My Late Summer Wines List
Filed under "been meaning to" is my personal "the wines of my 2008 summer woooo" list.
We just got back from a little summer vacation at the beach and while down there I bought (and we all drank) a number of wines that I thought were perfect summer wines.
Here are my faves...
I am not sure what happened, but somewhere in my brain there is a little area that only lately thinks about Grenache. Recently it has been in full gear. Grenache is a really nice summer red wine especially when they are slightly cooled. Not a huge amount of body or tannins and has charming soft flavors of strawberries and red fruit.
Soft. That is the key. In my head.
The beach pick for Grenache was an old vine version from Fire Block in Australia. The vines, according to the label were planted in the 1920's. Old vines tend to produce smaller yields and keep the wines from becoming too vigorous. Unlike other crops, having vines growing all crazy and vigorously tends to produce big fat grapes that can have a diluted character.
Did I mention that Grenache is normally very vigorous? Hence, old vines = good thing in this case.
If my memory serves me correctly (I need to start taking notes) we had this wine with shrimp tacos we made one night. It has the standard red fruit flavors, but with a nice bit of layered complexity. I remember enchanting little floral notes. No, really.
People love Moscato D'Asti.
In Italy there is some term they use for this wine which kind of translates to "the panty dropper" as apparently the ladies love to down bottles of this stuff.
So, what is this wine? The grape is Moscato, AKA muscat, and is produced in the district of Asti - northern Italy in the Piedmont area.
It is a slightly sparkling wine with a bit of residual sugar and low alcohol. The aromatics and flavors are very pretty - floral, honey, and the classic grapey flavor. You'll love it.
We had this while playing Scrabble one night.
French Sparkling Wine
One night we had a charming sparkling Pinot Noir from Burgundy. Done, I am assuming, in the champagne style.
Being made from all Pinot Noir gave it a bit more body, color, and depth and pared well with the assorted asian-inspired dinner we had one night.
Here in the US, we seem to miss out on all the non-Champagne sparkling wines that France produces which is frustrating as they tend to be great values compared to their fancy-pants cousins in Champagne.
This is a whole other post. But my goal for the summer of 2008 is to drink tons champagne from small producers.
The wine region of Tavel is in France near Chateauneuf du Pape in the southern Rhone. In general, if you are looking for a nice, dry rose', Tavel is a good choice. In Tavel, they can use a whole assortment of grapes for their wines, but I think it is primarily Grenache and Cinsaut.
Keep it chilled and this is a delicious and refreshing wine.
I don't think I have mentioned my fascination with this wine. Tyrrells is in Hunter Valley in Australia and produce wines by from the Semillon grape. Semillon is a fairly neutral grape, except in some circumstances.
For instance, Semillon is the base of many of the great dessert wines, such as the ones from Sauternes. The grapes get all nice and rotted and the sugars become super concentrated - yet there is still a great amount of acidity.
In Australia, many producers will make wines from Semillon, but then sit on them for a period of time to let the wine age. When aged, Semillon takes on some complex and interesting characteristics (as well as staying very crisp with all the acidity). The Aussies seem to like these wines, but you don't find a lot on the US market.
I recently split a case of the Tyrrells special Semillon that they age. The current vintage is 2001 and I will probably save them for a bit longer before they get opened.
The wine we had on vacation was Tyrrell's "normal" Semillon. Neutral. Bracingly high acidity. It was a refreshing wine with some asian inspired dishes.