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!

 

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Wines with a V

I am typically a red wine drinker. Since this past summer though, I have been drinking a lot more whites. Even in this cold, drizzly Seattle weather, sometimes a crisp white wine just sounds tasty. Lately, I have been gravitating towards wines that start with V… Strange huh? Does a wine that begins with V ring a bell for you?

The white wines most wine novices typically gravitate towards are Chardonnay’s, Sauvignon Blanc’s and Pinot Gris/Grigio’s. But not me. Because of you, my friends, I am a risk taker who is down with the V’s. Which means you should check them out next time you are at your local wine merchant. These wines will say to your guests, host or friends that you are adventurous, daring and wine knowledgeable…. (Trust me; they will be impressed with your picks)

These are my 4 varietal, go -to favorites lately

 

Verdejo (Verdelho) – Ola! This is bright and fairly medium bodied Spanish (and Portuguese) white wine (although, I have an Australian Verdejo last night from Mollydooker and it was a lot of fun). Being this is typically a Spanish wine, it pairs well with most fish/seafood dishes, pastas (esp. with pesto) and vegetarian dishes. This is also a wine that will go nicely with an Indian dinner or something with a lot of spice. It has a well balanced flavor with many foods!

Vermentino – I have been on a Vermentino kick lately. This is another medium bodied wine that often has hints of mineral and citrus (lemon and pear in my opinion). Vermentino is typically from Sardinia and Liguria, but can often be found grown along the Mediterranean coast. Simple fish dishes are what I would pair this with. I love the flavor of Vermentino, so I wouldn’t have it with a dish that would take away from its simple, yet elegant flavor. A nice tossed salad would also pair nicely with this wine

Vinho Verde– This fun Portuguese, semi-sparkling white wine is inexpensive and goes well with spicy foods. This wine, in general, does not have a whole lot of flavor, but I feel it blends nicely with spicy foods (I had one with empanadas and it tasted brilliantly together). It would also be a fantastic wine to drink with fish tacos, seafood stews and crab cakes. You usually can find this wine under $10. What a steal!

Viognier- This is a French (WA, CA, OR, and Australia as well) dry, florally, full bodied white wine. Now, my issue with Viognier is that the floral nose and taste can be overpowering (I prefer subtle wines). However, if you find the right balanced Viognier, it is heaven in your mouth. You do have to play around with them to find your perfect Viognier though. Once you find that perfect wine, it will go nicely with Asian dishes, Chicken, dishes with cream sauces, lobster and pork. Viognier is one of those wines that will blend nicely with a variety of cheeses…

Alright, just one more V wine…

Valpolicella – This is not a white wine, but I wanted to add in as a favorite red wine of mine. Valpolicella is an Italian, light-bodied dry red wine from the Veneto region. Like with Viognier, I have had some bad Valpolicella that tasted thin and had the flavor of dried cherries and stale licorice. I am REALLY picky about my Valpolicella. Finding the right one can take work, but again high risk means high rewards. Once you find the right Valpolicella (look for Valpolicella Classico Superiore) it will be smooth, well rounded. This wine is great to start your dinner party off with. Pairs well with Italia dishes (pizza, pasta, etc), Risotto, grilled/roasted chicken and sausage.

Go ahead and show off your adventurous wine side to your friends. Bringing one of these V wines to your next party will impress your other wine novice friends. And it’s just nice to break out of the norm.

Put down that Chardonnay and pick up a Vermentino!

Cheers and Happy February friends….