Julien Courtois "Ancestral"

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Julien Courtois "Ancestral"
Varietals: Côt, Gamay & Gascon
Region: Loire, France
Year: 2012
Price: ~$30
Retailer: Lou Wine Shop

It's interesting when your hobby becomes your job. It is so fun and exciting and gratifying, and it is challenging and exhausting, just like you always knew it would be. And then there is this part where you find yourself uninspired and frustrated, because that thing you used to do to relax and be creative is now your job.

But you have to get back to that thing; that thing that made you laugh when no one was around, that thing that took weight off your shoulders no one else could, that thing you couldn't stop doing if you tried, that thing you did for no one but yourself, that thing that gave you purpose before you knew you had a purpose.

And here we are. I couldn't be more predictable if I tried with a Gamay blend. It's like I've lit a bunch of fancy-ass candles, put on Getz/Gilberto and am leading myself to bed to try to rekindle a dwindling romance...

AND IT WORKS!

Julien Courtois' "Ancestral" has me feeling more than satisfied, entirely in love all over again, and convinced that my relationship with wine will last forever.

It's got a mouth on it; acerbic and a little dirty. There's definitely a bite to it, but it is very smooth. Its acidity walks a tight rope of savory tension that leaves you wanting more. This is not a shallow Gamay that you drink before dinner and never think about again. This has a smokey delicious depth to it I want to swim in forever. 

Tasting Notes: Cranberry and black cherry on the nose, with some hints of melted Red Vines. On the palate, there's very tart cranberry and red currant, resting upon a bed of savory smoke. There is this umami-ness to it too, and the mouthfeel is very "freshly laundered white t-shirt." Nicely balanced considering the high acidity. 

Ross Test: Delicious!

On Bon Appétit: Why You Shouldn't Worry About Sulfites

Why You Shouldn't Worry About Sulfites

You're probably not allergic to them, and they're not causing your red wine headaches. So why does everyone freak out about them? Let me tell you all about how the sulfite scare happened and how there's actually way more sulfites in foods than in wines. 

This piece means a lot to me, and I'm really proud of how well it was received within the wine community. Since usually the reactions I get are from people who are commenting on the internet with no knowledge on the subject, who really didn't even read the damn thing, it is very rewarding to have people I admire in my industry react positively. Wine professionals have to battle the sulfite myths regularly, and I feel very grateful that I was able to bring this issue to a large audience, and hopefully teach some people some things. 

Posted on April 8, 2016 .

Wine Time: Domaine Guion Bourgueil

Domaine Guion Bourgueil
Varietal: Cabernet Franc
Region: Loire, France
Year: 2012
Price: $14.99
Retailer: DomaineLA

I know it's been a million years since I posted a Wine Time so guess what, here is one for you! A dreamily affordable Cab Franc that smells kinda like a fajitas and a dude you could date.

Shot & Edited by Josh Fuss
Music by Monster Rally 

Château Flotis "Si Noire"

chateau flotis si noire

Château Flotis "Si Noire"
Varietal: Negrette
Region: Fronton, France
Year: 2010
Price: $18
Retailer: Lou Wine Shop

2016 has been wild so far. Between starting at Bon Appétit, going to Spain twice, hosting a two day wine pool party and turning 30, I haven't had much time to review much wine despite drinking enough of it to nearly kill me. 

Having a moment to sit here with the Château Flotis right now feels like a gift. The goal has always been to get off the internet, but the truth is there is a comfort in this medium that cannot be found in emails from my editors or scribbling shorthand into Moleskins in a vineyard six thousand miles away. I've dreamed of those things, and am so grateful to see it come to fruition, but still. This corner of my couch, listening to "Starman" on repeat without headphones on, without anyone to please but myself and no fucks given, is a pleasure. I can't say I didn't appreciate it before, because I have always truly treasured these moments, but it is that much sweeter now.

I probably should have chosen a white wine to review since I haven't since September, but I've had this French red that has just been sitting on the shelf waiting for me to love and I couldn't resist. I have very little self-control, especially when it comes to funky French reds.

Château Flotis is made by winemaker Katia Garrouste. The back of the bottle makes a point to say that her wines "reflect her unique perspective" but "aren't 'feminine' per se", which annoys me. I can't tell if they wanted to point people in that direction, towards the wine's subtle femininity or if they're trying to assure people that just because it is made by a woman, not to worry! You're still masculine if you drink it! Maybe I am jaded and tired and got a super lame email from a dude comparing photos I post of me in a bikini on my own accord to being exploited for my body, but at any rate, it annoys me. Katia is a badass winemaker with tons of potential, and it's great to highlight women making wine, but I don't see the benefit of saying the wine isn't "'feminine' per se". 

My heightened and perhaps displaced sense of sexism aside, I really love this wine.

It's so soft and light on the front, like a favorite, worn thin, vintage jersey t-shirt moving across collar bones. But the back is substantial, tannic and fiesty. It goes from fruity and flirty to savory and sexy so quickly. And the whole time, it is so well-balanced. There isn't a note out of place. It's like an Olympic gymnast doing a whole floor routine to a Shakira song on a balance beam. There are so many flavors that dance upon your palate, and it is incredible how linear they are while still showcasing so much finesse. 

Although this is has been a great wine to just hang out with on my couch, I would recommend eating with it. It's a bit acidic and gripping for drinking alone, and I wouldn't mind biting into a big juicy cheeseburger right now. Or cassoulet as the label recommends as the traditional pairing, but also cheeseburgers.

Alright, I have to go get ready for my life but know I love this wine and I love you. 

Tasting Notes: Christmas cranberry mom-pedicure color. Smells like peppered, strawberry fruit leathers. Tastes like the best god damn dinner wine I've yet to actually eat dinner with. Ah! It's so light while still delivering acidic and tannic depth. Make sure to let this breathe for at least thirty minutes, otherwise it is too tannic and acidic and not nearly as enjoyable. 

Ross Test: Wow, I am genuinely surprised at how well it went! Usually tannic and acidic wines aren't always smooth going down, but that vintage jersey t-shirt soft I spoke about at the front of this wine actually carries it down the hatch quite nicely! 

EAT | DRINK | DANCE | SLEEP | REPEAT AT MY TWO-DAY WINE POOL PARTY AT THE ACE

COME GET DRUNK AND TAN WITH ME!
FRIDAY: FREE WITH RSVP

SATURDAY: FREE FOR HOTEL GUESTS, $25 FOR NON-GUESTS

FEATURING WINES FROM:
SCRIBE, BROC CELLARS, SCAR OF THE SEA, FIELD RECORDINGS, LIEU DIT, OENO & MORE!

For those of you who have been following my work over the years, I don't need to tell you how thrilled I am to be hosting a wine pool party at the Ace in Palm Springs. For those of you who have not been following my work for very long, let's just say this is a total dream come true because there is nothing I love more than wine and Palm Springs. Plus my birthday is the following weekend so this is like my birthday party and obviously I would love to celebrate my birthday with you. 

Posted on March 7, 2016 .

Three of my favorite wines, delivered straight to your door from Pour This!

marissa ross pour this

Last year, I received an email from a friend of my friend Adam Vourvoulis, a well-known and liked wine profesh/wine raver here in Los Angeles. Her name was Ashley Ragovin, the founder of a new wine delivery service Pour This. She wanted to chat wine, and because she was friends with Adam, I was like, "Sure!"

As it turned out, we got along better than a Scribe Cabernet and steak frites. Not only do we both love true crime, 90's hip-hop, teenagers on Vine and believe that cheddar cheese is absolutely underrated, but we share a deep love of wine. And not just any wine. We are both very passionate about small wine producers that are craft-driven with distinct & unique personalities and respectable farming practices, that are also 110% fucking delicious. It was a very "DUH! TOTALLY!" moment when we decided to collaborate on a Marissa A. Ross x Pour This wine box

marissa ross pour this

Over the years, you guys (my readers, hi, hello, love you) have constantly asked how to get my favorite wines. And this is your chance! You're going to get the Scar of the Sea Chardonnay Pétillant-Naturel, the Le Sot de l'Ange "Rouge G" Gamay, and a gorgeous new Italian babe, Du Cropio "Serra Sanguigna" Calabria Rosso. 

What can I say? My box is delicious. 
And it's going to be delivered straight to your door.

All innuendos aside, this is important to me because this is an opportunity for me to directly share my passion with you. It's no secret that my work focuses on these types of small production wines, and I know they're not always easy to find. But I believe that once you have some of them, you'll understand why I am so enthusiastic and dedicated to these styles of wine. 

I've been dreaming of being able to do something like this for a long time, and I am so grateful that Ashely & Pour This has made this dream come true.

I hope you order it and I hope you love it as much as I do.

So click on over to Pour This and grab your box! And while you're at it, read the really fun interview I did with Ashley on the same page. Shopping and reading! About me! Two of my favorite things in one place!

Posted on February 18, 2016 .

On Bon Appétit: What Happens If You Buy Wine Based on the Label?

marissa a. ross bon appetit

WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU BUY WINE BASED ON THE LABEL?

Apparently you get some solid references to the Ventures and Barbarella. But would you expect anything less from me? Click on over to read about these hot font-ed babes. 

On a side note...
HOLY FUCKING SHIT, IT'S REAL
I WRITE FOR FUCKING BON APPETIT

My heart is just continuously peeing its pants over this. 

Posted on February 17, 2016 .

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...