Frank Cornelissen "Contadino"

contadino cv

Frank Cornelissen "Contadino"
Varietals: 85% Nerello Mascalese, Nerello Capuccio, Minella Nera, Allicante Bouschet, Minella Bianco
Region: Etna, Sicily
Year: 2014
Price: $30
Retailer: Lou Wine Shop

Everyone always wants a pairing for Valentine's Day. Cheeses, pastas, the Bridget Jones franchise. Or the horrific "How about an article about impressing your date with wine on Valentine's Day?" emails from poor assistant editors doing their best, not knowing I am barfing all over my keyboard and now my space bar barely works. 

I recently got into lingerie. I never thought this would be a thing I would be into. Imagining myself coming out of the bathroom one night decked out in Victoria's Secret with tiny little feathers on my tits and shit sounded like the punchline to a terrible sitcom.

But I met lingerie designer and Curriculum Vitae (CV) founder Christine Viviani this past December, and she kinda changed my life. One, she's just one of the dopest women I've ever met, and she embodies female empowerment. Like, I want to grow up and be her. And second, with 100% amazing design and 0% ruffly frills reminiscent of Austin Power's fembots, CV gave me strength. It gave me the power to embrace my sexuality. For myself. This wasn't a, "Oooh! Bet my man is going to looove this!" No. This was me being like, "I want to wear this. I feel sexy and good and I am excited to wear these things for me. "

And now I have the best Valentine's wine pairing of all time for you.
CV's Gemma Bralette & Claudia Bikini with Frank Cornelissen's "Contadino".

This Sicilian field blend smells like a fancy dessert cheese plate, with some bomb-ass cherry chutney devouring a slice of bleu cheese. And it tastes like smoky, spicy, juicy, rhubarb umami. Complex but light-bodied, you can't keep your mouth off of it. It's like drinking a very heated make-out sesh. It seems easy, and yet, it is elaborate, like an effortlessly intricate lace.

And I take it back.
This is not the best Valentine's Day pairing.
It's the best all the time pairing.

Why the hell would I tell you that you shouldn't feel sexy and drink delicious wines every day? Because you should! We all should! Seriously there is nothing better in the whole world! I imagine the happiest people on Earth are just living their truth in this pairing every day. Just CV and Contadino. Like that's how Rihanna must live, right? She must just be cruising around her yacht living this life. 

THIS IS HOW I'M LIVING THE REST OF MY LIFE THAT'S FOR SURE.
AND YOU SHOULD TOO. 

HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY, AND HAPPY YO LET'S BE EMPOWERED BY ALL SORTS OF BEAUTIFUL THINGS ALL YEAR ROUND. 

Tasting Notes: A hint of funk (that aforementioned bleu cheese) with an inviting woodsy warmth. Spicy but oh so smooth on the palate. Fuck your bath bombs, I want to bathe in this. 

Ross Test: Hey, I went for seconds... and thirds...

HITTIN YOU WITH THAT UPDATE VIDEO FULL OF IMPORTANT STUFF

Despite being extremely jetlagged all week, I have managed to put together this informative video in which I explain why I've been sucking at making videos lately. For the record, this is not an excuse. But I mean, it's a pretty good one.

More fun stuff to come after I'm done playing catch up with my inbox and my sleep. In the mean time,

PRE-ORDER MY BOX AT POUR-THIS.COM! 

Posted on February 5, 2016 .

Juvé y Camps with Alimentaria

This past week I was in Barcelona to attend Alimentaria 2016's Press Conference. Alimentaria is one of Europe's leading food and beverage industry events, an exhibition of all things culinary. While showcasing the latest global trends in food and beverage, Alimentaria also sets a stage for industry professionals to address difficulties facing the culinary world and discuss solutions. 

The first day was a very traditional press conference, with a lot of talk about the business side of the industry that I don't work in, like importing and exporting. On the second day, we went to visit the Juvé y Camps vineyards in San Sadurní d’Anoia. Seeing as I am not Art Vandelay, let's cut to the good stuff: CAVA. 

Acceptable at all hours of the day and offered at all meals, it is as common to drink Cava as it is to drink coffee in Barcelona. While noticing all the Cava that was being drank, I also noticed that one Cava was omnipresent. 

Whether it was a kitchen full of Michelin starred chefs or a hole in the wall pickled tapas bar, there was Juvé y Camps. This had me very skeptical. If something is everywhere in the states, that usually means it's trouble. Flavor devoid, environmentally evil and morally bankrupt trouble.

As it turns out, Juvé y Camps is none of those things.

image.jpg

Juvé y Camps was founded in 1796 by husband and wife team Joan Juvé Baqués and Teresa Camps Farré, and has been an entirely family owned and operated joint ever since. But what really blew me away was that this family enterprise is making over a million bottles of Cava a year, all organically.

There is such a fuss about organic products here in the US, with many companies, producers and dinner table know-it-alls saying it's financially impossible for large scale products to be organic. But I believe that Juvé y Camps proves that wrong. These are the most prevalent Cavas in the market (that I have personally experienced), that are made in the not cheap methode traditionnelle just like Champagne, and the price per bottle is still under $20. AND ALL ORGANIC. THEY KEEP MOTHS FROM BREEDING ON THEIR GRAPES BY TYING THESE WIREY LOOKING THINGS FULL OF HORMONES ON THE BRANCHES OF THE VINES THAT CONFUSE THE MOTHS AND THE MOTHS THEN "GO TO THE BAR" TO FIND OTHER MOTHS INSTEAD OF HANG OUT IN THE VINEYARD. IT'S FUCKING RAD! 

Not only are they organic, they are delicious. The Juvé y Camps portfolio ranges from recent vintages of their Reserva de Familia featuring bright lemongrass, green apples and fine scrubby bubbles to their 2013 Xarell-lo Essential with robust dried fruits, anise and soft herbacious spice to their 2006 Gran Reserva Brut Naturals that takes the traditional round and fruity flavor profile and opens it up with a blooming freshness.

After the tasting, in a room that included individual sinks, which is pretty baller in my opinion, we went into the cellar. There were floors on floors of bottled catacombs, all smelling like Disneyland. 

Yes, like Disneyland.

And I'm not saying that in the proverbial, "Oooh! This is adult Disneyland!" I'm saying it like, "Cellars legitimately smell like Splash Mountain and Pirates of the Caribbean and it's one of my favorite smells in all the world, whether it is in Disneyland, a wine cellar, or a shitty indoor mini-golf course." Thick, musty, wet wood with earthy, humid chlorine. I wish I had a pillow that smelled like that so I could fall asleep to it every night and dream of going down Splash Mountain into a wine cellar. 

On a more practical and useful note, I put together a quick video of how they transport the bottles through the cellar. It is what I like to call, "That old banking system."

Pretty tight, right? 
Yes, I could have faded out or something at the end but I have shit to do!
And that's beside the point! This shit is tight! 
ESPECIALLY WHEN IT SMELLS LIKE DISNEYLAND!

The real take away from this, is that I went into this ready to roll my eyes and instead came out with respect and love for Juvé y Camps. Just because something is everywhere doesn't always mean it's big and evil and trying to trick you. Sometimes it's because people are continuing hundreds of years of family tradition and truly care about the product they produce and giving back to the land that gives them, and subsequently us, so much.
 

Posted on February 2, 2016 .

BRB! I'm in Barcelona!

image.jpg

YO FAM, EXCUSE THE INTERRUPTION, I'M IN BARCELONA DRINKING AND EATING WAY TOO MUCH. WE WILL RETURN TO OUR REGULARLY SCHEDULED DRINKING NEXT WEEK. XOXO

Posted on January 28, 2016 .

Ask A Wino: Spritzers & Spit Buckets, Tacos & Planes, and "The Guilties"

SUBMIT YOUR OWN QUESTIONS ABOUT WINE, LIFE, LOVE, BURRITOS, PETS, SUNBATHING, ETC. VIA:

• This Handy Submission Form
• Get personal & ask anonymously on Tumblr
• Get at me on Twitter @MarissaARoss
• Leave a comment on Instagram
• In The Comments Below
• Wherever you find me on the internet
#ASKAWINO

Posted on January 15, 2016 .

Le Sot de l'Ange "Rouge G"

rouge g marissa ross making a murderer

Le Sot de l'Ange "Rouge G"
Varietal: Gamay
Region: Loire, France
Year: 2014
Price: $22
Retailer: Silverlake

2016 is here, and it wouldn't look like much has changed aside from the fact that it is finally raining in Los Angeles. I'm still here drinking Gamay and spending too much time analyzing true crime. WHICH IS PRETTY IMPOSSIBLE NOT TO DO IF YOU HAVE WATCHED MAKING A MURDERER.

I probably have only vaguely mentioned it here, but I LOVE TRUE CRIME. YES IN ALL BOLD CAPS. Being a hermit who stays home drinking wine all day, it is easy for me to devour endless podcasts, get lost in Reddit rabbit holes and get stoned and regret Google searching crime scene photos. I watched the entire series of Making A Murderer in 24 hours, and have even started rewatching it because apparently I am a masochist.

I don't want to get into.

But I don't think Steven Avery did it!
I mean sure, if the evidence was found how the prosecution presented it was found then of course, he should be a suspect. But those fucking blood marks in the car look like they were straight-up Q-Tipped from Essie's Tomboy No More nail polish, and if I believe the blood was planted then I have to believe that everything was planted, SO I BELIEVE IT WAS ALL PLANTED AND STEVEN DIDN'T DO IT. 

But like I said, I don't want to get into it. Anyway.

rouge g selection massale

Yesterday I nabbed this bottle I hadn't seen before from my homies at Selection Massale. I trust them like I trust my own blood and bought it without hesitation. Gamay? Loire? Selection Massale? What could go wrong?

I bet that's what Steven Avery thought too. Then eight days later they've got him for murder based on a car key that mysteriously showed up behind some slippers. Now, I'm no detective, but from my experiences with car keys, they are never just hanging out in the open. Car keys are one of the hardest things in the world to find, along with lost arks, mythical lake monsters, and Obama's birth certificate. 

But seriously, I don't want to get into it.

Unlike Steven Avery, nothing went wrong with this wine! I'd even go as far to say that this wine tastes like I just won a 36 million dollar civil case it's so good! 

WHICH STEVEN SHOULD HAVE WON.
OK MAYBE NOT 36 MIL, BUT SOMETHING!!!
AND NOT BE IN JAIL BECAUSE SCOTT & BOBBY DID IT!!!

OKAY, I'M SORRY WE REALLY DON'T NEED TO TALK ABOUT IT.

What we do need to talk about is how much I love this wine. It is an outstanding example of what I love about biodynamic Gamays. Straight-forward, bright and punchy, the Rouge G is the life of the party. Or perhaps more accurately, the party itself. It's energetic and fun most importantly, but there are the other nuances. Shadowy, sensual little corners that aren't surprising but still exciting. Also the tiny residuals at the bottom of the glass look like tiny little glitters! IT IS A PARTY!!!

Tasting Notes: Candied barnyard boysenberry with light plumeria and licorice on the bouquet, like an adult pool in Willy Wonka's factory. Light and mad chuggable with poppy, smooth blackberry and a tart finish. So so good. 

Ross Test: A bit acidic, but very glou-glou by my standards. Do it to it, babes. 

Posted on January 7, 2016 .

Recapped: Carriage House Pop-Up with Cienne NY

cienneny pop up

Earlier this year my mom started dating a new dude. Of course, there was an obligatory introduction dinner that had to be scheduled. That is to be expected. I did not expect my mom to tell me that this dude's daughter was also going to stop by, and that she had a clothing line and my mom knew I had a lot of friends in fashion and... I stopped listening because I was too busy imagining the laundry list of favors my mom signed me up for and immediately began to dread the dinner. 

But dinner ended up being great, and the daughter, Nicole Heim, was even greater. We hit it off right away, and my mom didn't promise her unachievable acts of kindness on my behalf because she doesn't fucking need them. As it turned out, Nicole was/is a badass with an amazing clothing line called Cienne NY. Globally sourced and locally made, Cienne combines ethics, sustainability and immaculate design and as soon as I saw it I died and wanted it all. I love its classic but modern menswear sensibilities, and any time I wear one of their pieces, I feel chic and powerful.

So when Nicole asked me to host her Carriage House Pop Up at Haven's Kitchen earlier this December, I was 11000% in. I mean, drinking wine and being surrounded by beautiful garments I can't afford is one of my favorite things in the world to be doing!!!

And off to New York City I went, for a weekend full of gorgeous clothing from Cienne, lingerie from CV New York and shoes from Dieppa Restrepo, and lots of delicious wine.

I host quite a few events, but never do I get to be dressed like a supermodel for them. Cienne's Mick Pant are the only piece of clothing I own that matters now. Everything I have worn since then pales in comparison. Even Ben says so, and when Ben agrees with me and isn't trying to convince me I have hundreds of awesome things to wear, you know it's true. Paired with the James Top, this is my most unstoppable ensemble and I would wear it every day if it wasn't so damn special. 

I will admit I was a bit trepidatious about the wine situation. Usually for these kinds of things, I'm familiar with what is being served, or at least know what's being served in advance and try to get out and taste it myself. Mere days before the event I was given the wine list, and I couldn't have been happier with Haven's choices.

My favorite was the Sommarvia Prosecco. I've had a lot of bad Prosecco in my day, so when I come across a good one, I'm always excited. The Sommarvia is a sustainably farmed, hand-harvested and steel fermented, giving it the natural tang I love but with classic frothy Prosecco bubbles. It's so easy to drink, and at ~$14, it's easy to justify drinking as much as you'd like.

After eight hours of wine, there was no way I wasn't getting myself some CV New York. It's the prettiest and sexiest, so delicate yet still exemplifying feminine empowerment. I never thought I was a lingerie person, until I tried some of theirs on after approximately nineteen Proseccos and decided I am now a very serious [CV] lingerie person.

More so than the wine and the beautiful things I couldn't stop myself from buying because drunk shopping is my favorite shopping, the thing I loved the most about hosting this event was collaborating with strong women who are following their dreams. Both Nicole and Christina Viviani are such hard-hustling babes with stunning visions that they are bringing to life. It takes so much confidence, sinew, and dedication to do what they're doing. I feel honored to have hosted this event and been a part of their worlds for a day. 

Want more of me & Cienne? 
Check out my interview with Nicole on Cienne's blog! 

Ask A Wino: New Year's Edition

In this episode of Ask A Wino, we talk about how to open a bottle of bubbly without knocking an eye out of your face, which Champagnes are the bubbliest, what to drink on New Year's if you like reds, 2016 wine trends and I get sparkling wine up my nose. 

SUBMIT YOUR OWN QUESTIONS ABOUT WINE, LIFE, LOVE, BURRITOS, PETS, SUNBATHING, ETC. VIA:

This Handy Submission Form
• Get personal & ask anonymously on Tumblr
• Get at me on Twitter @MarissaARoss
• In The Comments Below
• Wherever you find me on the internet
#ASKAWINO

Posted on December 29, 2015 .

Some Thoughts On Glassware

Calvin Klein Hampshire Red Wine Glasses

Calvin Klein Hampshire Red Wine Glasses

One of the questions I get year round is, "What wine glasses should I be using?"

It's a pretty damn valid question considering how many damn glass options there are. There's big bowled Pinot glasses and slightly tuliped Bordeaux glasses and Champagne flutes and coupes and then just like, a white wine glass? Is that what it is? No one knows. It just looks like a god damn wine glass.

Different glasses are made for different wines to accentuate their bouquets and give them room to breathe and open up. Of course, in a dream world, I would have a set of each type of wine glass for each type of wine, and I would be an extremely impressive human that no one would ever suspect spent the early portion of her twenties drinking Charles Shaw out of red Solo cups.

I've tried playing the multiple glass set game, and it is a costly one. Not only do you have your initial investment of multiple sets of wine glasses, but up-keeping these sets becomes obnoxious. I thought that my late twenties would usher in a time where friends, family and myself were more cautious with wine glasses but the truth is, shit happens and your wine glasses are going to break no matter what. Just this past week I snapped a stem while getting one off the rack and I was sober. So then, you're stuck with like, three Chardonnay glasses, five Cabernet glasses and one random Sauterine glass that you didn't know was for Sauterine but doesn't matter now because they're all fucking broken. 

But go to any tasting and look at what you're drinking out of. Whether it's red, white or sparkling, you're probably drinking all three out of a standard red or white glass. The red standard glass is a touch rounder than the standard white, but seriously it doesn't matter. They're standard-ass wine glasses you an put whatever you want in. 

My advice to wine drinkers is to have a standard, stemmed, glass set that you can service everything in that is easily replaceable. I specifically say stemmed because as much as I like tumblers for red wine, they are terrible for white wine. You don't want to be heating up that icy Riesling with those sweaty little palms of yours! 

If you want to get a little fancy, you can do what I do and have two versatile, standard glass sets. I have one that is for every day drinking, and one that I save for special occasions and holidays, like these Calvin Klein Hampshire glasses

I love the lead-free crystal CK Hampshire wine glasses because they are beautiful and exemplify my love of mid-century stylings more than my everyday glass-glasses I let my guests break in my bushes all summer. They remind me of Slim Aarons' Palm Springs, Eames chairs and Case Study houses. These glasses make me want to sashay through The Kaufman House in a vintage Dior gown, run my fingers along the backside of the body of a black grand piano listening to Nina Simone and Les Baxter, and graciously accept yet another Jello mold. 

Mid-Century Bonus: Getting to feel like a housewife cleaning crystal glasses by hand!

JK I wash all my glasses by hand because I'm an insane person who also has polishing gloves. 

When it comes to wine, the wine matters much more than what its served in. Your guests seriously don't care. And if they do, they're assholes who you shouldn't have over to drink wine with you anyway, so fuck them. And definitely don't let them near your fancy Calvin Klein crystal. They don't deserve to feel like they're in a Julius Schulman lifestyle shot. 

So buy what you like and use them for everything. Even if they're gnarly goblets or some shit. Whatever. Just drink wine and be merry. Everything else will fall into place. 

Posted on December 22, 2015 .