Posts tagged #santa ynez

Solminer Linus Rosé

marissa a ross rosé ross test

Solminer Linus Rosé
Varietal: Syrah
Region: Santa Ynez, California
Year: 2015
Price: $24
Retailer: Direct from winery (online shopping rules)

I wrote this whole thing explaining that despite spending most of my life being referred to as "little bro" and saying everything is "fucking tight", I'm a sophisticated lady who listens to Music For A Sophisticated Lady. And then Neil, who gave me the fucking record, walked in and was like, "You are definitely not a sophisticated lady." 

And I mean, I'm not.
Not in the classical sense.
Or really any sense.

But I am modern and knowledgable, which are both synonyms of "sophisticated", so if the only thing keeping me from being "sophisticated" is that I primarily wear basketball shorts and no make up while chugging wine and cussing too much, then I am fine not being sophisticated or a lady. But it did ruin the lede of this piece. Although that was a waste of my time, it actually worked out because I didn't realize that this rosé was named after the winemakers' son, and it's probably for the best I didn't go comparing it to any sophisticated or unsophisticated ladies. 

BUT THE BLOG MUST GO ON. With or without a cohesive through-line. 

solminer rosé marissa a ross wine

The Solminer rosé is a gorgeous deep coral; a color I love to wear but something I would normally see in a bottle of wine and actively avoid due to the sweetness such a color usually indicates. But the Linus is tart and dry with electric strawberry, and reminds me of this Glass Animals song. It's upbeat with an accelerated acidity that bursts through the palate and long into the finish. With its sharp, sour red fruits, it is very refreshing, and begs to be gulped. It drinks young, but you can taste how much technique and talent went into it. It's one of those bottles that you hate to drink so quickly because you know it's special, but you just can't help it. 

This is rosé at its best. As plush as Provence, and as crisp as California.

Tasting Notes: Neon strawberry and orange zest with like, a kazoo bursting with acidity, and mouthfeel like your favorite well-fitted viscose t-shirt. 

Ross Test: I drank a fourth of the bottle. So. YES.

Posted on June 14, 2016 .

Amplify Viognier


Amplify Viognier
Price: $22.99
Region: Santa Ynez, California
Year: 2014
Retailer: DomaineLA 

I first had Amplify wines while at Cliff's Edge, a restaurant I've been frequenting since I moved to Los Angels mostly for its Jungle Cruise-esque patio, California-savory menu and for impressing out of town family, but now mostly for its wine (and its patio). My friend Roni Ginach took over as wine director there this past spring, making it a oenophile's paradise. Roni is one of my favorite and most trusted people to just be like, "BRING ME WHATEVER YOU THINK IS DELICIOUS!" and then like a magical wine wizard, she does just that. 

It was Roni who turned me onto Amplify's carignane at Cliff's Edge one night, and subsequently made me a full-on fan girl. I've been crushing bottles of the carignane like no tomorrow because when you chill it, it tastes just like cranberry juice (which I love). Also, I love their wine making practices. This small winery is ran by Cameron and Marlen Porter and they are "not fans of dogma", which basically means they may not be following every word that Rudolph Steiner put out, but they do care about their product and their land. They use native yeasts and neutral fermentations, farm for nurturing their ecosystem, and the only additive is sulfur (which is necessary to create wines that can age). 

I was pretty much over the moon when I found out they had a viognier. Viognier is a cheeky white varietal that loves playing with misdirection. On the surface, it doesn't seem like a wine I would like very much. Everything about it from its color (faded 80's gold) to its bouquet (old 80's Dior perfume) scream "Ahhhh probably semi-sweet!" Which is not a risk I like taking. But I took it once and was glad I did. The palate is actually dry and drinkable despite being robustly floral and fruity.

Amplify's viognier is even more of a treat than your normal California viognier. I've had many from California that are a little thick and a little too rich, but Amplify does a stupendous job of balancing that richness with its tart, au naturale attributes. It is so complex and full of flavor, but is just so god damn citrus-ly carefree with such a lively finish I want to put on my bikini and run through some sprinklers (god damn am I bummed I can't do it the first summer I FINALLY have a backyard as an adult). 

AHHH IT TASTES LIKE A COLD THICK BREEZE OF SOUR APPLES AND TROPICAL FRUITS THAT I WISH I WAS OUTSIDE DRINKING RIGHT NOWWW... but can't because a group of grey hawk bros have nested in my neighbor's tree and swoop at my pomeranians and it gives me great anxiety because I don't want my dogs to get taloned by FLYING BEASTS (that happen to be beautiful, but fuck them for trying to pick up my dogs for dinner WHICH ISN'T EVEN POSSIBLE THEY ARE SO DELUSIONAL, but still beautiful).

This wine tastes like summer, which I know I say a lot, but I'll never stop saying it. A California girl at heart, I'll never stop comparing the wines I love to bodies of water, fresh cut grass, hot concrete and sand, and unadult-erated freedom. 

I'm so sad it's almost August. Don't get me wrong, I'm going to savor July, but remember when summer lasted forever? Bums me out when I think about how our perception of time is relative to how much time we have experienced and how time will only be shorter the longer we live it.

But then again, there are moments that last forever. Small tiny moments. Pressing your fingertips into crispy, dry sand on the dunes. Your feet stretching into unknown, cold areas inside your sheets. Showering after swim practice. The golden light as it fell across the California coast and across your grandmother's bedroom. All these things are so fleeting and yet, here they are. Fresher than tomorrow's farmer's market offerings, here those feelings are.

The Amplify viognier captures that for me. Those tiny moments. The perfect balance between brisk & fun, and whole-hearted & overwhelming. 

Tasting notes: Hard floral on the nose, but citrus and tropical and nectarines on the palate. Long finish, like you swallowed a mouthful of the Pacific. <3  
Yes, that's a <3

Ross Test: A little too floral! Stick to the glass. 

Carlson Trois Fleurs


Carlson Trois Fleurs 
Price: $25
Retailer: Whole Foods

Tonight I am drinking the Carlson Trois Fleurs. I was skeptical because it's 50% Gewürztraminer and in the past, I have not really been a fan of Gewürztraminer (I've only ever had like, two so I'm being really unfair here but whatever, LIFE'S NOT FAIR). Luckily the other two 25%s are Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc so there was nothing to fear, aside from fear itself and of course, bad buttery oak/heights.

I feel like if you're out in the world reading about wine, you're probably together enough to put together that this blend of three different Santa Ynez varietals is where they get the name "Trois Fleurs" , but just in case, well, there you have it.

When it first hit my mouth I was like, "I don't know about this."  But after a couple sips, I knew I was in for the whole bottle. It tastes like you're drinking the most beautiful rose garden, all yellows and pinks and corals. It's so perfectly sunny. And the garden just echoes Charles Mingus vinyls. So, it's the best garden you've ever been in, basically.

I guess we could say this garden really grew on me! BA-DUM-CHHHHHH!

Seriously though, this wine just saved me from my always-creeping-but-forever-staved quarter-life crisis. Wine is the original Xanax.

Alright, time to polish off this bottle and go shop online for things I can't afford.

Tasting Notes: Very floral on the front, with citrus and mineral on the backside. Crisp with a light but lingering finish. Would pair awesome with a white fish or a warm patio & good friends. Definitely a summer essential.

Ross Test: Doable. A bit too minerally and acidic for extended chugging. Best left in the glass unless you're really into not giving a fuck.

Posted on April 22, 2014 .