A New Name for an Old Acquaintance – Michelle

CameraZOOM-20140212161951604It was kind of an interesting invite, although it took Anne several minutes to decipher that it was an event introducing the sparkling wine Michelle. It was being staged for women and took place at a blow dry bar. We weren’t able to attend for a lot of reasons, but we had to admit the staging of it made us a little uncomfortable, as if Michelle, which was the new label from Chateau Ste. Michelle, was being dumbed down to suit the ladies.

It wasn’t – we promise you that and we were quite pleased with the wine, itself. But the event was going after Michelle’s primary market – women. You see, women account for 75 percent of wine sales in the U.S. and most women get their wines from the supermarket shelves, as noted by wine writer Karen MacNeil a couple years ago in a Daily Beast interview. It’s about the daily or table wine – the stuff you drink every night, versus the expensive fancy stuff you buy to collect or for special occasions. That’s the wine that mostly men tend to buy – and what most wine publications cover, which is why it’s mostly written by and for men.

Michelle sparkling wine, on the other hand, is actually the new label for Domaine Ste. Michelle, the sparkling wine put out by Chateau Ste. Michelle in Paterson, Washington. You may have seen their old black label with gold writing and never realized that’s what you were looking at because it blended in with everything else on the supermarket shelf. One thing about the new label is that it definitely pops. In fact, that’s how Anne spotted it so quickly at our local Trader Joe’s for only $8.99 (prices may vary in your part of the country). We found it again at a local BevMo (for $10.99), and we found it easily, even though it was on a lower shelf. Better yet, for the label, we weren’t expecting to find it at TJ’s or even looking for a sparkling wine when we saw it.

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We were sent a couple bottles for review, both the brut and the brut rosé and here’s the really good news – it is one nice sparkler. The taste is smooth, it’s méthode champenoise, with all of the elegance that style creates. It’s just a darned good little wine for a darned good price. And like all sparklers, it goes with everything. The rosé is a little fruitier, but otherwise, it has a lot of the the richness and subtlety that a good Champagne has.

So give it a shot. You don’t even have to be a woman to buy it, but you’ll probably find it at your local supermarket and not a fancy wine shop. Too bad, because it’s just as good as anything from the wine shop.

Flying Goat 2007 Pinot Noir Salisbury Vineyard

Type: Dry red
What makes it special: A pinot noir that’s not from the Santa Rita Hills.
Plays well with: pork, lamb, salmon, cheese.

The 2007 Flying Goat Pinot Wine comes from San Luis Obispo, a little farther up the California coast from where Norman Yost makes his wines in Lompoc.

The nose has a spicebox aroma – think asian five spice powder ingredients such as licorice and cardamon. The color is the same gorgeous ruby red of a certain pair of shoes made in Oz (or more accurately the MGM costume shop).
But just check out the mouth feel and flavor: a medium density filling the mouth with cranberry, strawberry and raspberry without the cloying sweetness those flavors sometimes bring to the party.
The acids present quench the thirst and clear the palate for the next bite of something tasty.  Don’t drink this one alone. Share it with a good meat dish. You could drink it by yourself, but we don’t that would make you too popular.