In keeping with a summery theme, this month I’ve chosen a few wines suitable for the classic summer picnic at the park, beach, backyard, pool deck… whichever you may find yourself on. Picnic wines, (like their first cousins ‘patio pleasers’), offer appealing and refreshing character, but must also provide a little more; a touch more structure, texture or subtle savoury notes to enhance the food affinity, bringing out the best in your food and drink.
Las Brisas Blanco – clear, pale straw in colour, with young moderate aromatic notes of flower blossom, white tree fruits, and tropical citrus. The palate is dry, quite fruit forward with moderate acidity, ripe follow up fruit character with slightly candied pear and delicate green herbal hints. This Spanish white makes a match for oysters, mussels and clams or a fruit plate by the beach with a little chevre.
Domaine Nizas Rose – clear, beautiful rosy pink in colour, with a youthful aromatic character offering rose notes, apple skin, delicate red berries, and sweet herbs. Light to medium bodied and dry, with complex orange peel acidity, delicate hints of tangy cherry, strawberry and garden shoots. A great partner for lighter fare from the grill, Gazpacho soup, or an array of salami, ham, Proscuitto and other charcuterie.
Laudun Chusclun Cotes du Rhone Blanc – clear and very pale in colour, with crisp youthful aromas on the nose offering fresh flowers, citrus blossom, and subtle hints of melon, and honey. The palate is dry and medium full bodied, with balanced juicy acidity, subtle richness in the mouth feel and hints of melon, delicate white fruits, and mineral. A terrific wine to have with leftover fried chicken, a fresh summer salad, or grilled turkey sausages.
So, pick your picnics carefully and don’t forget the wine!
In an attempt to hasten the arrival of the summer weather I am dedicating this to some local BC white wines, well-suited to sipping in a warm comfortable spot in the sun. Wines of refreshing, aromatic, fruit driven character that maintain suitable balance and acidity to keep the palate wanting just one more sip!
Stoneboat ‘Chorus’ White – is a suitably named harmonious white blend including varieties such as Kerner, Schoenburger, Viognier and more. The blend here accentuates the layers of fruit both on the nose and palate with ripe melon, tropical citrus, and hints of honey and mineral. It brings forth a touch of sweetness but retains an excellent crisp refreshing finish.
Stag’s Hollow ‘Con-Fusion’ White – this is another field blend white that tends to vary year by year depending on the vintage. A little more delicate on the nose with light floral white citrus, green apple and stone fruit notes. The relatively dry palate provides ripe follow up fruit, and a thirst-quenching freshness.
Hester Creek Trebbiano – the only BC version of this classic Italian white that I have ever come across. Mid-weight and juicy with warm weather compatible flavours of sweet grass, lemony citrus, and apple-pear notes. A very subtle hint of richness on the palate, and persistent juicy finish make it a perfect picnic wine.
Forbidden Fruit ‘Earth Series’ Sauvignon Blanc – this beauty is made from a clone sourced from Sauternes, and offers an enormous bowl of fruit on the nose. Grapefruits, melon, apricots, guava, and orchard fruit, followed by a palate that is slightly less intense, but remains crisp, and just a touch off dry and will seduce and surprise. Think of it as the anti-Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc!
So once the sunshine gets here, or anytime you need a refresher, try one of these patio pleasers, and sip with a smile!
Well it has been a rather unusual summer but I like to consider myself an optimist; and although as I write this, it is only 12 degrees Celsius outside in the middle of July, I look forward to the coming warm days of summer. Not that we need an excuse, but once the warm days are upon us, we shall have the perfect opportunity to enjoy some cool white wines. Now, cool can mean temperature in the sense of cool and refreshing white wines; but it also can mean wines of unique and interesting character and in this article we can examine a few wines to which both uses of ‘cool’ can apply!
Bodegas Aruspide ‘Trio’ Blanco – a Spanish number from Castilla la Mancha, it is an appropriately named blend of three grapes. Chardonnay, Verdelho, and Airen, (which happens to be the most widely planted white wine grape in the world although most people have never heard of it). This is a country wine, medium bodied and un-oaked with a slightly rustic edge to it that offers up citrus peel, dried orchard fruit, and a subtle nutty spicy note with crisp acidity. Suitable for enjoying by the glass, but a great match for an afternoon tapenade platter.
Montresor Bianco del Nago – an interesting expression of classic Venetian white wine grape Garganega; a variety most often found blended into the wines of Soave. Although it’s a little difficult to pronounce, it is easy to drink thanks to its inviting, slightly candied floral notes, and flavours of lemon zest, melon, and pear fruit. It is an un-oaked, mid-weight white with a very pleasing hint of richness in the mouthfeel, followed by a crisp, dry finish. Produced with a commitment to organic sustainable farming it makes an excellent match to seafood, shellfish, weisswurst, or a seasonal salad.
Inca Torrontes-Chardonnay – an unusual Argentine blend that puts it all together and makes a terrific wine. You could say that Torrontes is the unofficial white wine grape of Argentina; fruity and aromatic and bearing a slight resemblance to Gewurztraminer, but when paired with approximately 20% Chardonnay you get a juicy summer white loaded with aromatics and flavours of mandarin orange, apple, stone fruits and slight spice. Also un-oaked, this is a light bodied, juicy white perfect for patio sipping or washing down a spicy dynamite roll, or a picnic at the beach.
So when the warm weather gets here, (I’ve got my fingers crossed), reach for a ‘cool white’ and enjoy the sunshine.
It may be the shortest month of the year, but it is certainly not the least. The snow continues to fall, eagles return to their northern nests, spring breaks begin, we celebrate the occasional leap year as well as Valentine’s day, and much more. So no matter what your reason to sit back and enjoy a little wine I recommend you do so – and here are a few of my February favourites.
ADAMI BOSCO DI GICA: a superb bubbly from a superb producer. Adriano Adami is painstaking bordering on obsessive about his proseccos. The Bosco di Gica is a classic extra dry, with alluring perfumed floral, appley-citrus fruit and wonderful juicy acidity creamy bubbles, and persistent finish making it fun to drink on its own or a great match for a crisp salad, creamy pasta dish, or some fresh oysters.
PARES BALTA BLANC DE PACS: a unique white wine in that it is a blend of Parellada, Macabeo, and Xarello; totally obscure grapes used for Cava, (Spanish sparkling wine), production but vinified in a dry table wine style. A light greenish-yellow colour with leafy flowery notes hinting at orchard fruits. Delicate and crisp on the palate with tangy citrus and apple-pear notes, a pleasant richness to the mouth feel and a long juicy finish. Another great by-the-glass wine or perfect for green olive tapenade, seafood, or mild cheeses.
GIANFRANCO ALESSANDRIA BAROLO: wonderful mid-winter red with soft ruby red colour fading slightly around the edges. The nose is layered with dried flowers, orange peel, tar, leather and spice. The well structured palate is balanced and has an elegant strength as it offers intense dried dark berry fruit, bittersweet cocoa, subtle earthiness, leather and tremendous length. Perfect to chase away the winter chill or enjoy with savoury braised beef ribs, or game stew.
Try these wines, or others and make your own February Favourites list; it’s a great way to pass the time while our days are still short and our nights are still cold. Remember: variety is the spice of life so try something new next time you pull the cork.