Behind the Cork™ - Left Coast Rosé


2018 Left Coast Estate Rosé ($24)

Left Coast Cellars produces a bunch of nice wines from the Willamette Valley in Oregon. And, this Rosé is another fine example.

This blend of 76% Pinot Noir and 24% Pinot Meunier is fermented and aged in 100% neutral French Oak. The six month of neutral oak aging softens this rosé into a very delicate offering.

The Left Coast Rosé has light distinct aromas of rose pedals, white cherry and some interesting herbal and wood notes. On the palate, there are delicate fruit notes, low acidity and a creamy smoothness.

If you’ve been turned-off in the past by rosés that are like drinking fruity soda pop or pink lemonade, this rosé from Left Coast Cellars is one you should try. At 13.7% alcohol it’s completely dry (no residual sugar) and the red fruit flavors of the Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier (two of the primary grapes in the production of French Champagne) just peek through for some very nice delicate flavors.

As the weather warms up, rosé is always a perfect choice. Give this one a try with fresh feta or chévre cheeses that really accentuate the creamy character of this Left Coast Estate Rosé. Cheers!

Disclosure of Wine Sample Submission: I received this wine at no cost for review. The opinions expressed are entirely my own.

Sample Provided by Will Rogers of Donna White Communications

Wine Fun Facts - Champagne


Champagne is probably the best known wine in the world. And, there’s a lot to know it about this wine.

Here are some fun-facts about Champagne:

  • Champagne is not made from Champagne grapes

  • Champagne is typically produced from three grapes — Pinot Noir (Yes! A red wine grape!), Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier

  • To be called Champagne, it must be produced in the Champagne region of France. Otherwise, it’s called Sparkling Wine

  • California can produce Champagne – such as Korbel, Cook’s or André – and it is perfectly legal to be called Champagne. The loophole that makes this legal stems from a ruling in 2005, after two decades of court battles, when the U.S. and the EU reached an agreement. In exchange for easing trade restrictions on wine, the American government agreed that Champagne would no longer appear on domestic wine labels – that is, unless a producer was already using the name

  • The first step in making Champagne is to make the wine, like any other wine, in a barrel or tank and bottle it

  • The wine becomes carbonated by a second fermentation inside the bottle that is initiated by adding a solution of sugar and yeast. As the yeast consumes the sugar, it gives off carbon dioxide which stays trapped in the wine since the bottle is capped

  • Champagne bottle are stored with their neck down during the second fermentation so that the yeast will settle in the neck

  • The upside down bottles are regularly turned to ensure all the yeast ends up in the neck of the bottle in a process called riddling

  • The Champagne bottle is then opened and the spent yeast is removed or disgorged

  • Finally, some additional wine and sugar is added (the dosage) to balance the Champagne’s acidity

  • This process of making Champagne is called the méthode champenoise

So, there you have it. A few fun facts about the most famous sparkling wine in the world - Champagne. Cheers!

Ever Wonder? Are Champagne Grapes Used to Produce Champagne?

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During a recent stroll through the produce aisle of my favorite grocery store, I saw a display labeled “Champagne Grapes.” They are beautiful bunches of small red-ish grapes. And, they look really good. But, the first thing that came to my mind was to question the naming of these grapes. Because (spoiler alert) Champagne is not made from Champagne grapes.

Champagne grapes are very small, about the size of a pea, and are round, and grow in tightly packed clusters. The seedless berries can be dark red, deep magenta, or black and have delicate, thin skin that almost pops open when bitten. Also known as Black Corinth grapes, or when dried, the Zante currant, Champagne grapes are the smallest variety of all seedless grapes and are commonly used for baking and garnishes.

So, this may leave you asking “What grapes are used to produce Champagne?”

Here’s a little bit about Champagne.

Sparkling wines produced in the small French region of Champagne are the only sparkling wines that may legally be labeled 'Champagne.'  And because of this region's northern location and cool weather, three primary grapes have been found to grow best and hence are the basis for Champagne. The three grapes are Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay.  To this day, most Champagne relies on these grapes. But, Champagne producers are also allowed to use Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Petit Meslier and Arbane. But, when these latter grapes are used, they are typically used in very small quantities.

So, sorry, but no Champagne grapes are used in the production of Champagne. But, they are quite good to eat! Here’s to enjoying a nice glass of Champagne and some Champagne grapes. Cheers!