June 30, 2006

Think pink- R is for Rosé

It comes in a bottle, it comes in a box
From Barbie pink to cherry pop.
Drink it dry, drink it cold
Rosie wine makes summers bold!

I’m sure if I need to give blood for a transfusion this week the startled staff at la Clinique St. Hilaire would decant several liters of crystal pink summer wine. It’s been hot in Southwest france this June. As work progresses on the Julia Hoyt ‘Summer of Love’ 20th anniversary facelift party, the crew and I are fortified by long lunches and chilled bottles. After nearly 304,200 square inches of painted surface (two coats please) I have grown to appreciate the fortifying qualities of cracklin’ rosie.

Cracklin rosie get on board… This store bought woman can’t keep up with the demand so we shifted from bottle to box; the little 3-liter box from the Buzet wine coop down the road has a photo of a pink-filled wine glass on it for those who can’t take the time to read the label. I’m sure Gertrude Stein was misquoted—a rosé is rosé is a glass of rosé is a pitcher of rosé …

This rosé by any other name is summer wine. Even the national wine chain store in Agen carries 22 different rosés in stock. Every small winery from here to Bordeaux (about a thousand of them!) lets their grapes from young vines stew just one night then drains the skins and pips from the juice to create a clear pink easy to drink table wine. I like to think of this as red wine in training; we get the fruit, the alcohol lift, the chill with none of the serious tannins, oak and pretension. That can wait for a winter night in front of the cheminée.

Back to the bleu bateaux and it’s serious lunch time break. When M-France and Sarah stopped by for a few pruneaux and some foie gras on a whirlwind photographic tour of France we celebrated their arrival with our usual family lunch. Yannick is covered with metal fillings from the grinder, Babeth’s nails are varnished the same English red that she is painting the hand rails, Emile and Clotilde are painting the bottom of the rowboat in preparation for it’s summer launch party. Vétou has stopped her impromptu upholstering in the wheelhouse to help me get lunch on the table for the hungry crew.

M-France, too long gone from the rigors of the French table, asks, “You don’t eat like this every day?” I pour her a little Vin de Noix that I had made from green walnuts, eau de vie and rosé wine. “Not really, we usually cook something more substantial but I didn’t go shopping.” Vetou passes the bowl of lentils and platter of sausages, a found salad of tomatoes, cucumbers and red peppers; the pink bottles are frosty straight from the half-pint sized refrigerator. Yes, we eat like this everyday especially when working hard keeping this hundred year old bleu bateaux in good nick and when long lost friends arrive from the far away life.

June 03, 2006

Q is for qualite'

french beef
from my neighbor's blonde's of aquitaine
photo: timclinch