Some summer wine recommendations.
By Louis Marmon
Gazette Newspapers July 8, 2009
Chardonnay is not the only chilled glass of white wine to treasure in the summer heat. Many other varietals offer the invigorating crisp flavors and balanced acidity enhance warm weather meals. It is also worth exploring the shelves to find treasures and the occasional bargain from less familiar regions.
One example is New York’s Finger Lake Region, where Dr. Konstantin Frank founded his winery in 1962. The professor of plant sciences at Cornell University pioneered growing European-type varietals in the cool northern climates of upstate New York. The family-run winery has won numerous accolades for its sparkling and still wines. Among its excellent recent releases are the floral scented Dr. Konstantin Frank Finger Lakes Dry Riesling 2007 ($16) that exhibits crisp apple, pear, apricot and lime flavors, and the sweeter peach and honey-scented Dr. Konstantin Frank Finger Lakes Semi-Dry Riesling 2007 ($15) with apple and slightly spicy pear and peach notes that lead into a long finish.
Italian wines are among the most food-friendly choices for summer sipping. The Moziese Grillo IGT Sicilia 2007 ($18) is made entirely from Grillo, a uniquely Sicilian grape. Soft and mouth-filling with a medium body, orange, melon and mineral notes and great balance, it pairs nicely with salads and seafood. A blend of Trebbiano, Bombino Bianco and Malvasia, the Cantine Borgo di Colloredo Biferno Bianco DOC “Gironia” 2007 ($18) has aromas of tropical fruit and spring flowers along with bright pear and peach flavors; it would work well with light summer pasta dishes. From Piedmonte, the Cornarea Roero Arneis 2007 ($22) is created from a grape with a name derived from the local word for “whimsical.” Scented with honey and white flowers, it is medium-bodied with minerals, apples and hints of almonds combining with brisk acidity; it is ideal with seafood. Softer than other examples, the St. Pauls Egg Leiten Exculsiv Pinot Grigio 2007 ($24) is also more complex. Slightly spicy honey, green apple and tropical fruit notes with minerals and a lingering finish allow this wine to match nearly every summer fare. The value-priced Villa Antinori Bianco 2008 ($14) is great with grilled chicken. A blend of Trebbiano, Malvasia, Pinot Bianco and Pinot Grigio, it has pear, apple and citrus flavors and nicely balanced acidity. Also try the Castello Banfi Centine White 2008 ($13) with lime, apple and hints of savory herbs.
California Sauvignon Blancs remain summer favorites. Richly aromatic, the Dry Creek Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2008 ($16) has delightful melon, gooseberry, pear and guava flavors with a pleasant grassiness during the lingering finish. With tangy apricot, orange and peach notes, the Sbragia Home Ranch Sauvignon Blanc 2008 ($20) is complex and well balanced. Banana, grapefruit, pear and grass flavors predominate in the tasty Charles Krug Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2007 ($18). Value-priced options include the lemon, grapefruit and lime-flavored White Truck Organic Sauvignon Blanc 2007 ($12) and the Sterling Napa County Sauvignon Blanc 2008 ($13), with citrus, pineapple, fig and melon notes. Another strong effort is the Hagafen Sauvignon Blanc 2008 ($15). Bright lemon, grapefruit, tangerine and a hint of kiwi mingle nicely toward a beautifully balanced finish. Biodynamic since 2006, the Grgich Hills Estate Napa Valley Fume Blanc 2007 ($30) is a true gem with a rich lush texture. Concentrated lime and spicy melon notes lead into peach, vanilla oak and lemons in the gorgeous finish. Think grilled fish with a light summer risotto.