Five wines for summer

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Or more accurately, five wine types and/or varietals for summer.  Luckily, I was working out in the gym this morning – yes, I'm back and somewhat committed to losing the little midsection that I let amass over the past decade; it's little! – and one regular there asked me for fives wines to use for a little get together.  Well, that made me start to focus on what I think should be served, and figured that I would just put this in an article, so here goes.

I would start off with something bubbly, meaning either sparkling wine, champagne, or Prosecco.  This could be a mixture of juice such as pineapple, pomegranate, peach, grapefruit or orange juice, or adding in soda and making it into a spritzer.  Or of course, you could serve it straight.  Another option would be to drop in fruit like raspberries, blackberries and/or strawberries.  Right now, I have been digging Piper Sonoma's Brut, but they have also released a blanc de blancs which is phenomenal.  You could also throw in Franciacorta, as I normally started my chill out session in Italy with either a rosé or a saten of this wine.

Since it's summer, in regards to food I would move towards things which are chilled, like either green salads or pasta salads, especially those made with tuna, seafood, or chicken; turkey is just going to make you sleepy.  I would also offer that octopus made with the vinegar and oil would also be succulent as well.  With these wines, I would say you could pair it up with a great Pinot Grigio/Gris or a Sauvignon Blanc.  If it doesn't have a nice amount of citrus flavors and acidity, then it's not worthy.

Next, I would say that a nice meal would be something like lemon chicken or rosemary chicken, and with this I would choose to pair either a nice white wine blend like Evolution by Sokol Blossor or Oveja Negra's Sauvignon Blanc/Carmenere blend.  Also noteworthy would be Christine Andrew's Viognier.

For those looking for something different, you might want to look at Torrontes, a dry Reisling, or a Chenin Blanc.  You might also want to look at Vinho Verde (Portugal) or some of the white wines from Greece and Slovenia.  Also, Muller Thurgau deserves a peek as well.

Next, you should definitely look at some rosé wines, and those not dry.  You might want to look at those made from varietals such as Syrah, Malbec, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc.  If you're looking more in the sweeter range, I would say that you should choose Sunset Blush made by Chaddsford Winery.  Instead of rosé, you can also serve Sangria!  Alma Negra's 2009 release or Sparkling Rosé Malbec had a whiff of smoke and had a taste of cocoa in it.

If I were you, you might want to close out with another bubbly, this time using a blanc de noirs, which is going to give you a totally different taste.  Piper Sonoma had a wonderful one, and if you can find it, hats off to you sir!.  Domaine Ste Michelle has an inexpensive one, and Chandon is also a nice standard.  Another mix would be blueberry champagne, or which Renault Winery in South Jersey makes a nice one.

Or, if you don't want to go with a bubbly, fruit wine might be for you.  I just love Alba Winery's Blueberry wine, and another Jersey producer makes everything from Blackberry to Pomegranate.  In Pennsylvania, New Hope Winery has a lovely Blackberry wine as well (thanks Kristen for introducing it to me).

Well, that's it for me.  I would be very interested to get feedback on what wines you tried and how you loved them.

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