About this Blog

The blog focuses on the essence of wine and food, not how many points or stars it receives. The opinions are mine and should be taken only as that, an opinion not gospel.

Like many collectors, initially I was very much influenced by wine ratings. I purchased wines based on points, even if I had never tasted the wine. And it was much worse than that. I would drink a wine with a high rating, not like it, yet since it was highly rated I’d rationalize that I did not yet appreciate the wine, or that my palate was not sophisticated enough to understand the wine. How’s that for lunacy? As a result my cellar grew in all directions while my palate narrowed. By the time I realized the style of wine that I enjoyed, my cellar abounded with wines whose styles I did not enjoy. All of these wines were very highly rated, just not my cup of tea, or glass of wine to be more accurate. Fortunately I was able to sell many of these wines to those who either enjoyed them or wanted highly rated wines. Don’t misunderstand, I am not against wines with high ratings, in fact I own many. It is just that I now purchase wines based on the producer, the style and my palate, not the rating. Nor do I shun reading reviews. I very much respect Antonio Galloni, Alan Meadows, Eric Asimov and John Gilman and read their reviews routinely. I pay attention to what they write, not the points they award.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Wines of Summer

Summertime, and the livin’ is easy wrote George Gershwin in his classic song about summer.  What better way to enjoy “easy livin” than with easy drinking wines, especially if you are lounging by the pool, on your patio or at a vacation spot.

One of the best things about these easy drinkers is that they are relatively inexpensive.  And there is certainly no shortage of these wines from topnotch producers.  Here are a few that I think would be worthy of your consideration.

The Italian sparkling wine Prosecco has become a very popular wine the past few years, and rightfully so.  Much less expensive than Champagne, Prosecco dances on the palate and goes down very easily.  Valdobbiadene is a town in the province of Treviso, Veneto, Italy. It is a picturesque wine growing area just below the Alpine areas of Veneto.  The climate of the area is ideal for cool varieties of grape such as Prosecco.  The wines are also usually widely available.  Here are three you might want to look for. 

Canella Prosecco $15
Nino Franco Prosecco Valdobbiadene Rustico $30 
Zardetto Prosecco Valdobbiadene $15.  

None of these wines possess the complexity of more expensive Champagnes, but they all are very pleasant and easy to drink and will bring a smile to your face.

NV Fontezoppa Voile Blanche Brut Verdicchio is an absolutely delicious sparkling Verdicchio wine from Marche, Italy.  It is crisp and elegant and the perfect wine for sipping by the pool.  About $14 at 56º Wine, Bearnardsville, NJ.

Francois Pinon is considered to be one of the finest producers in Vouvray (Loire Valley, France).  I adore his wines and as I write this post I am enjoying a glass of NV Francois Pinon Vouvray Brut. This is a superb sparkling Chenin Blanc.  Crisp, fresh and focused on the palate, it has great acidity that should allow the wine to age for at least another 10 years…that is if you can keep your hands off of it.  $20 a bottle (talk about a steal) at Chambers Street Wines, NYC.

In addition to these sparklers, Rosé wines are perfect accompaniments to the heat and humidity of summer.  I have written about the amazing 2011 Clos Sainte Magdeleine Cassis Rosé in a recent post, Nick's Amazing Pizza Oven as well as a number of other Rosés in a post from last year titled Rosé. Chambers Street Wines and 56º Wine usually carry the wine.  $30.

A couple of weeks ago I was speaking with Mahesh Lekkala at his wine shop, Wine Legend in Livingston, NJ. about Rosé wines.  He asked if I had ever tasted Domaine Tempier Rosé.  While I have heard of this producer before, I had not tasted his wines.  Mahesh opened a bottle of 2011 Domaine Tempier Bandol Rosé for me to taste, and Mahesh's famous words "Oh my God" sprung from my lips.  My description is simple, this was crisp, fresh and delicious.  Salmon in color, it is beautifully balanced and with enough acidity to last for some time.  I quickly purchased a case at about $35 a bottle.  

Additionally, consult your wine guy (or gal) where you purchase your wine from for summer wines.  I am sure they will be able to provide you with some additional reasonably priced gems.

Enjoy the summer!


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