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1980s rock star Jon Bon Jovi has created a unique Rosé that exemplifies the essence of the relaxed lifestyle of the Hamptons and the South of France. The wine is the fresh and lively Grenache-based Hampton Water. Courtesy photo
ColumnsTaste of Wine

Taste of Wine: Rock royalty makes a splash with French Rosé

The wine world seems awash with Rosé, a pink-tinted red wine blend that began in the rolling hills of Provence near the Rhone Valley in the South of France and is still considered to be the biggest seller of Rosé on the planet.

A few years ago, interest and sales accelerated when actors Brad Pitt and Angela Jolie purchased close to 1,000 acres of land for multiple uses, most of which is devoted to Miraval Rosé in partnership with the Family Perrin ($21.99). The latest international celebrity to join the Rosé sweepstakes is the king of ’80s rock, Jon Bon Jovi, with his 2019 Hampton Water Rosé he created with his son Jesse Bongiovi (19.99).

If you were in a cave in the ’80s, let me refresh your memory. The band Bon Jovi was formed in 1983 and went on to sell over 130 million albums worldwide, with thousands of concerts performed in over 50 countries for more than 50 million fans, with ticket grosses well over $1 billion.

Let’s take a closer look at Hampton Water and why it could do very well in the Rosé derby. Blush reds do well when they’re produced in the terroir or place where they came from, namely the South of France … Provence and Languedoc just west of Provence. The local reds used to produce Hampton Water are Grenache, Cinsault, Mourvedre and Syrah, the traditional grapes of the French Mediterranean.

The wine is fresh and lively, intensified by aging in French oak barrels. This South of France standout wine is masterminded and put together by famed French winemaker Gerard Bertrand especially for Bon Jovi. It has already been given a 90-point rating from Wine Spectator and an honored place in the Spectator Top 100 list, as well as many other honors in the wine world.

Peeling back more layers of this wine, we find a distinct minerality thanks to the benefits of aging and grapes that have matured in an old European style, with earth notes that befit a richer, vigorous flavor. Think of the Provence district of France being the center of Rosé as the Champagne district of France is to Champagne.

Rosé made in this district shines with a light pink color, gently mixed from the aforementioned Grenache, Cinsault, Mourvedre and Syrah, each a stunning grape from the nearby Rhone Valley. It all makes for a superior expression of a South of France style Rosé found in Hampton Water. For more, visit hamptonwaterwine.com.

Keep dining outdoors at Firenze

At the time of this report restaurant dining is still outdoors only, although this COVID-19 protocol limitation is due to be lifted anytime by authorities. If this happens and you had Firenze Trattoria in Encinitas/Rancho Santa Fe booked, keep the outdoor dining plan. Firenze has created an outdoor garden with relaxed spacing for quiet, serene dining.

Since 2002, Firenze, in Encinitas/Rancho Santa Fe, has earned the Award of Excellence for its wine list. Courtesy photo

Twenty-five years ago, owner Barry Podwell created Firenze after years in the video business in Los Angeles and named it after the iconic Italian city because “it’s very artsy, with lots of culture.”

Since his goal was to create sophisticated Italian dining with a Tuscan emphasis, the name Firenze fit beautifully. Even the outdoor garden could double as a Tuscan piazza. Its large fountain will peacefully serenade you with its cascading water while you enjoy a food and wine list unmatched in the city, with a ready-to-serve full bar just steps inside.

Wine Spectator has awarded Firenze its prestigious Award of Excellence since 2002. Our wine of choice on a recent evening was the exciting Turley Juvenile Zinfandel from Paso Robles ($30). It leaves nothing to the imagination…it’s all Zin!

Firenze is open for lunch and dinner from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday is just dinner, from 4:30 to 9 p.m. RSVP at 760-944-9000 or firenzetrattoria.com.

Daou vineyard sessions return, new podcast

Join Master Winemaker Daniel Daou in the vineyard during harvest. Due to weak connectivity signals on DAOU Mountain, recordings will be posted on Instagram (@daouvineyards) and Facebook on Thursdays at 9 a.m. vs. live streaming.

For those who were able to check out the spring series of Daniel in the vineyard, this is sure to be as good or possibly better with the processing of the ripe berries. This was one of Tech Director Rico’s favorite virtual wine series of the pandemic.

Also, Katherine Daou, social media manager & brand ambassador, is starting a podcast called thethiirsty — “A little wine, a little pop culture, a little inappropriate.”

Wine bytes

  • Chandler’s oceanfront dining, at Cape Rey resort in Carlsbad, has brought back its Happy Hour back. Join them for appetizers and drink specials on their outdoor patios, Wednesday-Sunday, 3-6 p.m. To-go hours are Monday-Tuesday, 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m., and dinner hours are Wednesday-Sunday, 3-10 p.m. For an RSVP call 760-683-5500.
  • The Carter family toasts California Wine Month with special September events at South Coast and Carter Estates wineries in Temecula. There are two ways to celebrate their annual Grape Stomp in the Vintner’s Garden of South Coast winery. Personal Grape Stomps are held every Friday and Saturday at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m., and Sundays, 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Safety rules apply. Optional costs are included to make it a memorable occasion. For all events and discount sale wine details at South Coast, call 866-994-6379. Carter Estate Winery & Resort is 844-851-2138. 

Reach Frank Mangio at [email protected]