Weekly Wine Review
What are you drinking on these hot summer days? There is nothing like a cold beer and some barbequed ribs, but this summer I challenge you to do something different. When you are at Deer Valley or The Canyons, watching your favorite band, hanging out with that girl or guy that you have been trying to make a move on all winter long, surprise them with a fresh bellini made with white peach nectar. When you and your spouse are out on the Harley, take a break with a bright and fruity Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. And there is nothing on a hot day like popping some bubbly and a having a great piece of cheese. Here are a bunch of great solutions to beat the summer heat.
Ahhh the bellini. This great drink is the product of the Mediterranean sun beating down on Venice and the Italian people’s almost religious dedication to the afternoon drink. I urge you not to judge this classic cocktail by the processed peach juice and bland California sparkling wines that most bars in the U.S. use to make bellinis. Get some white peaches (as ripe as possible), some sugar, and a lemon. Peel the peaches and but them in the blender. Add sugar if the peaches aren’t sweet enough, add lemon juice if they aren’t tart enough. Remember, a little bit of peach juice goes a long way. Mix the peach juice with Prosecco at about a 1 to 4 ratio. The Jeio, Zardetto, and Canella Brut Prosecco are all good bets under $16.
One of my favorite summer wines is the Verecruz Verdejo. This Spanish fruit bomb explodes with passion fruit, peach, honeydew, and a crisp acidic freshness that will refresh you on the hottest of days. Coming in at just under $13 per bottle, this wine is a regular fixture at the Rovine household. Next is the Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. Over the last decade, New Zealand has really taken Sauvignon Blanc to a new level and the Cloudy Bay exudes all of the tropical fruit and melon I have come to expect from New Zealand’s great Sauvignon Blancs. My favorite summertime wine however, is the bright, crisp, and fruity wine of Macon-Village. Granny Smith apple, honey, and grapefruit lace these refreshing chardonnays from Burgundy. Chardonnay in Burgundy differs in style from California chardonnay in that while the California chards tend to be oaky and buttery, chard from Burgundy tends to be crisp, acidic, and fresh tasting. Both the Louis Jadot and the Verget Macon-Village are good bets at a reasonable price point.
There is, of course, no better way to beat the heat than a golden, jumpy, and crisp glass of Champagne. I can not actually think of a better thing to do than sip on a glass of Taittinger Brut Rose and carve into a creamy block of Chaorse, my favorite cheese from Champagne. If you do not feel like spending $78 per bottle on the Taittinger Brut Rose, I recommend the Roederer Estate Brut sparkling wine from California. This wine is produced in both white and rose and run about $22 per bottle. This is truly one of the best brut-styled sparkling wines produced outside of Champagne. I am not asking you to give up beer, but I am asking that you give wine a try this summer. May it be sparkling, still, or fruit filled, I wish you good drinking and cheesing.
Zev Rovine is the sommelier and resident cheese monger at the Spotted Frog Bookstore Cafe and Wine Bar where he teaches weekly wine classes. His wine education comes from the American Sommelier Association in NYC and he tries his very best not to spill the Pinot on the bestseller section. If you have any wine queeries or comments he is easily contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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