Friday, September 9, 2016

Wines for Labor Day

By Liza B. Zimmerman

The official close of the summer is, sadly, around the corner. The last real beach days will come to a close and we should celebrate with wines that really taste like summer in a glass.

Wines from Mediterranean climes to me say summer louder than any place else. Maybe roses, which never seem to taste as good out of season, are the ones that bring it to your glass the most succinctly.

While I love the beaches of Southern France and the sea in Sicily, my favorite roses are from cooler climates. The Spanish region of Navarra produces some of the biggest, most luscious versions in town. They tend to be dripping in fresh red berries and have balanced acidity. Another favorite is South African roses, as they do seriously know how to make them around Cape Town.

Whites for the End of Summer
Sauvignon Blanc remains one of my favorite, and among the wine world’s most flexible, grapes. I could without the grassy ones and adore the fresh stone fruit flavors that you find in the New World, everywhere from Napa to Chile.

Let’s not forget that France’s Loire Valley also makes some of the finest examples in the world. While I am in the neighborhood geographically I will add the Muscadets are none too shabby and pair perfectly with fresh seafood (from both our oceans and theirs).

I am also a huge fan of the delicate and balanced whites made from Rhone varieties such as Marsanne, Roussanne and Viognier. While France makes some great ones, so do California and Washington State. Thankfully winemakers are falling ever harder for these grapes so we should see them cropping up in more vineyards around the world.

In terms of esoteric whites I would also put in the good word for Northern Italy gems, such as Soave. Pieropan is a stunning example. I also think the Trentino region is making some lovely wines from the little-known Kerner grape. I would also like to put in a good word for some of those Portuguese indigenous white grapes, wow are they delicious.

Red Winners
For the last warm evenings I would keep my red choices crisp with vibrant acidity. Wines you can serve slightly chilled such as Lambrusco or one of the Beaujolais Crus are amazingly refreshing. So are some of the stunning Chinons produced in the Loire Valley.

Pinot Noir is another grape that is bewitching in so many styles, that also works so well with food. Beyond the classics in Burgundy, New Zealand is making some stellar cool-climate examples. Oregon is also crafting some elegant Pinots that are an appealing blend of Old and New World influences.

No matter what bottle you choose to open this weekend, make sure it is something you want to share with friends on the porch or in the

Cheers from DrinkUpNY!

Liza B. Zimmerman has been writing and consulting about wine and food for two decades. She is principal of the San Francisco-based Liza the Wine Chick wine writing, education and consulting firm. She has worked on staff and freelance at national magazines such as Wine Enthusiast, The Magazine of La Cucina Italiana, Wine Spectator, Where SF and the Examiner. She currently contributes to Cheers, Wine Business Monthly and the Examiner, among others.

Zimmerman focuses on demystifying wine and transforming it into a tool for business and networking for companies all over the country. Past clients include Genentech, Roche and IBM.

She has visited all the world’s major wine regions and is one of select few in the U.S. to hold the Diploma of Wine & Spirits (D.W.S.), the three-year precursor to the Master of Wine.

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