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Thursday, August 8, 2013

Summer Wines

The height of summer is here…farmer’s markets are over-flowing with tomatoes, basil and stone fruits.  With folks taking advantage of every opportunity to eat outdoors there’s always the question of what wine to serve during our hottest month.  While many opt for whites and rosés, there are some excellent, lighter-bodied reds that should not be forgotten.

Casual summer dining at our home around the swimming pool this year will often include one or more of the following:

  • Aperitif:  White Port and tonic.  Even if you don’t care for Port, you’re gonna love, love, love this refreshing drink.  Out of the 16 people who came on our 2011 tour to Portugal, 16 of them were won over by this aperitif!   BTW…white Port is a much lighter version of the dark one (also much less sweet), making it perfect for sipping before a meal! Don’t expect to find it at every liquor store…but it’s readily available online.  Serve it as they do in Portugal…over ice with a twist of lemon (I do a 50/50 combination, however, titrate it to your own preference. ($25)

  • Rosé:  This option is one of my faves, naturally, providing it is a well-crafted wine.  Best one for me?  La Crema’s bone-dry version is unbeatable.  ($25)

  • White:  A client of ours turned us on to this gorgeous wine from the south of France (thanks, Mark).  We’ve ordered cases.  This one offers a superb quality/price ratio, and a unique opportunity to experience a varietal you rarely see in the US:  Picpoul de Pinet by Domaine Felines Jourdan ($15)                             
       Another white option is the sublime varietal Torrontes from Argentina.  If you 
        haven’t tried it, you should.  One sip of this gentle peach-and-white-flower wine 
        and you’ll be hooked.  Best producers?  Try Familia Zuccardi or Altavista. (<$15)

  • Red:   No need to give up reds even on summer’s warmest days.  What you need is a light-bodied red…but, light body does not mean light quality.  My current fave is the Dolcetto grape from Italy’s Piedmont district (home of Barolo and Barbaresco).   Paolo Scavino had the best Dolcetto during my recent trip to Piedmont…and it’s imported!  (<$25) 

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