It’s hot out there, folks. But that’s just the way we do July 4th each year – hot weather, hot foods and hot fireworks, right? So as you get ready to don your finest red, white and blue this week, here at Hinsdale Wine Cellars, we knew just the right wines for you Inspired Wine Club members – sippers that will cool you off, pair well with your grilling and just plain “mix” things up a bit. Yes, this month, we offer you some fantastic blends. One is a refreshing rosé that is perfect for sipping on your 4th of July blanket as you nosh on a light picnic while waiting for fireworks to begin. The other is a beautiful all-American Rhone-style red that is exactly what rich grilled meats call for. The summer heat is on, folks, but now you will have just the right blend of wines to make your celebrations the finest.
Bonny Doon Vineyard 2013 “Vin Gris de Cigare” Rosé, Central Coast California
Don’t be fooled by the pale salmon color of this Vin Gris, Provençal-styled pink wine. Its flavor profile is anything but faint. A mix of 55% Grenache, 23.5% Mourvèdre, 10% Roussanne, 2.5% Carignane, 2% Grenache Blanc and 7% Cinsault, the nose first presents as a lovely chalky/smoky gunpowder tea and may even evoke thoughts of Earl Grey with its suggestion of bergamot and strawberry scones. Thirst-quenchingly delightful, it has an acidity that is both sleek and savory, making it incredibly food friendly and accessible on a hot summer’s day. This may become your new favorite summer wine – as perfect with a grilled chicken Caesar salad as it is with fried chicken and biscuits.
Horse & Plow 2012 “Farmstead Red,” North Coast California
It can be a challenge for red wine lovers in the summer when reds seem weighted down with the excessive heat. However, as so many celebrations call for, you must have a beefy wine that can stand up to…well, beef. We’re talking about that medium rare grilled Porterhouse accompanied with a portabella mushroom sauce that begs for a wine whose tannins can cut through the steak’s richness. With 30% Carignane, 25% Zinfandel, 25% Petite Sirah, 15% Syrah and 5% Grenache, this wine is up to the challenge. The nose begins with aromas of earthiness and boysenberry. Upon the palate, it’s pure velvet with fine tannins and a balanced acidity. This is a wine that is intended for celebrating our nation’s birthday, putting the red in red, white and blue.
Who needs an overnight flight to France when ersatz Burgundian and Bordeaux wines can be found right here in the good ol’ U.S. of A? Yes, you read that right; a California winemaker is just that bold to bring forth the likes of Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc that will transport you to the Continent in just a sip.
A wonderful discovery on our part, JAX vineyards has been producing high quality, limited quantity wines since the late ‘90s. This month’s Inspired Wine Club picks two that have in fact been compared to France’s most renowned wine regions and two of the varietals those regions are most known for. From hand-harvested and hand sorted fruit to hands-on winemaking, these wines are sure to be just the right thing to welcome spring with a quasi-French flourish. Salut!
2012 Y3 Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast, California
Considered one of the most complex varietals, this Pinot does not disappoint. Its complexity begins with a nose of dried cherry, plum and strawberry earthiness. The winemaker attributes “ocean breezes during bright, sunny days and brisk morning fog” to the proper ripening and wine’s “lively acidity.” A well structured wine with enjoyable tannins, the wine is expected to age well — enjoyable now through 2020. CEO Dan Parrott, who worked with some of the best Burgundy producers before coming to JAX, looked for an exceptional vineyard to make the perfect Pinot. This is the first Pinot Noir vintage for the winemaker, and whether you pair it with grilled, rosemary-rubbed game hens, a garlicky rolled lamb roast, or a herb-crusted salmon fillet with beurre blanc, it is utterly fantastic.
2012 Y3 Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley, California
Sauvignon Blanc originates in Bordeaux, but as we all know, because of its refreshing citrusy qualities, it is now one of the favorite white varietals around the world. That said, it often reveals to wine lovers telltale features from its New World region. This particular Sauvignon Blanc, however, does not belie its Bordeaux connection, beginning with its fresh vibrant aromas of melon, pear, grapefruit and hints of dried apricot and fig. On the palate, those aromatics spring further to life with a rush of bright citrus and minerality. Ah, yes, there’s that refreshing crisp acidity and fresh finish that make it a perfect wine for seafood dishes, salads and other lighter fare.