As summer winds down, there’s still time to find new, interesting white wines for patio dining. Never a white without a red to follow, never a red without a white before it. Why settle for the same old, same old?
Saint André de Figuière “Cuvée Valerie” Côtes de Provence 2006 evokes the south of France with its sunny, rejuvenating acidity and slight, enticingly herbaceous flavor. The blend is unconventional: 60 percent Ugni Blanc, 25 percent Rolle (the French name for Vermentino), and 15 percent Semillon, which gives it some body. Enjoy it by itself, with patio finger food (olives, cheese, chips and dip), or grilled seafood.
Imported by the Country Vintner and available in the D.C. area for $14 at The Vineyard, 1445 Laughlin Ave., McLean, Va.; 703-288-2970.www.thevineyardva.com
Like many DC wine lovers, I eagerly awaited the opening of Proof restaurant in the Penn Quarter district, with its avowed emphasis on wines. More than 30 selections by the glass, a reserve list based on the owners personal collection of the best and most exclusive wines of the world - all this seemed too good to be true for the vinoscenti of DC. However, I was dismayed to find on my first visit that the list featured a mass-produced Viognier from California, despite the number of outstanding examples of that grape from nearby Virginia. My first impression is online at Washingtonian.com's Best Bites blog.
Wine writers would have you thinking that drinking red wines in summer is a major faux pas. This would be the season for crisp refreshing whites and rosés and nothing else. Well, I agree that those wines are great for summer, but as Kermit Lynch says (paraphrased), "Never a white without a red to follow, never a red without a white before it." Summer foods - such as burgers or steaks on the grill - call out for reds.
My August column in the Washingtonian magazine explores some good summer reds. I hope you enjoy it!
My first monthly column in Washingtonian magazine, on the new popularity of rosé, appeared in the July issue and is now online. Regular readers of Dave McIntyre's WineLine will not be surprised that rosé is gaining in popularity, given its refreshing qualities and its ability to pair with nearly everything we like to eat in summer. (Except perhaps burgers and steaks from the grill - that's the subject of my August column!)
Read more here.
And I hope you'll check out my Thursday postings on Washingtonian.com's Best Bites blog for more suggestions of good wines to try. Some of these I've reposted here, but you can get them directly from the source!
Most of our sense of taste is actually in our nose. You’ve probably heard that before, but if you want proof, check out the red wines of the Omrah line produced by Plantagenet Wines in Western Australia. These display beguiling aromas of cologne (Old Spice!), orange peel and tropical fruit aromas, with a remarkable consistency across grape varieties.
Most enticing for me was the Omrah Pinot Noir 2006 ($18), from a cool vintage that made the wine lighter than it could have been, while emphasizing its aromas. This is neither an earthy Burgundy nor a California fruit bomb, yet it is unmistakably pinot – a pinot potpourri, of sorts.
The Omrah Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 and Shiraz 2004 (both $18) are from a stronger vintage, and while they display the finesse and brawn of their varieties, they also offer the same aromatic profile of the Pinot Noir. These are delicious wines that will have you sticking your nose further and further into your glass as you try to identify each flavor. Great values, too.
Omrah is the middle of three tiers produced by Plantagenet; I like it better than the slightly more expensive Plantagenet Estate wines, which tend toward overripe, compote flavors in the reds. (Fans of Aussie Riesling should seek out the $20 Plantagenet 2006 Great Southern.) The Hazard Hill line retails for $14, and is quite fine, especially a crisp, refreshing white made from Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc.
Plantagenet Wines are imported by Robert Whale Selections, Inc., of Washington, DC, and distributed in DC and Virginia by the Henry Wine Group.