Summer's Last Hurrah
It's Labor Day weekend, summer's last hurrah! Before we transition to wines that are more fall-friendly, let's enjoy some discoveries from the wine classes held in July and August. Dave did classes on lighter reds and "pizza/burger" wines that featured wonderful wines that are good any time of year, but especially now.
The following were some standouts for me.
2017 Robert Debuisson Beaujolais VillagesMost of us associate Beaujolais with the annual release of Beaujolais Nouveau, which happens close to Thanksgiving. The Nouveau is the virst pressing, meant to celebrate the harvest.A Beaujolais Villages is a different story. Beaujolais is made from Gamay grapes grown in Burgundy, France. This one, a 2017 vintage, has all the bright fruit notes of a Nouveau but also balance and complexity of a vrai Beaujolais, with hints of violet and cranberry in a wine light enough to pair with everything from meats and cheeses to salads and fish.
Serve it slightly chilled.
2019 Veleta Tempranillo
A relatively new arrival in the store, this wine is 100% Tempranillo from La Mancha in central Spain. Tempranillo can yield flavors from fruity to earthy and leathery, even spicy.
This one is full of lovely, soft black and blue fruit notes, including plum and blackberry. It's light, smooth and fresh on the palate, with a hint of spice on the finish, making it the perfect bottle to pair with pizza and burgers (and so much more).
2020 DeLoach Pinot NoirPinot is one of those wines that is so versatile that it is as perfect at a summer picnic as it is for Thanksgiving. Its typical notes of bright cherry, raspberry and some mushroom keep it light yet lingering.
This one is a winner. It's from a California winery that's been family owned and operated since 1975 with a commitment to sustainable viticulture and minimal intrusion in the winemaking. Enjoy this with anything from grilled mushrooms to porkchops to eggplant parmesan to mushroom risotto.
It's still summer, so beber Sangria!
While there were some premade sangrias sampled and enjoyed in my classes, everyone agreed the homemade classic red wine sangria was the best. Make a pitcher of this to say adios verano - or hola otono.
Cut two green apples and 2 navel oranges into bite-sized pieces and put them in a large bowl or pitcher. Add 2 bottles of Garnacha, 1 cup orange juice, and a splash of brandy (about 2 tablespoons. Gently stir. Refrigerate overnight or for at least 4-6 hours. Taste the sangria.
If it's not sweet enough, add some simple syrup (to make this, add 1/2 cup sugar to 1/2 cup boiling water; stir sugar to dissolve; let cool before using). Serve in tall glass over ice and garnish with a half moon slice of orange. Hint: Sangria goes quickly at a party, so you should probably double the recipe.
Warm days call for cold white wines, too, and I tried and really enjoyed all the triple point ones - the Ferrum Albarino, WeinwWurms Gruner Veltline, and Curran Creek Chardonnay.
Cheers from the wine side!