Summer

 

 

A family fun 4th of July!

A family fun 4th of July!

I truly love summer, especially a Seattle summer. Hot sun, long nights, BBQ’s with friends and a slower pace life. However, with this love comes some headaches.. known as school summer vacation. My kids are home, all day long. I have put out more arguments then I can count. I am continually finding new activities to entertain the little darlings. Begging my friends for play dates. Constantly looking at the clock wondering if it’s an acceptable time to crack open a bottle of wine (if that already hasn’t happened during a play date)

I am really not complaining though. Summer is my favorite time of the year. I just find it exhausting entertaining (or finding things to entertain) my children all day long. But the perks do outweigh the negatives.. by far. And wine tastes so much better, sitting out on my deck in the sun, watching dad play with the kids so I can unwind.

Summer wines can vary for me. I do tend to drink more whites and rosé’s. However, with the long summer nights, we tend to open some amazing reds we have been saving for special occasions. But for the sake of this blog, I am going to give you my top 5 summer wine varietals. This is a fun list to explore. Head into your local wine merchant and ask about this list. They should be able to point out some stellar wines for you (or check out http://www.vinwineseattle.com if you want someone to come and pour a tasting of these varietals for you).

5. Vinho Verde – an inexpensive, Portuguese, high acid, light bodied slightly effervescent white wine. There are many reasons why I love a Vinho Verde. First of all, it’s a low alcohol wine, which is nice for those evenings where you want a glass of something, but don’t want to feel all wobbly. Also because of the low alcohol, it pairs very nicely with loads of summer friendly foods. I personally love a Vinho Verde with Mexican foods, seafood, Asian foods, and anything spicy. The slight bubbles help tone the spiciness down. Check out the Espiral from Trader Joes, only $4.99 and surprisingly delightful!

4. Sauvignon Blanc– this is a staple summer wine. Again, pairs deliciously with summer foods. A Sauv Blanc can be light – medium bodied, acidic and depending on the country of origin, it may be grassy, citrusy, or even slightly oaky. I prefer either a more citrus or slight oak Sauv Blanc, especially to pair with food. I have many go to Sauv Blancs between France, WA and CA, but my all time favorite is Salvestrin Winery Sauvignon Blanc ($24.00) out of CA. The problem with this wine is that you cannot find it in WA. But if you take a Napa Valley trip, make sure you stop by! Check out their website though. http://www.salvestrinwinery.com

3. Chardonnay – a medium to full bodied white wine, produced in many parts of the world. I know this wine can often get a bad rep. But this summer I have fallen (hard) for this delicious, rich, white wine. Give me a smooth Chard and I am one happy gal. I do prefer the crisp, mineral, slightly oaky Chardonnays (Chablis) from the Burgundy region of France. I find them slightly complex and enough minerality to keep my attention. However, I have discovered many WA Chardonnays (and a few Chilean)  that also keep me interested. My two favorites WA chards at the moment are Revelry Vintners (around $15.99) and Baer Winery’s “Shard” ($24.00).  Both are stainless steel, crisp and heavenly.

2. Petite Verdot- This varietal has long been a blending varietal into Bordeaux wines from France. But in recent years, it’s been standing beautifully on it’s own. It has stout tannins and can have a violet, dark fruit and vanilla flavor on the palate. It is a particular grape, so it can be a hit or miss. With food, you need weight, protein and fat.. so basically cheeses and heartier meat dishes. The Petite Verdot I am in love with this summer is the Blue Print Petite Verdot from El Corazon ($34.99)

1. Rosé – really, a no brainer this summer. This light to medium bodied wine is perfect for a long summer evening. Almost every region makes a rosé (Rosado in Spain, Rosato in Italy). A rosé goes perfectly with summer meals as well. Charcuterie, grilled fish, pork, salads, shrimp, egg dishes, pretty much anything you would eat in summer. I am a big fan of Provençal rosé’s and Spanish Rosado’s. The AIX rosé from Provence ($14.99) is a standard in our home. I also have fallen in love with Espelt Rosado ($12.99) and the 2013 Red Car rosé from CA ($19.99 and Pinot Noir grapes, delicious).

There you have it! A must try wine list to survive the summer heat (or your children). Enjoy exploring this list… and let me know what you try!

Cheers!

A successful summer play date!

A successful summer play date!

Check out your local wine merchants rosé selection!

Check out your local wine merchants rosé selection!

 

Will summer ever come?

On a rainy, dreary, March Seattle day, all I can think about is spring and summer. I live for Seattle summers. I can’t think of a more beautiful place then Seattle in August (ok, honestly there are some pretty amazing places other than Seattle). But to get to summer, we must have spring. Spring is always hit or miss around here. Often it is drizzly and overcast, with a few sun breaks intermittently. On some occasions, we can hit a beautiful and sunny spring day. It is amazing what a little sun and the thought of summer around the corner, will do for Seattleites. When the sun is out, we tend to have bounce in our step, a slight smile on our face and tolerance for other’s. We may even strike up a conversation at the bus stop – well maybe not, that is just wishful thinking. But when it is spring time and the cherry blossoms are in bloom, the sun is out and my husbands sinus’ are swelling up around his face (due to spring allergies) all I can do is think about is sitting outside with a nice glass of crisp white wine, chatting it up with my friends and watching our kiddo’s run through the sprinklers. My imagination runs ramped about how fabulous the summer is going to be.

As I sit here, listening to the rain pelt my house, heater on to 70 degree’s and about 5 layers of clothes on me…. I can’t help but smile at the thought of spring and summer around the corner. Which leads me thinking about some of the best summer wines. First, I want to add something though. It is a total myth that you can only drink white wines in summer and reds in the cooler months. You can enjoy any wine during any time of the year. However, a lot of the summer/BBQ foods pair well with white wines (some red’s too) – which is how that myth developed.

Here is my list of wines to look for (I am just doing varietals not producers). These wines tend to unite very well with salads, cold pasta’s, seafood and BBQ fare.  There will be some red added into this list – for a more diverse selection.

BBQ foods (BBQ meats with smoky and/or sweet sauce)

Beer (not wine, but beers pair very well with BBQ)

Beaujolais

Shiraz – Australian

Rose/Rosado – dry

Rose Champagne

California Zinfandel

German Riesling

Salads

Beaujolais

dry Riesling

Rose

Sauvignon Blanc

Vinho Verde

Chardonnay (pair best with Ceaser Salads)

Pinot Grigio

Champagne

Seafood

Riesling especially dry

Sauvignon Blanc

Champagne

Chardonnay (boiled or grilled)

Viognier (try with shellfish… yum!)

Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris

Fresh Fruit and Desserts

Champagne – rose’ and or sweet

Moscato d’ Asti

Gewurztraminer – dry

Riesling – off dry or sweet

Sparking wine

Late Harvest (with a fruit dessert)

Port (with berry, fruit or richer dessert)

Vin Santo (with almond, Hazelnut desserts)

Cabernet Sauvignon (with bittersweet chocolate)

This is a quick and easy list for summer food pairings. If you want a more in-depth resource, check out What to Drink with What you Eat by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page.

Tonight’s Tasting:

Buty Winery , Semillon, Sauvignon and Muscadelle  – Walla Walla, WA ($25.00 West Seattle Cellars)

Buty Semillon, Sauvignon and Muscadelle 2009Talk about getting ready for summer. If you want something to put you in the mood for hot summer nights, this wine will take you there. With a floral scent – it hits you with a bright, clean, crisp taste. We paired this wine with Mahi Mahi burgers and it matched nicely. This wine can easily be found in most wine shops. Buty is a wine you can either drink now, to prepare you for summer. Or to wow your friends during a big July Seafood bash.

Well, the rain has stopped and I see a sliver of sun. Which is my sliver of hope that spring is around the corner. And with that, so is summer.

Cheers my friends! And remember friends don’t let friends put ice cubes in their wine.