Wine Matters

by Elizabeth Cooper in Wine & Beer

With Father’s Day right around the corner, this seems like the perfect opportunity to showcase wines made for grilling. What makes a wine pair better than another for grilled foods? According to a Weber grill watch survey, the top Grill items in America are steak, chicken, hamburgers, salmon and ribs. Pair these with the sensory aromatics of a charcoal grill and what you really need are wines with ripe fruit, firm tannins to pair with the protein and bright acidity to work with the grill seasonings.

My thoughts for June weather generally lean towards white wines, however with the hearty fare we tend to throw on the grill, red really does the job well. Our Friday’s Uncorked this week will showcase our picks for the backyard barbecue.

For the white wine lovers who enjoy a refreshing quaffer with their cook out, we have three great options: 

Ouro Vinho Verde – The Minho region of northern Portugal, where wineries make the country’s famous vinho verde (green wine) that are low in alcohol and meant to be drunk young. Caves da Cerca is one of the principal crafters of these delightful wines. Almost clear in color, the wine has lemon zest and herbs on the nose. Clean, light citrus flavors introduce themselves on the palate, along with a slight spritz to tickle the tongue. A refreshing tartness takes over on the close. It’s a splendid choice (and value) for hot days. Fish, chicken, raw vegetables, appetizers and creamy cheeses. This is a wine you can afford (and will want) to drink daily.

Retail at $8.99, on sale through June at $6.99

Bellevue Sauvignon Blanc -100% Sauvignon Blanc. Intense and complex with predominant aromas of mandarin orange, passion fruit, and ripe pineapple. It’s golden yellow color is wonderfully rich, intense and appealing, while also being sheer, lean, and savory – great varietal character, and definitive Loire Valley terroir. It has a great finish, the perfect accompaniment to your grilled seafood. The Bellevue has the elegance and finesse of Sancerre with a price that is much more attractive to your wallet.

Retailing at $14.99 on sale through June at  $12.99

Mader Riesling - This Riesling contains almost 20% of de-classified Rosacker Grand cru fruit which produces a fine dry Riesling with texture and depth. Intense floral citrus and lime aromas with mineral backing and wonderful acid backbone. Perfect with seafood, summer salads, barbecue chicken, or just to provide relief from a hot day! The wines of Alsace present such a unique dichotomy from what most would associate with classic Riesling – while still presenting with citrus and some stone fruit, the texture and dryness presents a whole new picture.

Retailing at $21.99, on sale through June at $18.99.

For those for whom only red wine will do:

Samantha Star Pinot Noir - Made by Talbot’s winemaker, Sam Balderas, This delicious Pinot Noir is a deep ruby in color with very good clarity and brightness. The nose is of strawberries, raspberries, and cedar with a hint of smoke. It is fruit forward with black cherries and plums on the palate. Very well balanced, the wine shows a pleasing richness and concentration followed by a fruit driven finish with crisp acidity. This is a wonderful food friendly wine that will pair well with a variety of grilled dishes.

Retails at 16.99, on sale $13.50

Fortediga Sodimagri – “Sodamagri” 2005, Maremma 100% syrah from a brand-new winery in western Tuscany whose vineyards are planted in the shadow of a massive, ruined stone dam (the “forte diga”) from the 15th century. It’s a partnership among a group of friends, and it helps that the friends include winemaker Alberto Antonini (from Allegrini in the Veneto and Poggio al Tesoro just up the road in Bolgheri), and Carlo Lavuri, whose cosmopolitan palate has been honed in his fine wine shop outside Florence. This is a plush teddy bear of a wine, squeezeably soft and inviting, with luscious, layered blackberry and blueberry fruit, a full, filled-in palate and plenty of acidity to give it lift. A 90 pointer from Robert Parker.

Release price of this wine was $60, as a Southern Season exclusive we are selling it for $27; but it will be on sale through June at $19.99.

Vellum Cabernet Sauvignon -  The 2008 VELLUM Cabernet has Bordeaux styling with a blend of 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Petit Verdot and 8% Merlot. According to owner Jeff Mathy and winemaker Karl Lehmann, “it opens up with heady aromas of raw cocoa, warm forest floor and brambly dark fruit. This impact on the nose lingers to a seamless transition in the mouth melding with intense flavors of strong cassis, espresso grounds, graphite and a finish of winter spices. The palate is broad at every point and falls front to back with a signature supple airiness completing in a very long warm finish.” Unfiltered and unfined from hand harvested, organically grown grapes, this wine is the perfect accompaniment for steak, lamb, beef and poultry.

Retailing from the winery at $79.00 we are retailing at $36.99 at the store and it will remain on sale through June at $28.99.