Summer days are upon us and we’re delighted to be sipping this Pinot Blanc from Trimbach. Dry and fresh, it’s perfect with seafood – think shellfish – quiches and light seasonal dishes. The Trimbach estate has been making wine for a very long time – nearly 400 years since 1626. This soft, fruity, yet dry white is ideal for the season and year-round, paired with seafood and light meals. It is 13 percent ABV and offers the refreshment we seek in warmer weather. The winemaker calls it “a wine for pure pleasure,” and with a modest suggested retail price of around $14, it’s an excellent value. Check it out at www.trimbach.fr/en/trimbach-estate/
It’s summer and white wines are the beverage we want to be sipping on hot 80+-degree days! Here are two we recently tried and found to be good options for steamy summer drinking.
The South African Rustenberg Stellenbosch Chardonnay, 2015 is made with grapes from the best vineyards and are fermented and aged for 12 months in French casks. You’ll detect notes of apricot and orange peel with hints of marzipan and citrus as well. From Italy, there is the Pecorino Terre di Chieti from Italy’s Abruzzo region, made from Pecorino grapes which offer hints of tropical fruits, herbs and minerals. Nero Pecorino, the winemaker says, is “an authentic example of Abruzzo’s recently rediscovered signature white grape.
The two offer pleasurable drinking on these warm and often humid summer days and evenings. Enjoy!
We’re big fans of South African wines because of the quality and value they represent for both a restaurant’s wine list and for the consumer who chooses either a glass or a bottle. Two wines we like this winter are the Kanonkop Kadette Cape Blend ’13, a dry and full-bodied option that blends Pinotage, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc from Stellenbosch, east of Cape Town. It’s 14% alcohol by volume and aged 12 to 14 months in French oak. It’s name comes from “kopje” which means hill, referring to the cannon fired to alert nearby farmers of trading ships coming into port 300 years ago. It’s a delicious choice with hints of berries, cherries, and banana and a spicy finish.
The Raats Family Cabernet Franc ’13 is made with Bruwer Raats’ handpicked grapes that are grown in decomposed dolomite granite. Also in Stellenbosch, these vines are known for their high quality and were brought to the continent by Raats’ ancestors. The nose is rich with rosemary, thyme and lavender and the there are notes of spices (nutmeg, clove and star anise), along with fruits and licorice. It’s complex with good tannins against the berry notes (blueberry, blackberry) and you may even detect dark chocolate. Both are distributed by Cape Classics.
Our wine this week is Donelan‘s Syrah, Walker Vine Hill 2010 from California’s Russian River Valley. Actually, we are sure this wine has been sold out for some time as it’s been residing in our wine rack for four years or so, waiting for a moment when we needed something really special.
Donelan’s slogan is “Wine is a journey…not a destination.” This beautiful red pays tribute to its Russian River region and Gold Ridge loam soils. Beautifully structured, deeply concentrated, this Syrah had limited production – 14 barrels, 350 cases. We consider ourselves extremely fortunate to have the bottle on our rack.
The most recent last vintage of the Walker Vine Hill Syrah is 2013. With a similarly rich nose, it draws the wine drinker in, offering “velvety tannins and a long, full finish.” It draws on the best traits of prior vintages, such as the purity of the 2010, spice of 2011 and structure of 2012.
The Donelan family has a small boutique winery that focuses on quality and that pursuit has been and continues to be its journey. The wines from this northern California producer have been compared with the great wines of France. Syrah is a major focus, along with Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, three blends (including a rosé) and Vigonier. The goal is always to “discover only the very best of every place.” We urge you to take a look!
Open Joseph Mellot Sancerre Domaine De Bellecours 2013 a lovely wine from the Loire Valley in France, where, in 1698, Cesar Mellot advised Louis XIV on his personal choice of wines, as we move into Spring and discover a classic.
The family has been producing wines since the 1500s and was the very first winery to receive ISO 14001 certification in 2009 for its continued efforts to improve the environment. It was recognized for a long and distinguished history and its sustainable practices.
This wine, priced at retail in the mid-teens, reflects the soils of its region, rich in clay and limestone:
– Siliceous clay soils on the hills in the eastern vineyards.
– “Caillottes”, very stony and calcareous.
– “Terres blanches” which are white and clay-limestone based. The soil is enriched with compost.
The region is known for Sauvignon Blanc grapes from which Sancerre is produced, and Pinot Noir from which the red wines are made.
Early on in the effort to be sustainable, Joseph Mellot became as groundbreaker, reducingthe number of vine protection products to use only those with the least toxicity, and cartons are made from recycled paperboard.
In 2009, Joseph Mellot had carbon footprint and product assessments made to measure and reduce greenhouse gases. More recently, in 2013, the winery decided to reduce its CO2 emissions by 15% by using multilayer PET bottles for some of its white wines because they were lighter and cut by one-third the environmental impact of bring the wines to market, he says. The winery’s Sancerre offers notes of soft citrus, lemony and grassy.
Mellot today owns vineyards in all the region’s appellations and is known for continually perfecting and growing the family business.
This delightful Amancaya Gran Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon/Malbec 2011 was the second joint venture in creating a premium wine between DBR (Lafite) and the Catena family. It’s a blend the combines the elegance of Cabernet Sauvignon with the fruit of Argentina’s Malbec and bears the name of a mountain flower found growing in the Andes. The grapes, from the Catena family’s vineyards, were all more than 30 years old and from an altitude between 800 and 1499 m.
The wine was aged for a year in French oak barrels, 20% of which were new.
The final product was deep crimson with a nose of red and black fruit, red currants and plums and touches of mint and cedar. The bouquet has vanilla, spices and mocha notes from the oak barrels. With pleasant, well balanced tannins, the resulting wine was 30% Cabernet Sauvignon and 70% Malbec, with 15% ABV. It’s rich and flavorful, delivering elegance from the joint venture, known as Bodegas Caro.
Like many European wineries, Fonseca was founded in the 19th century – 1822 – when Manoel Pedro Guiumaraens purchased Fonseca & Monteiro and began producing complex Porto wines. His great-great grandson, Bruce, continued the tradition until ’55, and today, his son, David Guimaraens, carries on, offering two 100-point wines in his very first vintage.
BIN No. 27 is made with the exception grapes in the Cima Corgo and is rich with a nose of blackberry and cassis.
We tend to think of Porto in connection with cooler days or celebratory occasions, but the fact is that it is worth drinking any time because it is delicious! This port is blended from reserve wines chosen for intense color and fruit characteristics and is aged four years in neutral wood vats.
Drink it with a nice Cheddar or dark chocolate or berry-based desserts. The port is 20 percent alcohol and made with Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Barroca, Tinta Roriz, Tionto Cão and Tinta Amarela. With a suggested retail price of $19.95, it represents great value on a restaurant by the glass list.