Summer Wine | Keep Cool with these Summer Sips!

Summer Wine | Keep Cool with these Summer Sips!

Summer Wine

Taken in the gardens at Beringer Vineyards this Summer in Napa

Summer is officially well underway! And here in Washington D.C. that means staggeringly high temperatures coupled with collar soaking humidity. It’s a combination that calls for the type of relief that only a cold bottle of wine (or pink) wine can deliver – so I’ve put together a list of the Summer wines I’ll be reaching for myself over the next few months.

Feel free to take inspiration from this list or have your own fun and come up with your own Summer wine menu. Regardless of what you choose, I hope that you’ll share you’re Summer wine selections with me via Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram, too. Keep cool and enjoy your Summer wine safely!

Summer Wine

Summer Wine | Bodegas Valdemar Conde de Valdemar Finca Alto Cantabria 2013: Boy that was a mouthful, but you can rest assured that what’s in the bottle is simply excellent white Rioja. This elegant and versatile white wine is produced from 100% Viura and will impress with its near weightless, mineral-inflected personality. You can read my full review here.

Summer Wine

Summer Wine | Contadino Pinot Grigio 2013: Tired of the boring, watered down Pinot Grigio’s you regularly find under $10 in the grocery store? For all of you Pinot Grigio fans out there, this is the $6 find you’ve been waiting for…and it’s available in the Trader Joe’s Wine Section! You can check out my full review here.

Summer wine

Summer Wine | Paul Mas Cote Mas Mediterranee Blanc 2014: You might be wondering if this blend of 35% Grenache Blanc, 25% Vermentino, 25% Chardonnay and 15% Sauvignon Blanc will transport you to the sunny quaint French countryside overlooking the Mediterranean – just as the label tactfully and pleasantly suggests. Well I’m convinced that after one sip you’ll agree that this label couldn’t be more appropriate as this wines bright and clean personality reveals itself. It’s pure refreshment in the mouth with lemon citrus oil, hay and subtle spice. Like sunshine in a bottle, you’ll appreciate the 1 Liter bottle size while the Cote Mas Blanc transports you to the French Riviera. It’s an excellent value that can be found ~$10 according to wine-searcher.

Summer wine

Summer Wine | Davis Estates Rutherford Sauvignon Blanc 2013: Let’s face it – no Summer is complete without copious quantities of Sauvignon Blanc, and this refined and complex example from Napa newcomer Davis Estates is sure to please. Its combination of rich texture, generous tropical fruit and abundant spice makes it hard to put down. Click here for my full review.

Summer wine

Summer Wine | Mayr Gruner Veltliner 2012: This Austrian offering comes in a more is better 1 Liter bottle with an easy-access screw top. I recently paired this with Maryland Crabs and it was a great complement – incredibly refreshing with all the lemon citrus acidity and subtle stony mineral you could ask for. Simple, under $10, crisp and immensely refreshing.

Summer Wine

Summer Wine | Nonino Prosecco Bianco Grappa: While technically a spirit, the Nonino Prosecco Grappa is produced from the pomace of Prosecco (Glera) grapes so it does in fact share DNA with wine. Interesting, right? Well I was also intrigued when I first discovered how expressive and interesting the entire line of Nonino Grappas were. The Nonino family was the first to introduce single-varietal Grappa and truly focus on artisanal quality – at a time when Grappa was considered a drink strictly for peasants. Historically, wine was consumed by the noble ruling classes while the leftover seeds, skins and stems (the pomace) were used to make low-quality Grappa for consumption by the common man. Fortunately, times have changed as Nonino’s emphasis on quality combined with the utilization of the freshest ingredients during the distillation process yields Grappa of the utmost quality. For example, this Prosecco Grappa exudes a fragrant, floral nose and is surprisingly smooth, balanced and delicate despite sporting a near 80 proof alcohol rating. To learn more about Nonino Grappa, click here.

Summer WineSummer Wine | Reserve des Cleons Muscadet Sevre et Maine: Planning on enjoying any seafood this Summer? How about Oysters? If so, then your go to Summer wine is the Reserve des Cleons Muscadet – available in the Trader Joe’s Wine Section at under $8. It’s offers an enormity of palate cleansing and briny minerality for the price. Check out my full review here.

Summer wine

Summer Wine | Stinson Vineyards Chardonnay 2013: As much as I enjoy eating local foods, I love to sip the local pours – and for us East Coasters it doesn’t get much better than a great Virginia Chardonnay. But what makes the Stinson Vineyards Chardonnay so special is that you needn’t be a local to appreciate its refreshingly bright personality that manages a smooth, creamy texture. Notes of apples and pears are accented by balanced oak-influences of butter-cream and spice. You can read my previous write-up of Stinson Vineyards here.

Summer wine

Summer Wine | Murrieta’s Well The Whip 2013: It’s time for wildly popular Caymus Conundrum to move over, because there’s a new California white blend in town and this one isn’t afraid to reveal its unique varietal composition! This intriguing blend produced by Karl Wente consists of 28% Semillon, 24% Chardonnay, 14% Sauvignon Blanc, 11% Orange Muscat, 11% Viognier, 11% Gewurztraminer and 1% White Riesling resulting in an intensely aromatic, floral and just slightly off-dry wine. In the mouth it’s rich, round, well-balanced and still quite bright with notes of lychee, melon and butterscotch. While I typically prefer my whites bone-dry, I wanted to include The Whip because I feel it will be immensely popular with fans of wines like the Wagner family’s Conundrum. A quick wine-searcher query shows that The Whip can be found for ~$16 or can be purchased directly from Murrieta’s Well.

Summer wine

Summer Wine | Vaughn Duffy Rose of Pinot Noir 2014: This Rose of Pinot Noir hails from Sonoma’s Russian River Valley. The rear label claims that ‘It takes a forklift to raise a wine.” Fortunately for us on the consumer end of the spectrum, it merely requires a corkscrew to release this wines perfumed, delicate aromas of rose petal, strawberry and juicy watermelon. It boasts a relatively complex core of bright red fruit and spice character. As one of the better Rose’s I’ve tasted recently it’s a solid value at ~$18. You can learn more about the wines from this first-generation winemaking family here.

Summer Wine

Summer Wine | Wente Morning Fog Chardonnay 2013: From the First Family of Chardonnay, this estate grown offering delivers quite a bit of finesse and personality at a price that doesn’t necessitate a special occasion to pop the cork. It’s an excellent value at well-under $15. Click here for full review.

**Some of the aforementioned wines were provided as samples for purposes of review. No consideration was received for their inclusion in this article.


Davis Estates Winery | A Changing Landscape in Calistoga

Davis Estates Winery | A Changing Landscape in Calistoga

Davis Estates

This renovated historic barn at Davis Estates is a California Historic Landmark

As the epicenter of America’s evolving and increasingly interesting wine scene, Napa Valley is the hottest place to be – and having its namesake on your label lends quite a bit of cachet and prestige in the marketplace.

Being so sought after has translated to the highest prices nationwide per buildable acre, with prices ranging from $150,000 all the way up to $2 million. While it’s still primarily an agricultural-centric region, long gone are the days of diversified crops in this fertile valley – today the cash crop is the wine grape – and it thrives here.

Continue reading

Best Wine for Sangria | The Perfect Ingredient

Best Wine for Sangria | The Perfect Ingredient | Plus My Simple Sangria Recipe!

Best wine for Sangria

Stock photo credit: iStockphoto/Thinkstock

The Best Wine for Sangria is of Spanish Origin – Just like Sangria!

Much like the origin of this quaffable summertime favorite, the best wine for Sangria also hails from Spain – and should be an inexpensive, dry wine of good quality.

Because most Sangria Recipe’s call for the addition of fruit and sugar, the perfect wine for Sangria should not be sweet or overly fruity itself – resulting in a harmonious and well balanced Sangria. Once you’ve finished with my Low Calorie Simple Sangria Recipe below you should find yourself with the perfectly uncomplicated Sangria: a refreshing wine cocktail that’s fruity and semi-sweet with just a hint of citrus tang.

Continue reading

Reserve des Cleons Muscadet | Summer Seafood Partner

Reserve des Cleons Muscadet Wine Review | Perfect Partner for Summer Seafood

Muscadet Wine

Muscadet might be tough to pronounce (try Moose-cah-Dey), but if you’re familiar with this popular Loire Valley white then you already know just how easy it is to drink, especially paired with seafood during summertime.

Many of the best Muscadet’s hail from the Sevre et Maine appellation and are aged sur lie, which means on the dead yeast cells. This process adds complexity and lends a certain creaminess to the resulting wine.

Continue reading

Bodegas Valdemar | A Legacy of Innovation in La Rioja

Bodegas Valdemar | A Legacy of Innovation in La Rioja

Bodegas Valdemar

My incredibly loyal readers know just how fond I am of Spanish wines. They often seriously over-deliver for the price and have an endearing ability to combine the best aspects of old-world wines (balanced, food-friendly and terroir-driven) with those of new world wines (more fruit-forward).

As a Sommelier friend was recently explaining to me, if he is looking to introduce a new world wine drinker to the old-world wine scene, he always starts in Spain. And if he were introducing them to the wines of Bodegas Valdemar, he would have both modern and old-world options to choose from within the same portfolio!

Continue reading

Smith Madrone Vineyards | A Spring Mountain Must…

Smith Madrone Vineyards | A Spring Mountain Must

Smith Madrone

The views of Napa Valley below from Smith Madrone Vineyards

Something From Nothing | The Beginnings of Smith Madrone Vineyards

Tucked away at the very end of Spring Mountain Road lies Smith Madrone Vineyards. Situated at the highest point in the Spring Mountain District, its steeply sloped mountain vineyards reach grades of up to 34% at elevations between 1300 and 2000 feet.

Notable and familiar neighbors include Bothe Napa Valley State Park directly to the North, Barnett Vineyards immediately to the West and Keenan Winery lies due South.

The history of the property dates all the way back to the 1880 when a man by the name of George Cook secured a land grant authorized by then President Chester A. Arthur and planted vineyards and olive trees on the estate.

But when Stu Smith discovered this special parcel of land, with its expansive views of Napa Valley and rocky, well-drained volcanic soils, the existing vineyards were in disrepair and the property was still mostly just a forest!

Continue reading

Alamos Malbec Reviewed | Still A Robust Bargain?

Alamos Malbec 2014 Reviewed | Still A Robust Bargain?

Alamos Malbec

First things first… I realize that I’m not bringing you anything groundbreaking or immensely exciting here with an Alamos Malbec review. Its long been a perennial favorite now and is practically the poster child for the Malbec craze. It’s tough not to like its plush, intensely fruited profile and soft, approachable style.

But I hadn’t actually tasted this wine in years and am curious if it’s still a halfway decent bottle for the price. And did I mention how popular it is?

Continue reading

Wente Morning Fog Chardonnay | Ring in Chardonnay Day!

Wente Morning Fog Chardonnay | Ringing in National Chardonnay Day!

Wente Morning Fog Chardonnay

Kicking off National Chardonnay Day with Wente’s Morning Fog Chardonnay

Today is May 21, 2015 which just so happens to be National Chardonnay Day and I’m celebrating with the Wente Morning Fog Chardonnay. While you might not be able to get out of work for this particular holiday, National Chardonnay Day is a great reason to kick back and enjoy a glass of Chardonnay – should you need an excuse!

Chardonnay is still by far the most popular white varietal by consumption in the Unites States, with over 65 million cases consumed each year. While I often recommend alternative varietals over always going for the obvious Chardonnay choice, I have always been a big fan of well-made, balanced Chardonnay. Plus there’s an interesting story to be told here…

Why Wente? | California’s First Family of Chardonnay

Continue reading

Casado Morales Rioja Gran Reserva | Finding Value in Spain

Casado Morales Rioja Gran Reserva 2004 | Finding Value in Spain

Casado Morales

I initially tried the Casado Morales Rioja Gran Reserva 2004 after picking it up during a Wines Til Sold Out flash sale offering and was shocked at the quality considering I paid less than $23. I even brought this to a blind tasting where it competed with a few other Rioja’s from respected producers and it’s victory was unanimous – and quite tasty!

Some time had passed since I had seen this again but WTSO recently offered it and I’ve also seen that it’s available at Total Wine so I thought I’d share this character-laden, well-aged Spanish bargain from Casado Morales with you guys…

Continue reading

Amizetta Winery | Come for the View | Stay for the Wine!

Amizetta Winery | Come for the View | Stay for the Wine!

Amizetta Winery

The views from Amizetta Winery

The year was 1979 when Amizetta and Spencer Clark discovered the very special parcel of land that was to become Amizetta Vineyards and later house Amizetta’s Estate Winery. With a dream of producing world-class wines in Napa Valley, they searched extensively for the perfect location with hillside exposures like those they had seen during their travels throughout Europe.

Upon arriving on my recent, unexpected and serendipitous visit to the Amizetta Winery it took no time at all to understand why the Clark’s fell in love. With commanding, panoramic views of Lake Hennessy below nestled into the green mountain landscape coupled with promising hillsides soils composed of rocky ‘sobrante loam’, Amizetta Winery came to fruition in 1985.

Continue reading

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...