The Wines of Summer
The warm days of summer are finally here, an ideal time to relax and enjoy a glass of wine—but not just any wine.
A good summer wine usually means something light, crisp and chilled. Something enjoyable on its own or paired with grilled meats and vegetables cooked over your backyard barbecue. And, something that is as easy on the wallet as it is on the palate.
Newport Beach is home to a handful of excellent wine purveyors, from traditional wine boutiques and tasting rooms.
One of those, Orange Coast Winery, makes its own wine from grapes grown primarily in Temecula and Lodi. We’ve tried their wines, and agree that the whites are perfect for summer. Among our favorites: a Sauvignon Blanc for $19, and a Viognier for $22.
You can try their wines in their new tasting room on Coast Highway in Corona del Mar, and in their original tasting room on 16th Street in Newport Beach. Visit the website at www.OrangeCoastWinery.com for details.
Ready to fire up the barbecue? Meats cooked over an open flame go well with a fruit forward Zinfandel from Paso Robles.
“Consumers have become educated on Zinfandel, and they know that it pairs with a variety of foods,” says Lance Silver, co-owner of Tobin James Cellars in Paso Robles, one of our favorite wineries.
“Zinfandel works well with greasy foods like cheeseburgers, as well as Barbecued ribs, steaks, things like that,” says Silver.
Tobin James Zinfandel is available locally at Pavilions on Bayside Drive.
If your palate prefers spicy foods, there’s a perfect wine for that too.
“Highly flavorful foods are demanding on the palate and necessitate flavorful, rich and bold wines,” says Jörn (Joey) Kleinhans, a certified sommelier and owner of The Wine Elite (www.WineElite.org).
Kleinhans recently consulted with Tamarind of London in Newport Coast on its wine program, and says that “the best pairing in the world for spicy food is German Riesling. The marriage between location and grape varietal is perfect.”
For some specific wines that are perfect for summer, we turned to Rick Webster, managing partner at Rolf’s Wine Shop (www.RolfsWine.com) on Tustin Avenue in Newport Beach. He selected some of his favorite wines, all under $20 per bottle (and of course, all available at Rolf’s).
“Since roses have grown in popularity so much in the last few years, I have three favorites,” he told us.
1. 2013 Jean Luc Colombo “Cape Bleue” Rose (Mediterranee) $10.99 / Very clean, subtle nose of light berries and some rose petals. Very dry and with good fruit (Syrah and Mourvedre) with the rose petals again and a suggestion of sea salt.
2. 2013 Patton Valley Pinot Noir Rose (Willamette Valley) $15.99 / Clean, dry and round with hints of nectarine and rose petals
3. 2013 Domain Ott “Les Domaniers” Vin Rose (Cotes de Provence) $18.99 / An excellent rose, very clean, dry and pleasant with notes of cherries, raspberries and rose water. Also not as acidic and some French roses can be.
Four favorite whites:
1. 2013 Acrobat Pinot Gris (Oregon) $10.99, from King Estate Winery / Nice light, versatile white with green apple and tart acidity.
2. 2013 Angeline Sauvignon Blanc (Russian River Valley) $11.99 / Clean, bright and lively. Fairly crisp with hint of lime. Refreshing!
3. 2013 Honig Sauvignon Blanc (Napa Valley) $13.99 / Light and refreshing with balanced acidity and hint of lemon grass. Great feel and finish!
4. 2012 Mer Soleil “Silver” Chardonnay (Santa Lucia Highlands) $19.99 / Our favorite unoaked chardonnay. Hints of peaches and toasty lees in the nose. Surprising richness for no oak. Also a little spice note and a touch of butterscotch.
“For reds, pinot noir is great for the summer, partly because they are a lighter red and partly because they should always be served cooler than room temperature,” said Webster. “Around 60 degrees is perfect.”
1. 2013 Parker Station Pinot Noir (Monterey, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties) $11.99 / Lighter color with cherry/cranberry nose. Bright acidity with cherries and red berries. Great summer red wine.
2. 2011 Diamond Ridge Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast) $13.99 / Nose of darker cherries, light oak and hint of baking spice, and flavors that match the nose. Very round, soft, and easy drinking!