: and it’s full of tasty Provençal rosé.
2017 Ultimate Provence Urban Rosé ($22.99 retail; 12.5% abv)
Ultimate Provence, located near Saint Tropez, boasts just 100 acres of vineyards all of which go into this one bottling: Urban Rosé. Clocking in at 45% Grenache Noir, 35% Cinsault, 15% Syrah, and 5% Rolle grown on sandstone soil, this wine is decidedly aromatic. Cherry, acacia flowers, and a faintly savory note waft from the glass inviting me to take a sip. Its tart acidity tamed by ripe red fruit flavors make for a very enjoyable glass of wine.
The property offers visitors much to amuse them: an amphitheater for concerts and movies, a restaurant featuring local produce, and the chance to meet artists in residence. It’s a true feast for the senses.
And, may I say? This is another mighty attractive bottle! If you’re searching for a hostess gift for your weekend trip this summer, look no further than these three wines. Especially if you’d like to be invited back.
Mathilde Chapoutier, daughter of the celebrated Rhône winemaker Michel Chapoutier, has ventured out on her own, creating a rosé from AOP Côtes de Provence. Grand Ferrage is made from the usual suspects: Grenache Noir, Cinsault, Syrah, and Rolle farmed in the vineyards below Saint-Victoire on south-facing slopes.
The wine is pale pink-lavender with aromas of ripe white peach, red berry, and citrus. On the palate it is refreshing, with tart acidity balanced by a full, rounded texture. It would pair well with a charcuterie plate or a green salad topped with grilled chicken then drizzled with fruity olive oil and a squeeze of lemon. It’s a wine for simple summer pleasures shared with friends and family.
About the French Winophiles
I’ve written this post in conjunction with July’s #Winophiles event celebrating French rosé. We explore French wine the third Saturday of each month, sharing tasting notes, wine discoveries, and travel tales. If you’d care to join us this Saturday, July 21st, we’d love to have you. We start at 11 am ET on Twitter, and our chat follows #Winophiles. Hope to see you there!
Here’s a sample of what everyone is bringing to the table this weekend:
Robin from Crushed Grape Chronicles shares her vision of Côtes de Provence through Rosé Filled Glasses.
Mardi from Eat Live Travel Write goes From Rosé? No Way! To # RoséAllDay.
Camilla from Culinary Adventures with Camilla shares Warm Weather Rosé and Cheese Pairings.
Michelle from Rockin’ Red Blog will be Celebrating the Provençal Lifestyle with Three Rosés.
Lynn from Savor the Harvest cues up Obscure French Rosé Wines – Drink Now.
Gwendolyn from Wine Predator gives us a two-part treat: #RoséAllDay with Grilled Cheese Gourmet for #Winophiles and It’s Summer! Time for Rosé Wine from Provence, France and Seafood Pasta.
Nicole from Somm’s Table adds Cooking to the Wine: Ultimate Provence Urban Rosé with Herbed Sous-Vide Chicken Breasts and Roasted Eggplant Sheet Pan.
Jane from Always Ravenous offers up a Summer Cheese Board with Rosé.
David from Cooking Chat says it’s Always a Good Time to Sip Provence Rosé.
Jill from L’Occasion explains Why Rosé Matters, According to French Culture.
Liz from What’s In That Bottle advises us to Live a More Rosé Life.
Martin from Enofylz Wine Blog discusses The Pleasures of Provençal Rosé #Winophiles.
Payal from Keep the Peas will share Rosé: The Original Red Wine.
Julia from JuliaConey.com talks about Rosé: Not from Provence but Just as Delicious!
Wendy from A Day in the Life on the Farm tempts us with Soupe au Pistou Paired with Rosé.
Looking ahead to August, the Winophiles will delve into the delights of Grower Champagne, with our host Martin Redmond of Enofylz Wine Blog. Keep an eye out for his invitation post soon!