Friday, January 28, 2011

The Rarest Rosé

(Note: This blog was originally posted on July 12, 2007)

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The commune of Riceys in the southern portion of the Champagne region has been producing for centuries tiny quantitites of the world's most rare rosé. Said to be the favorite of Louis XIV, this rosé is so obscure that even in Champagne, let alone in France, few have heard of it. To my knowledge none is exported.

I was visiting Champagne last March and I took my buddy Robert with me. He decided to stick around a little longer after I've finished my appointments to do some R & R and to hunt down a few bottles of Rosé des Riceys. He got lucky as he found a shop that stocked a few bottles. The proprietor was quite impressed when he inquired about it.

So back home Robert and I decided to have a quick bite together one day prior to watching a Giants ballgame. He brought the bottle of Rosé des Riceys, which was, perhaps, the only bottle of this rosé in the country.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMugWe sat at the bar of Coco 500, Loretta Keller's newly renovated hotstpot in the south of Market and ordered a couple of small plates. One was the COCOmole “taco” ($4.00), a refined take on mole made with braised beef cheeks on crisp taco shells. We wiped out the plate in no time. The other dish was a version of the Provence classic, a brandade served with fennel crackers ($6.00). It reminded me how magical salted cod can be. Coco 500 rocks. I wish there's a place like it in the Peninsula.

The Rosé de Riceys is 100% Pinot Noir, made by macerating the fruit until the taste of Riceys is achieved--a procedure that requires not only a skilled winemaker but also someone who knows the precise taste of Riceys.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug The rosé has a deep cherry nose, very earthy and Pinot-like, it reminded me of the Pinot Noirs I've had from Alsace. The initial taste was of black cherries, followed by hints of fresh herbs and lavender. It was very delicate and intense on the palate. Substantial for a rosé, and so perfect with our robust small plates.


Coco500
500 Brannan Street
San Francisco, CA
415.543.2222

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