It is Summer
By: George Balling
It has been down right toasty here in North Idaho, and wine purchasing patterns are consistent with the warm sunny weather. We are all heading outside, cooking our meals on the grill and enjoying the lake. Like we always do we have many new wines to choose from and right now they are the lighter and brighter versions that go well with all from lounging on the deck to dining alfresco. Here are some of our favorites.
I’ll start with our new favorite “take home” wine. The 2021 Sospiro Grillo ($20, Wine Club Price $18) comes from Sicily and is an ideal summer white wine. Grillo is the grape varietal and like most whites from Europe is unoaked allowing all the mineral notes to come through on the nose and the vibrant citrus flavors to fully express themselves on the palate, that offers generous texture. The wine will be great with the simplest of charcuterie plates.
We have not had an Arneis on the shelf for some time. We just recent tried the 2022 Marco Porello Arneis ($25, Wine Club Price $22.50) and added it to the shelf right away. Arneis is the grape varietal and is DOCG designated from the Roero region of Northern Italy. Like the Grillo the wine is fermented dry. It offers great texture and palate weight with abundant lime flavors on the palate and a lovely nose of wet stone minerality with just a hint of ripe peaches. Grill up some peaches or watermelon and serve on top of arugula with some goat cheese for a perfect pairing.
We have known the wines from Domaine Vetriccie located on the island of Corsica, for several vintages now. The wines are amazing values and the Domaine Vetriccie white ($15, Wine Club Price $13.50) is a crisp and zippy summer superstar of a wine. The wine as you would expect is unoaked and bone dry with aromas of broiled lemons and a lemon noted palate that finishes with a burst of acid making it clean and refreshing. Citrus marinated grilled shrimp salad and this bottle will make for a perfect lunch.
Garzon Winery from Uruguay is another of our long-time favorites and their 2021 Albarino ($23, Wine Club Price $20.70) is precisely why we love this producer. The wine offers light floral aromas backed by notes of ripe apple. The apple flavors carry through to the palate with great palate weight and balanced acids. Next time you grill up some king salmon this is your wine.
We discovered the perfect barbecue red wine this year! The 2019 Keep it Chill Gamay ($15, Wine Club Price $13.50) should be served with a slight chill on it and it will really shine with your favorite rib recipe. If you are new to the grape, Gamay is a lighter version of Pinot Noir. This one is unoaked allowing vibrant cherry fruit to shine through with crisp acid on the finish which is why it is so great with rich fatty meats like ribs. With low 13.5% alcohol and the light body it is perfect in the hot weather.
Carmenere which is grown mostly in South America is a grape we enjoy as long as the pepper note the grape is known for doesn’t get too out of balance. The 2021 Casa Silva Carmenere ($20, Wine Club Price $18) from Chile strikes that lovely balance with the savory pepper note being there but held in check with warm blue fruit flavors. Ample tannins complete the package making it a great wine with steak from the grill.
A new Pinot Noir in the shop is the 2021 Raen ($100, Wine Club Price $90) is appellated in the Sonoma Coast region and is made by two of the Mondavi grandchildren. Regular readers know of our great fondness for the Sonoma Coast and Russian River Valley areas from our time working there. It is ideal Pinot Noir country and it shows through in every sip of the Raen. Aromas of mild earthiness and ripe cherry abound and repeat on the palate. The texture is silky and elegant with a lovely long finish. One of our favorite summer treats is a chicken cooked on our rotisserie grill and served with grilled potato salad, and it will be perfect with this wine.
We were thrilled to get a small allocation of the 2021 Failla Keefer Ranch Vineyard Pinot Noir ($80, Wine Club Price $72). Failla remains one of our very favorite wineries and Ehren Jordan’s bottling from the storied Keefer Ranch is one of the hardest to come by. The wine like the Raen is a lush and rich interpretation of the best the Russian River Valley has to offer. The dark cherry fruit is dense and concentrated leading to a sleek finish. Pair with Michael Chiarello’s grilled chicken salad with mushroom vinaigrette.
There are more new stand out wines than we could not get to in this column so be sure and stop in the shop to check out all that is new.