You know the feeling. It’s the swoosh of heat that almost makes you gasp. Standing too close to the barbecue grill when it feels too hot to make any sort of dinner in the kitchen. That first step outside as you depart air-conditioned comfort. Heck, starting a game of tennis where the asphalt almost seems to radiate August swelter. Yes, August can be big and brash, shoving summer’s most abrasive heat at you with such intensity that you forget how you yearned for summer’s lazy days only a few months ago.
It’s with that spirit in mind, we figured we needed to go head to head with this month’s brashness and provide Inspired Wine Club members with two excitingly big, bold reds to fight fire with fire.
2012 Bodegas Castano Solanera, Spain
The Wine Advocate, which awards this wine and vintage 94 points, notes, “this full-bodied, intense 2012 tastes like it should cost three to five times as much. Full-bodied, stunningly pure and textured, it should last for 4-5 years, possibly longer.” Yes, it’s a Spanish dream with its gorgeous blend of 70% Mourvedre, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Grenache, aged 10 months in a combination of French and American oak barrels. Greeted with a dark cherry-red color, one soon discovers ripe fruit scents with pleasant wooden notes that are both spicy and lavish. This is a balanced wine with lovely, rounded tannins. You might not be ready for hearty beef stews, which marry perfectly with this wine, but it will go equally well with a smoky Black Angus Porterhouse hot off the grill or even a cheese plate whetting the appetite of guests at your garden party.
2011 Eagle Glen Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, California
Bringing us back to the United States is this classic Napa Valley Cabernet. Ninety percent Cabernet that is rounded out with 10% Merlot, this wine’s beguiling garnet color is the perfect enticement to lean in and get a nose full of deep, dark, earthy fruitiness. With layers of berry and plum fruitiness, this wine holds that spicy, smoky flavor we love in our reds so meticulously aged for 12 months in French oak. And reminiscent of your grandaddy’s cigar boxes, wine lovers will note a vanilla and oaky backdrop and unique minerality that set this wine apart. A long, complex finish completes the experience. Again, this hearty red pairs well with the rich, fatty meat of a roast suckling pig or paired with an assertive Stilton cheese atop crusty baguette slices.
Photo credit: WmJR
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.