Philippe Jambon "Une Tranche Fine"

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Philippe Jambon "Une Tranche Fine"
Varietal: Gamay
Region: Villié-Morgon, France
Year: 2013
Price: $21.99
Retailer: DomaineLA

If you can't tell by my makeup-less, top-knotted, surly-ass face, I was in desperate need of a gamay today in a way that only a woman immobilized by cramps sent from the depths of hell itself could truly understand. 

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Despite still looking like an angry monster, "Une Tranche Fine" was just what the doctor ordered, along with Aleve and a passionate pursuit of high-grade painkillers, despite both of my god damned drug dealers ignoring my cries for help from the feminine product isle. If it wasn't for this wine, I would be crying or dying or both, presumably in the fetal position in bed while the DVD menu of Seinfeld looped for hours on end. 

But fortunately for the both of us, I have gathered the strength to persevere and tell you all about this wine.

Aside from its medicinal purposes, "Une Tranche Fine" is overall an exquisite example of organic French gamay. It tastes like bottled fireworks. Scintillating and skillful, its tart and carbonite fruits straight up explode in your mouth. I could get sexual with this, but I am not going to. But just know I could get sexual with this, and that you could also get sexual with this. It's a sexy wine! 

I feel like this would be a fun third date wine. I've only been on one third date ever and that was six years ago, but had I been drinking such bomb wine six years ago, I definitely would have pulled this out and been like, "Heyyyyyyyy. [wiiiink]" It's very flirty wine; friendly and quick, with light-hearted bitterness. "Une Tranche Fine" will make you smile and tug at the nape of your neck while you try not to fall in love. 

I just don't see how you're not going to bone after drinking this! It's too delicious and fun! It's like a carnival date!

Like a cool carnival, not a Dateline "Whyyy'd my baby get murdered?!" carnival.

Tasting Notes: Vibrant on the bouquet and the palate, with tons of energized cherry, cranberry, and sour rose petals. I need one or ten more bottles STAT. 


OENO Pinot Noir


OENO Pinot Noir
Region: Sonoma County, California
Year: 2013
Price: $22
Retailers: LA/SF

I love quiet afternoons in sunny rooms with stacks of latest issues and books I've yet to finish, something enchanting echoing through the house. Today it's Travel & Leisure, Jay McInerney, and Les Baxter. Not all wines are meant for these moments, but I can't think of a better way to be enjoying the OENO Pinot Noir. 

It feels like a fuzzy throw blanket for my heart. And I love throw blankets. I have at least six throw blankets, and yet I can't help but want 400 more. I'm like this with most inventions of comfort and relaxation, including but not limited to oversized collections of overpriced candles, sweatpants, mud masks and bath salts (the kind for soaking, not for eating your neighbors' faces). 

I want to drink this wine while curled up in my throws while burning my favorite candle in my comfiest sweatpants wearing the tightest mud mask and somehow still be in the bath with these Fiddlefish bath salts I didn't need to buy but couldn't help it because I was stoned at the farmer's market and I CAN'T SAY NO TO BATH SALTS (in the non-eating-neighbors'-faces way).

I'm sure you're thinking, "Marissa, you can do that with any wine." And yes, but no. You're wrong. These sorts of "me time" activities-- like scanning Bon Appetit, eyeing shoes you can't afford and putting together new Pinterest boards because that is something you do now-- require a wine that is an ebb and flow of excitement and ease. You need a wine that is not only delicious and brings you back glass after glass, but that it is so easy to drink that you didn't even realize the bottle is gone and you have been shopping for vintage telephones on Etsy for two hours. 

The OENO Pinot Noir is that wine. 

But beware. This wine will be your new favorite throw blanket, but it will also tell you you are allowed to buy shoes for "Back To School" even though you are a drop-out with no plans of ever getting your bachelor's. So, what I'm saying is, it's your new favorite throw blanket/best friend. Kind of the same thing, to be honest. 

Tasting Notes: Energized bouquet, with tart red fruits, a hit of fresh cut grass and a touch of citrus. Bright and soft with lots of cherry and cranberry, hints of supple oak and a few stray Sour Patch Kids. Lovely warm and lingering finish, that throw blanket I'm talking about.

Ross Test: Good, but better out of the glass

Posted on September 1, 2015 .

Contadi Castaldi Brut Rosé

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Contadi Castaldi Brut Rosé
Varietals: 65% Chardonnay, 35% Pinot Nero
Region: Franciacorta, Italy
Price: ~$25

Rosé fatigue is a real thing, a condition onset by the suffocating virality of rosé this season. I started actively avoiding them, going as far as vowing not to review another for the rest of the summer and cussing out a bartender for mockingly assuming that because I was a woman at a wine bar I was obviously ordering rosé.

But then, by the grace of god, the kind people of the region of Franciacorta decided to bless me with a few presents, one of which being the Contadi Castaldi Brut Rosé. It could have been any other brut rosé and I would have said, "Whaaateverrr" but IT'S A FRANCIACORTA, AND NOT ONLY A FRANCIACORTA, BUT MY FAVORITE!

I had the Contadi Castaldi Brut Rosé in Rome last summer. It was so fucking hot, and the Castaldi was so fucking refreshing, served in a beautiful little tulip'd glass that is the official vessel of Franciacorta. I looked for it in the states but never found it, and was sure that I wouldn't see my long lost summer crush again until I returned to my beloved Italia. 

And now here I am, once again enjoying its pleasures on an excruciatingly hot summer day, sadly not on the patio of a mozzarella bar.

You don't see Franciacortas that often in America, and that sucks because they're one of my favorites. Made using metodo classico-- otherwise known as méthode traditionelle when used for Champagne-- this Italian sparkler has an elegant, clean crispness that I just die for. Unlike Champagne with its nutty roundness, or Prosecco with its creamy melon, Franciacortas are a bit pinching and salty while maintaining graceful structure. It's the perfect middle sister between Champagne and Cava. 

The Castaldi reminds me of a tangled top-knot sitting upon the crown, effortlessly sophisticated. It's approachable and carefree, and yet, so god damn poised. It's the bowl of potato chips you're DYING FOR at the cocktail party, and it's Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face. It's quite perfect, if you love juxtaposing fanciful fun with time tested tradition. 

I want to drink this all night and pretend I am sweltering in Rome with only this brut rosé and my loved ones to find refuge in. I've already waxed extremely poetic about Italy this month, so I don't want to bore you, but I could float away on its bubbles into the Adriatic Sea for now until eternity.

Tasting Notes: Lay's Potato Chips dipped in carbonated rose gold. 

Ross Test: As with most sparkling wines, it's a painful burst of joy. 

On Man Repeller: Wine Pairings

Break the Wine-n-Dine Standards
with These Weird Wine Pairings

on Man Repeller

This was a ton of fun to write, and I hope you check it out! Every time I contribute to MR I'm like, "Damn girl, u the luckiest." Not only is it one of my favorite sites ran by some of the dopest women I've ever met, but these amazing illustrations by Autumn Kimball? I mean, get out.

Posted on August 24, 2015 .

Out of Blog Reply

I will be out of the blog until August 24th exploring the wilderness and a case of wine. 

If this is an urgent matter that requires my assistance: the answer is gamay.

Follow me on Instagram for possible updates/make sure I have not gotten munched by a bear.

I hadn't really thought about that... Hm. Okay, well, if in the extremely rare case this is my last published work--

Stay cool.  

Cheers, and God speed. 

❤️ MAR

Posted on August 15, 2015 .

Ask A Wino: Epsiode 5

Italy! Grapes! Hangovers! Wine Lips! A wine I cannot remember the name of until the very end! Enough "um"s and "like"s for my father to hang me in the town square! All in this episode of Ask A Wino!

Ask me questions about wine, life, love, poms, cats, Mexican food or Mac DeMarco on Twitter @MarissaARoss with #AskAWino or email me at 

Posted on August 13, 2015 .

Ouled Thaleb Syrah


Ouled Thaleb Syrah
Region: Zenata, Morocco 
Year: 2011
Price: $16
Retailer: Silverlake Wine

I can't believe it's already August 11th, especially because I spent most of today believing it was the 10th. This summer has flown by, and is exemplified on the porch this evening as the sun begins to melt into the Pacific an hour earlier than it did just a month ago. 

But it's like I've always said, "Summer only ends if you let it."
And this wine will be perfect for summer time feels all year round.

It is a very light and smoky syrah that tastes like I need a cheeseburger or twelve and a lake house with a balcony to stare at the sunset over.  It's brisk, like you need a lightweight sweater or some baggy jeans to cozy up in before retiring to the fire with your friends. It feels like that smell. That BBQ smell that soaks up into your clothes and the salt that bakes into your skin and crunchy hair and you play Apples to Apples for hours before falling asleep in a bed that is not yours, but feels as though it could be. It is something so unfamiliar and so familiar all at once that there is no way to not feel at home with it all. 

And that is this syrah: classic but exciting. Like claiming a top bunk in a new cabin.

Tasting Notes: Fermented in concrete and aged in French Oak, this is everything I love about big reds in flavor but lighter in body. It's like ribs that fall off the bone: delicious and easy to eat. Smells like Molton Brown black pepper body wash and cherries. Tastes not like body wash. The palate is bright berries perfectly balanced with plush tannins and a warm, soft, long-lingering finish. 

Ross Test: A little bitter but still good. 

Posted on August 11, 2015 .

Agnanum Falanghina

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Agnanum Falanghina
Region: Campania, Italy
Year: 2013
Price: $15.99
Retailer: DomaineLA 

Another varietal I'd never tried before so I was like, "Yeah I'm gonna try this varietal!" because for the adventurous and brave spirit I lack in activities such as riding on motorcycles or jumping off top bunks, I make up for in my daring wine drinking.

So I'm drinking this Falanghina in mens underwear and shirt, which is my official s/s 2015 look, and just catching up on The Rock's Instagram, which is currently my favorite. I had never really given Dwayne Johnson much thought and I don't follow many celebrities on Instagram, but after drunkenly following him on Instagram in an airport bar two months ago, I've fallen in love with him. He's just so fucking likable! He's like Sofia Vergara with tons of muscles.

It's hot and I opened this white hoping for something bright and refreshing. I'm not disappointed in the wine, but this is not bright and refreshing. Upon first taste, this wine reminds me of scotch on both its bouquet and palate. Super smokey, but light enough to still be drinkable and not actually taste like scotch (thank god).

As it opens up, it tastes just like camping, and that briskness you feel as the breeze whips by when you first sit around the fire passing a flask of bourbon. Crackling fumes with a bit of heaviness, the kind of heaviness you need in the wilderness to go to sleep at a reasonable hour.

Such an interesting flavor profile, and one I didn't expect from an organic white wine. Usually they are so tart, and although this still has a tarty tinge, it is mostly grounded in classical elements. There are few wines I've tasted that have embodied earth, wind and fire so well and so balanced. It's gritty and smoky but airy. 

Maybe my mind is playing tricks on me, but the more I drink the more I feel like I've been drinking whiskey. The intoxication is warm and fuzzy and a bit volatile. Like I could get into a bit of trouble, for better or for worse.

Or pass out in a sleeping bag. 

Tasting Notes: The nose is pineapple on the grill and black licorice. The palate is very similar the with tropical and smoky notes, but with hints of fuzzy peach and salted caramel. 

Ross Test: Surprisingly good! 

Domaine Bordenave Juraçon Sec 'Terres de Memoire'


Domaine Bordenave Juraçon Sec 'Terres de Memoire'
Varietal: Gros Manseng
Region: Sud-Ouest, France
Year: 2013
Price: $19.99
Retailer: DomaineLA 

Even when I go into a wine shop with an idea of what wine I want to buy, I am always looking for what I didn't know I would buy. I've never had a gros manseng before now, and god damn is this one delicious. There is a chance I would have never had it had I not asked Dylan at Domaine, "What's new? What should I drink?"

And that's why you need to buy wine at wine shops and not grocery stores, and that's why you should never be afraid of not knowing what the hell you're doing. Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it is the crux of drinking wine. 

So now we're drinking gros manseng. What the fuck is gros manseng? Well, it's a white grape from Southern France. And the way that Domaine Bordenave is using it, well, it tastes like what I imagine it would taste like licking Brigitte Bardot's thigh after she climbs out of the Côte d'Azur. Blonde, salty, sticky, and totally sexy. 

It's "Moi Je Joue" even though I've poured through my entire collection of Bardot trying to find a less cliche reference, but hey, sometimes hits are hits for a reason. 

Exciting, enticing, and delightfully impish while still maintaining a firm grasp of rounded restraint. Even though this is a pop song, it is not sung by a young scampy Swift type. It has a certain weight to it, the kind of discipline only a woman knows. 

Or perhaps that is simply Bardot's vocal range.

Whatever; it's beautiful and playful and buxom and powerful and DELICIOUS. I would, and DAMN WELL WILL, play cheek to cheek with this acerbic lover all night. Tart, medium bodied, great chilled but also delicious a touch warm. LIKE I SAID, IT'S BARDOT'S SALTY THIGH. COLD AND WET, OR MAYBE A LITTLE WARM AFTER LOUNGING ON A DECK. WITH A WAFT OF HER PERFECT 60'S POUF THAT IS ALSO SALTY AND PERFECT. YOU KNOW SHE IS ONE OF THOSE BITCHES WHOSE HAIR SOMEHOW LOOKS AMAZING AFTER DIVING OFF A YACHT. UGH. 

Excuse me, I mean... LE SIGH.

"Moi Je Joue" to "La Madrague" real quick. I'm off to romantic dreaming now... which should tell you what kind of drunk this is... just, lovely. 

Tasting Notes: Pissy color and smells like alcoholic pistachios. Sour, with lots of pineapple and lime notes. A light but lasting finish that may or not have a hint of acid reflex. Despite possible health indications, I will be drinking this whole bottle because it's so god damn good. 

Ross Test: Great if you love chugging Sour Patch kids (which I do).