Looking for beverage suggestions for the upcoming holiday weekend? Here are our recommendations to make your celebration more enjoyable –
As this was the “Summer of Riesling”, I’ve included my current go-to Riesling, the “Girl” having supplanted the lovely “Eroica” which has become too dear for everyday imbibing. Herewith, the 2010 Kung Fu Girl Riesling from Charles Smith, wild child rock’n’roller and star winemaker. His current enterprise, Charles Smith Wines : The Modernist Project, produces wine for ” the modern wine drinker” by which he means the wines are readily accessible and as such don’t need to be cellared. This Reisling comes from a single source – The Evergreen Vineyard – in the Columbia Valley AVA. In the nose, lime, acacia, sweet herbs and white peaches; on the palate, fruit juicy, smooth, opening up to a vibrant acidity; a solid mouth-watering finish. And did I mention the dose of minerality? FYI – this is a dry Riesling for those seeking to avoid any sweetness. Available at Whole Foods 340 River St. Camb. MA $12.99.
And since grilling may be the preferred mode of cooking this weekend, I offer this Plonk Pick – the 2010 Labouré-Roi Pinot Noir. From the south of France, this wine, while it might not showcase Pinot Noir typicity, has much ripe fruit – of the red and black sorts – with a dose of earthiness balanced by decent acidity and some tannins. A great value for the price and a good addition to your holiday beverage menu. Available at Whole Foods 340 River St. Camb. MA $6.99 on sale.
Though some may think that Gin and Tonic is perfect as is, the Tonica al Fresco, a cocktail devised by Dale DeGroff, author of “The Craft of the Cocktail” takes this standard on a holiday spin. Cynar, an Italian digestif derived from artichoke leaves (!) and orange bitters are added to a G and T – 3 parts gin – preferably Tanqueray 10 – to 1 part Cynar in an ice-filled highball glass; followed by 2 dashes of orange bitters (I use Fee Bros. West Indian Orange Bitters); then topped with tonic water; finished with a squeeze of a lime wedge. The Cynar and bitters add a depth to the drink that isn’t usually present in a G and T.
Katrin recommends –
My current recommendation is the 2010 Domaine Richou L’R d’Anjou
This is a fantastic wine for that transition time between summer and fall. I’m not at all ready to give up rosés yet, but want something a bit heartier than some of the delicate sippers I’ve enjoyed all summer. The Domaine Richou L’R d’Anjou fits the bill perfectly. Just from the fairly deep magenta tone, you can tell that this blend of 80% Cabernet Franc and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon is not going to be a dainty wine.
Cranberry and raspberry with a strong presence of dried herbs that borders on tobacco leaf, particularly on the palate. Full-bodied, the mouthfeel has great medium plus acidity with just a hint of residual sugar and more tannins than you get in most rosés. Long tight finish that has a lovely stoniness.
At Central Bottle for $17.
In addition, two wines I very much enjoyed this summer –
2009Trivento Amado Sur White
As a big fan of Torrontés, Argentina’s signature white varietal, I have relished the interest that this wine has been receiving of late. It has been great to see the number of wines coming from producers stretching from Salta down to Mendoza expanding on store shelves. There aren’t many blends among them, but the Trivento Amado Sur is an interesting one that combines Torrontés (75%) and Viognier (15%), two very aromatic, floral varietals, with the more malleable Chardonnay (10%).
As I poured the light golden yellow wine into the glass, the aromas lifted out. It was, of course, very floral with rose petal, peach, and orange. On the palate the citrus combined with spiciness. With medium plus acidity and medium body, the floral notes and spiciness are carried through the long finish. As I often do, I tasted the Amado Sur again on the day after I opened it and founded it even more enjoyable. I initially thought that the Chardonnay was just filler to help tone down the characteristics of the Torrontés and Viognier, but what I found on the second day was that those green apple flavors I associate with Chardonnay really emerged and added another dimension to this interesting summer wine.
At Colonial Spirits of Acton for $14.99.
2009 Schloss Vollrads Rheingau Riesling Qualitätswein
Wines of Germany has declared July as the month of “31 days of German Riesling,” and really what could be better in the middle of summer than this lovely and aromatic wine. German Rieslings tend to be low in alcohol, but full of flavor, so you can enjoy an extra glass without having to pay for it in the morning. At 11.5% abv, this Riesling had the highest alcohol level compared to the others in the store.
The Schloss Vollrads comes in an extra fancy fluted bottle secured with a Vino-Seal, which is a glass stopper. This is a beautifully aromatic wine. The nose and palate are filled with peaches, lemon, and lime rind, along with stony minerality and a nice touch of petrol. Just a bit off-dry, but with juicy acidity the Schloss Vollrads is ripe and full. There is a hint of bitterness in the long finish. A perfect wine for a warm summer evening!
At Julio’s Liquors for $15.99.
In Greece, it’s a “green” or a “brown”. In Egypt, a “Stella” is the leading brand (not Stella Artois). And in Germany, I just love ordering beer for a crowd and just adding on the factor: “dreimal bier, bitte.”
What better drink to savor the long weekend and to accompany various outdoor parties than a beer. And instead of bringing the oldies but goodies in the green and brown bottles, why not try a large bottle you can consider sharing (or not), and spark some party conversation.
A Chimay Bleu is a classic and if you can’t find it or don’t want to pay that much for a beer, try another color label Chimay. They are all delicious.
Heading to Canada for the long weekend? The Chambly Noire (Black Hat), made in Chambly, Quebec by Unibroue, it is a dark brown “black ale” with notes of wood, coffee, and fruit. In the mouth, ripe fruit, vanilla, cloves, and chocolate. A solid choice. 6.2% alcohol. $6.95 for a 25.4 oz bottle.
Love Chimay or Duvel but want to branch out? La Divine, made in France, is “delicate” in color and in smell: flowery, fruity, and woody in the nose. The sweet taste of apples, pears, caramel and spice complement the bitter finish. A solid offering but it won’t knock your guests’/hosts’ socks off. 8% alcohol. Retail: $9.95 for a 750 ml bottle.
All three selections are conversation worthy. For a bit more information: http://winedinewith.us/2011/07/14/bastille-day-at-the-bastide/