Monday, August 6, 2012

Think Pink: All French rosé dinner at Berkeley's Café Rouge

What: Think Pink XI
Where: Café Rouge, 1782 Fourth St., Berkeley, CA
When: Wednesday, Aug. 8, 5:30-9:30 p.m.
How much: Menu prices (mains $18-$24; wines $7-$13 by glass)
Information: (510) 525-1440

Tables are still available for one of the Bay Area's most fun wine dinners of the year: an all-rosé dinner with serious food and 15 serious French pink wines.

I love how casual this dinner is. There's no set menu; you order (and pay for) what you want. It's Berkeley, so there are plenty of fresh vegetables, but Café Rouge also has an artisan butcher shop. Dishes include "Peaches and crispy guanciale salad with frisée, curly red mustard greens and shallot vinaigrette" ($11) and "Summer cassoulet with confit quail, rabbit boudin and fresh shell beans" ($25). Don't ignore the grass-fed T-bone ($34).

Wine director Barbara Haimes will help you find which of the 15 wines -- all imported by Kermit Lynch -- that best fits your dish and your desire. You might want a light and lovely pink Marsannay made from Pinot Noir, or a weightier Mourvedre pink from the Languedoc.

It's fun just to look around the room and see pink wines on every table.

The wine list is below, ranked roughly from lightest to heaviest.

Sorry, I haven't tasted many of these, but last year I wrote about this event afterwards, and that doesn't do anyone any good. On the bright side, my two favorite pinks from last year are back, highlighted below. They may taste differently after an extra year of bottle age.

NV Sparkling Bottex Bugey Cerdon, Savoie (Poulsard)
2010 Regis Bouvier Marsannay, Burgundy (Pinot Noir): A highlight last year, a delicate wine that delivers full Burgundy character with a lighter body.
2011 Jamain Reuilly, Loire (Pinot Gris)
2011 Baudry Chinon, Loire (Cabernet Franc)
2011 Chateau Lascaux Languedoc (Grenache/Syrah)
2011 Mas Champart Saint-Chinian, Languedoc (Mourvedre blend)
2011 Fontsainte Gris de Gris, Languedoc (Grenache Gris & Noir)
2011 Trinquevedel Tavel (Grenache blend)
2011 Clos St Magdeleine Cassis, Provence (Grenache)
2011 Pallieres au petit bonheur, So. Rhône (Grenache blend)
2010 & 2011 Tempier Bandol  (Mourvèdre blend)-2010 from magnum, 11 from 750
2010 & 2011 Terrebrune Bandol  (Mourvèdre blend)-2010 from magnum, 2011 from 750
2010 Abbatucci Ajaccio, Corsica (Sciacarellu): Another highlight from last year, this was an exotic, strongly flavored wine with dried meat, herb and dried orange peel notes.
2011 Domaine de Marquiliani, Aghione (Sciacarellu)
2011 Yves Leccia Patrimonio, Corsica (Niellucciu)

Pay attention to the folks around you; in addition to me and other local wine lovers, you'll see winemakers, chefs and other members of the fooderati, all brought together because we're all pink on the inside. If only I had pink eyeglasses ...

Reservations are still available at Open Table.

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