I say “last days” but who am I kidding?! It will summer here for at least two more months, if not more. The string of 100+ degree days has taken a toll and I found myself running from the reds and fully enjoying the white and the pink stuff.
Luckily I had lots of white and rose wines that had been sent to me as samples to try. Here are the ones that made the cut and are quintessential summer wines.
2016 Peter Zemmer Pinot Grigio Riserva “Giatl” Alto Adige, Italy ($38)
So I’ve seriously had a come to Jesus moment with Pinot Grigio. What I once regarded as a bland, neutral tasting wine that was better left in the store, more recently I’ve been exposed to the good stuff. Like any other variety, where it grows can be everything. I’ve had such a turnaround that I even include it in some of my tasting classes. Like the ones I recently discovered from Collio, (link) Alto Adige gets it right and brings out the best in this fickle grape. And while I’ve had Petter Zemmer’s Pinot Grigio in the past and enjoyed, this is seriously a step up from his already quality wines. This Riserva, which is the inaugural vintage, is Alto Adige’s first and only DOC Riserva Pinot Grigio. And it lives up to its pedigree. And unlike many watery-pale Pinot Grigio, this one is a beautiful golden-yellow in the glass. Rich and juicy pear, apricot, and citrus balanced by fresh acidity and some salinity, I was practically awestruck. I mean its Pinot Grigio! Who knew?!
2017 La Mora Cecchi Vermentino, Maremma, Tuscany ($19)
I’ve been crushing on Vermentino on and off for a while now. While found mostly in Sardinia, it crops up in various other places in Italy. In this case, beautiful coastal Maremma with its Mediterranean climate. Often times compared to Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris, it can range from light and floral to rich and creamy. This one has a luscious, rich mouthfeel with green apples, fresh tropical fruit, and mineral notes. Each sips draws you in for more! I enjoyed while sitting on the front porch so it certainly works as an aperitif, but this would be fantastic with crab cakes or lobster.
2018 William Chris Mary Ruth, Texas ($28)
William Chris Vineyards pride themselves on only using Texas-grown grapes and are also fierce advocates for the farmers that cultivate them. Named for founder Bill Blackmon’s mother, the Mary Ruth is William Chris’ flagship white wine. A perfectly translucent lemon yellow in the glassit is comprised of 54% Moscato Giallo, 25% Blanc du Bois and 21% Malvasia Bianca. Clean and fresh and quite aromatic with peach and floral characteristics front and center along with some minerality. This is one of those wines that could meld seamlessly with a number of cuisines – Asian, Tex-Mex, Indian, fish, chicken, pork. It’s just such a versatile wine.
2018 William Chris Rosé, Texas High Plains ($22)
I always love it when I can cover a wine I already have in my cellar and then I’m sent more. #Winning. Produced with 100% Texas grapes and made up of 66% Sangiovese, 21% Riesling, 11% Mourvedre and 2% Pinot Meunier, this is quite the tasty sip. Brimming with fresh strawberries, this sunshine in a bottle seems to have a touch of residual sugar which makes it an easy and pleasurable sipper that’s prefect for porch sitting, pool lounging, beach play – you get my point. We paired with a light margherita pizza and loved the combo. This would also play nicely with some Texas BBQ.
2016 DeLille Cellars Chaleur Blanc, Columbia Valley, Washington ($35)
Don’t call it a comeback! Ha ha! I wrote about this wine earlier this summer but its worth including again. Back in the day, crafting a white Bordeaux-style blend was unheard of in Washington. But DeLille changed that when they created their first Chaleur Blanc back in 1995. A blend of Sauvignon Blanc (68%) & Sémillon(32%), the wine is aged sur lie in French oak barrels. It’s even been served at the White House over three administrations. And while it’s a “Bordeaux-style” blend, its has its own American identity. Vanilla creme, tropical fruit, minerality and amazing med+ acidity.
Keep on sipping those summer wines! And stay tuned for my picks for the shoulder season that is sure to include some light bodied reds. Cheers y’all!