Some summer wine recommendations including Rosé, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir.
By Louis Marmon
Gazette Newspapers June 29, 2011
Summer wines should be fruit-filled and complex enough to be interesting without overwhelming the traditional warm weather foods. They certainly need to be chilled, even the red ones, which will bring out their fruit flavors and balance. Here are some suggestions.
The bright fruit and balance of rosés are perfect for the summer. The delightfully dry Paul Jaboulet Parallele 45 Cotés du Rhone Rosé 2010 ($14) is a blend of Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah that exhibits bright strawberry, berry and cherry flavors, while the Chapoutier Cotés du Rhone Rosé Belleruche 2010 ($12) has more minerality along with strawberry, orange and cherry notes. From France’s Languedoc region are the aromatic Hecht & Bannier Rosé 2010 ($12), with distinctly spicy raspberry, strawberry and watermelon flavors, and the Chateau de Lancyre Rosé Pic St. Loup 2010 ($20), with lush, almost creamy flavors of cherry, melon and raspberry. Also try the very tasty El Coto de Rioja Rosado 2010 ($10), made from Tempranillo and Grenache that shows lovely red berries, watermelon and strawberries leading into the crisp finish.
Pinot noir is another excellent selection for lighter summer fare. The extensive portfolio of the Pali Wine Company includes several very good, nicely priced pinots, including the smooth, raspberry scented Pali Alphabet Pinot Noir 2009 ($19) that also has red cherry, mocha and earthy flavors. The Pali Bluffs Pinot Noir 2009 ($19) is a bit spicier, with dark cherry, blueberry and coffee notes, while the anise aromas of the Pali Rivera Pinot Noir 2009 ($19) lead into complex layers of black cherries, cola and red berries.
For a romantic picnic, consider one of the excellent pinots from Oregon’s award-winning Erath Winery, such as the elegant Erath Estate Selection Pinot Noir 2008 ($34), a slightly zesty, medium-bodied pinot with red cherry, plum and sage along with a long-lasting finish. The vines for the Erath Prince Hill Pommard Clone Pinot Noir 2008 ($50) are planted near former owner Dick Erath’s house. This pinot is deliciously complex with rhubarb, smoke and cola accenting the underlying raspberry, dark currant and cherry flavors. A spice rack in a bottle, the Erath Prince Hill Pinot Noir Clone 115 2008 ($50) reveals exotic flavors with each sip. Licorice, nutmeg, pepper and smoke intertwine among dark plums, currants, mocha and hints of red berries that linger in the lush ending. Their pinnacle pinot seems destined to be enjoyed under the stars. Translated as “The Magical Night,” the Erath La Nuit Magique Pinot Noir 2008 ($65) is deep and stylish with big floral aromas and accented with cinnamon and cedar that lead into earthy black cherry, berry and coffee flavors and a gracefully long finish.
You may want to open a Sauvignon Blanc while relaxing on your deck. Try the terrific pear- and green apple-flavored Joseph Phelps Sauvignon Blanc 2009 ($26) that has impressive length and balance. The value-priced Australian d’Arenberg Stump Jump Sauvignon Blanc 2010 ($12) has peach, lychee and citrus flavors, while the South African Two Oceans Sauvignon Blanc 2010 ($9) has more tropical fruit and minerality intermingled within its citrus frame. New Zealand’s Villa Maria Estate makes several Sauvignon Blancs worth trying including a refreshing pineapple- and gooseberry-scented Villa Maria Estate Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc 2010 ($15) that has well-balanced passion fruit, lemon and orange flavors. Even better is the very fragrant Villa Maria Estate Cellar Selection Sauvignon Blanc 2010 ($20), with lemon, peach and melon notes that flow smoothly into grapefruit and pear during the bright finish.