Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Not Such a Good Wine for a BBQ

2004 Wirra Wirra Mrs Wrigley Rosé from Australia

photograph picture july 4th bbq picnic at stinson beach 2006, kite flying, shuttle launch, home made bread, mrs wrigley rose wine from wirra wirra in australia

On July 4th I attended my friend Vinny's annual BBQ picnic at Stinson beach, about a 40 minute drive North West of San Francisco. I made a lot of incorrect assumptions yesterday. Firstly, I was convinced Wholefoods would be closed for the holiday and not wanting to buy fresh bread from Safeway, I rose early in order to bake fresh bread for our picnic. (Well, I can't really complain about the delicious results of that mistake, but I did feel a pang of annoyance as I drove past no less than two very open Wholefoods on my way to the beach.) Secondly, I was convinced that Stinson would be foggy and cold so I wore my jeans. Duh! I was sweltering my pants off. Thirdly, I believed the guy in The Jug Shop who told me when I couldn't find more than one choice of French rose wine, that the 2004 Wirra Wirra Mrs Wrigley Rose from Australia was a really great wine.

Because we were off to the beach, where we would be grilling The Fatted Calf's delicious Toulouse Sausages and serving them as sandwiches made from my freshly-baked loaves, I didn't want to pair our lunch with too heavy a wine. The promise of sun, sea and sand called for something light and refreshing. I decided a pink wine would fit the bill perfectly, although I was carrying a more warming bottle of pinot noir too just in case the weather turned chilly.

2004 Wirra Wirra Mrs Wrigley Rosé from Australia

When you are in a wine shop asking for rose recommendations and expressing a preference for French rosés which are generally crisp and dry you do not expect the staff to suggest a sweet wine.

From a practical, picnic point of view the Mrs Wrigley is easy to transport because the bottle is secured with a stelvin screw cap. That is a point in its favour. There could be nothing worse than arriving at the beach to find your only bottle of wine is corked or that you have forgotten your corkscrew. The screw cap also ensures no accidental spillage inside the cooler.

On the nose, there is not much fruit. From the bottle it almost smells like a cheese counter in a French supermarket, but once swirled around in the glass that bizarre description is nowhere to be found and instead I detect a mild whiff of white pepper.

To the eye, the colour is more of a deep, bright translucent raspberry-red, not pink.

On the tongue the wine is overwhelmingly sweet. Think cranberries. It starts with an acidic kick and then leaves strawberries and cream on your tongue. I followed my glass of Mrs Wrigley rose wine with a soft drink mix of Pomegranate juice with a splash of sparkling water and I could barely tell the difference between the two. Of course, neither beverage paired very well with my scrumptious sausage sandwich.

Much like a white Zinfandel, I think this wine would be a good one to serve to people who don't care so much for serious wine drinking or who have a sweet tooth.

PS. I prepared this post for Wine Blogging Wednesday # 23, hosted by Vivi's Wine Journal. Every month, in an event conceived originally by Lenndevours, wine enthusiasts get together to take part in an online wine tasting based around a theme, this month, BBQ Wines. I highly recommend this monthly event to beginners who are trying to learn more about wine. Don't be nervous, don't consider yourself not enough of an expert, just take part and have fun with it. Although they might try to scare you off with their confident, flowery language, those wine bloggers don't actually bite and what's more you'll start to really be aware of what you do and don't like in the wine world!

Links, Resources and Further Reading

Archive Alert! On this day in 2005: The Last Supper at La Suite: we haven't been there since, and since it has just closed down for a re-invention it really was our last meal there.

And on this day in 2004: La Tete de Goinfre - La Cave du Cochon, Paris

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Not Such a Good Wine for a BBQ


  • At 5/7/06 11:49, Blogger Amy Sherman said…

    My 4th was filled with sausages too. Niman ranch italian ones especially. I've found a reasonable French rose in Trader Joe's of all places. Not sure if it was open yesterday?

  • At 5/7/06 13:17, Anonymous Lenn said…


    Is this wine shop one that you frequent? Offering up a sweet white zin clone to someone looking for a crisp, refreshing French style is ludicrous.

    And thanks for the kind mention of's a fun lil project to be sure. But, some wine bloggers do bite ;)

  • At 5/7/06 15:04, Blogger Catherine said…

    Hi Sam,

    What a great description of tastes! Too bad they weren't good ones. I will definitely remember this.

    And good thing you had the pinot.

  • At 5/7/06 17:47, Blogger Andrew said…

    I can bite - but you have to ask nicely first ;-)

  • At 6/7/06 05:18, Blogger Belinda said…

    Hi, Sam. You jogged my memory as I found a great French rose in Australia! (Well made by a French winemaker who has settled here.)

    I've just put a bit of a blurb up, have a look in case you're ever trapped in another evil wineshop and can teach them something! :)

  • At 6/7/06 17:28, Blogger neil said…

    You're right to say not to be worried amongst wine blog people. I'm in a food and wine club with mostly wine trade people (not me unfortunately) and you would be amazed at how often they get it wrong - I mean completely wrong - in a blind tasting. That's a secret, okay.

    I think a lot of Australian rose wines are in this mould and are not very cheap either. Belinda's suggestion is a good one, but usually I will go for an import, 'cause I like my rose dry too.

  • At 7/7/06 00:57, Blogger Tea said…

    Sorry to hear about the wine, Sam. But it looks like you had a good time at Stinson (love the photos). I spent loads of time out there as a kid. We'd bob for hours just beyond the waves, with seals popping up to check us out (though I'd be hard pressed to want to jump in that cold water these days!).

  • At 7/7/06 13:55, Blogger jens at cincinnati wine said…

    Nice post and love the photos! I think the name "Mrs Wrigley" should have been a tip-off! I generally pass on wines with cute animals on the label or named after favorite Aunts. Cheers.

  • At 7/7/06 14:48, Blogger Whit Stevens said…

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  • At 7/7/06 14:49, Blogger Whit Stevens said…

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  • At 7/7/06 14:49, Blogger Whit Stevens said…

    Your blog is beautifully designed. Further, I love the photos at the top of this post. Nicely done.

  • At 7/7/06 17:02, Blogger Sam said…

    Amy - K&L has an excellent selection of roses

    lenn - no it is not my local wine shop any more luckily, its my used to be local 4 years ago. Now i go to the lovely K&L instead.

    Catherine - yes but i didnt drink the pinot - I was too hot!

    Andrew - you can bite on my Bakewell, you wish!

    Belinda - thanks for the tip!
    I tried a NZ rose for another WBW and it was in a similar vein, so I thhink I am beginning to learn my Antipodean pink wine lesson by now!

    tankeduptaco - that's a good secret - my lips are sealed (at least when they aren't open to a nice glass of dry French rose, that is)

    tea - a thick wetsuit at the very least is needed! Plus what about the sharks? I was quite content slumbering on the sand instead.

    Jens - yes the back of the lable description as to how it came to be named, wasnt really my cup of tea that's for sure.

    Whit - thanks - it took me an annoyingly long time to do that in photoshop.

    cheers everyone


  • At 11/7/06 07:34, Anonymous bizofknowledge said…

    Thank you for the honest review. It is always great to hear when something doesn't live up to your high standards. I know now to stay away!


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