Sara’s Sommelier Selections – July 6, 2013
In preparation for the heat waves to come, I’ve chosen a list of refreshing whites and barbeque worthy reds from this summery release. Among the smorgasbord of international selections in this week’s VINTAGES release, I’ve singled out many fine examples from the Old World. Once again, I will endeavor to inspire your palates with food friendly suggestions in this “Sommelier Selections” column. Please do share your success stories in the comments section below.
It doesn’t take Sommelier experience to realize that in the summer months, people generally defer to more whites and rosés (and quite often to beer). However, reds can be made fresher with a slight chill, especially those that are brighter (higher in acids) and are lighter in body (like gamay, pinot noir, zinfandel and barbera, for example). Feel free to take more liberties with wine temperature in the summer months, especially in casual, al fresco settings. There is nothing worse than warm wine on a hot day. Having wine with lunch on a weekday? It’s not uncommon for the French to add an ice cube to their simple table wines in the summer for two reasons – first, to chill the wine, and second, to dilute the alcohol for a more reasonable return to work. Sounds sacrilegious? Not everyone needs to subscribe to this practice but it shouldn’t offend. After all, the experience of wine is a personal one and tastes are very individual. Own your practices – I won’t judge!
Now, onto the bottles that have me salivating this week . . .
A substantial salad is enough of a meal for me on a hot summer’s day, and I can think of little better to pair it with than a cool, succulent riesling such as this one from Dopff & Irion. Already perfectly mature and ready to enjoy, loaded with verve and lush fruit, this is a wine that can salvage an afternoon. The riesling site ‘Les Murailles’ gets its name from its proximity to the walls of the Château De Riquewihr within the slow ripening Alsatian village site of Riquewihr. Food pairing: Pear, walnut and blue cheese salad with a dash of white truffle oil.
Domaines Du Château De Riquewihr ‘Les Murailles’ Riesling 2008
Alsace, France, ON $19.95
From a seaside region with a Mediterranean climate, this is a wine that will have you refreshed and energized. It is a quintessential patio white, easy, breezy but not shy on flavour. The estate’s vineyards have been passed down from father to son for two centuries. ‘Le Champ des Lys’ is a single vineyard site named after the wild irises that grow readily in the environs that the locals call ‘lys’. This delicately floral blend of grenache blanc and viognier exhibits generous fruit on the palate and playful acidity. Food Pairing: Thai-inspired coconut and lemon grass soup.
Domaine La Croix Belle Le Champ Des Lys 2011
Languedoc Roussillon, France, ON $16.95
This is a masculine rosé that is sure to turn heads at your next summer gathering. It is a stunning, impactful wine, similar in depth and concentration to the revered and age worthy wines of the region of Tavel. Dry, windy and hot characterizes the majority of the 2012 growing season in Provence, producing, in many cases, more concentrated flavours in the rosés of this southern region of France. Food Pairing: Guacamole.
E. Guigal Côtes Du Rhône Rosé 2012
Rhône, France, ON $16.95
High in the mountain passes of Macedonia is this unique winery whose founder is responsible for the first grapes planted in Metsovo and the first plantings of cabernet sauvignon in Greece. A wonderfully compelling old world red blended from the indigenous varietal of agioritiko and those old cabernet sauvignon vines. A distinctive, soul-stirring wine that is sure to spark conversation. Food Pairing: Braised lamb shanks.
Katogi Averoff 2008
Metsovo, Greece, ON $16.95
Volnay is all about subtlety and even if you are a fan of bigger reds, you are sure to appreciate the delicate balance and breadth of flavours in this wine. Les Santenots is a 1er Cru site, or “climat” that actually falls within the boundaries of the neighboring appellation of Meursault, but is allowed to take the name of Volnay (and does so when the wine is red). Supremely elegant, this tightly woven pinot noir is a sensual treat of spice, flowers and cherry. Food pairing: Seared tuna with lavender sea salt.
Vincent Sauvestre Volnay Les Santenots 1er Cru 2010
Burgundy, France, ON $48.95
Finally, here is an indulgent, everyday, supple, rounded and enjoyable barbera that is sure to please a crowd. Barbera, although lush and juicy, can sometimes be bracingly acidic. This version is characteristically bright but wonderfully balanced with generous, fleshy fruit making it especially approachable and food friendly. Food pairing: Moroccan spiced beef kabobs.
Marchesi Di Barolo Maràia Barbera Monferrato 2011
Piedmont, Italy, ON $16.95
Wishing you a warm and blissful barbeque season. Santé!
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From the June 22, 2013 Vintages release: