By JOHN WEBSTER | METRO MONTHLY WINE COLUMNIST
Our midsummer weather is always a challenge for wine selections at mealtime. This month, I’ve selected a number of red and white wines that should please most palates and budgets.
In mid-July, I attended a Station Square Ristorante wine dinner featuring six delicious Italian white wines paired to Chef Ottavio Musumeci’s special menu. Recently, Station Square was named in Wine Spectator’s annual restaurant dining guide, and I want to congratulate Chef Ottavio on receiving this prestigious award that signifies America’s best restaurants featuring great wines.
At the wine dinner, Station Square’s knowledgeable wine director, Dan Zagotti, started me off with a glass of Veglio Re Della Notte extra dry sparkling white wine. Made from 100 percent Sauvignon Blanc grapes from the Piedmont region, it exudes peach and citrus flavors and finishes clean and crisp. It was perfect with our appetizers.
Our next wine originates from the southern Puglia region of Italy. The 2013 San Severo Bianco is produced from white Bombino and Trebbiano grapes. Straw yellow in color, it features delicate citrus and floral notes on the palate and finishes nicely with a whiff of minerals.
A 2013 Tonnino Grillo from Sicily was the next wine choice. Spice-tinged citrus and peach flavors give way to a wonderful brown butter finish tinged with berries. This wine went nicely with my cheese ravioli entrée.
My next wine was a 2012 Massucco Il Sol dei Tempi (“the sun of the times”) from the Piedmonte region of Northern Italy. Made from 100 percent Arneis grapes, this finely balanced wine offers stone fruit flavors and finishes long and clean with floral notes. This white wine would be great with some of Chef Ottavio’s bolder chicken and veal entrees.
Our final wine was a 2013 Leonello Soave from the Veneto region. Bright, crisp citrusy fruit flavors make this 100% Garganega-based wine a joy to drink. Lemon and peach flavors give way to a taut finish tinged with jasmine.
All of the wines at this tasting are suitable for summer dining and get-togethers.
Station Square has started a new wine event. Their “Wine Wednesday” features six discounted wines by the glass or bottle to go with your menu selection. This sounds like a lot of fun, and I intend to try it out soon. I also will attend Station Square’s monthly wine dinner Thursday, August 27 featuring the Valdez Family Winery’s offerings.
Cork and Cap Bottle Shop had a number of red and white wines for midsummer enjoyment. My first pick was a great 2013 Duckhorn Sauvignon Blanc ($16.99, on sale from $24.99) from California. This is California Sauvignon Blanc at its best. Silky Sauvignon Blanc fruit flavors of vanilla-tinged lemon proceed to a long mineral-infused finish that goes on forever.
A 2013 Charles & Charles Chardonnay ($12.99, on sale from $19.99) from the Columbia Valley region of Washington was my next wine choice. Crisp juicy apple and citrus flavors are framed with a hint of spicy oak, making this a great choice for grilled chicken and summer veggies fresh from the garden.
Summer dining wouldn’t be complete without a delicious rose.
The 2014 Charles & Charles Rose ($12.99, on sale from $19.99) from the Columbia Valley is a great blend of Syrah (26 percent) with a touch of Cinsault (6 percent), Grenache (4 percent), Counoise (2 percent) and Mourvedre (2 percent) included for complexity. Crisp strawberry and melon flavors make this citrus-tinged rose a joy to drink. Shaved pork loin or grilled turkey breast would be fine partners for this complex rose.
Wine drinkers looking for a great Bordeaux-style red, please give the 2012 Kiona Cabernet Sauvignon ($21.99, on sale from $24.99) red blend from Washington’s Red Mountain Vineyards a try. This delicious blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (87 percent), Petite Verdot (5 percent), Merlot (5 percent), Cabernet Franc (2 percent), and Malbec (2 percent) offers lush ripe red fruit flavors and a toasty aromatic finish that will have you wishing you bought a second bottle. Boneless ribeye steaks hot off your grill would be a wonderful match for this undervalued red wine.
I plan to attend Cork & Cap’s upcoming August 21 dinner at the Trumbull Country Club – if you’d like to attend, call Cork & Cap for details and availability.
Vintage Estate Wine and Beer had a great selection of wines for midsummer drinking. My first pick is for your guests that don’t care for a high-alcohol wine and prefer something slightly off-dry (slightly sweet) in texture.
The 2013 Allanca Vinho Verde from Portugal is just the answer for these guests. Off-dry citrus fruit flavors and a zesty clean finish make this tasty white wine just the answer for Lake Erie perch fresh from your broiler. At $6.99 a bottle, this tasty Portuguese white wine should be in everyone’s wine rack for summer dining.
If you’re looking for a great-tasting French Chardonnay and you don’t want to remortgage your house, give the 2014 Louis Latour Ardeche Chardonnay ($11.99) from the Adeche region of France a try. Aged in stainless steel vats, this pale gold Chardonnay offers honey-tinged citrus fruit and a crisp clean finish that is reminiscent of a more expensive Premier Cru Chablis. Grilled shrimp and lobster would be ideal for this fantastic Chardonnay.
My next pick was the 2011 Nobilo Pinot Noir ($12.99) from Marlborough, New Zealand. Bright red in color with cherry fruit flavors leaping out of your glass, this red would be perfect for grilled salmon. This undervalued Pinot Noir would also be great with marinated beef.
My last pick comes from the Jumilla region of Spain. The 2011 Luzon Crizanza ($12.99) is a tasty blend of Monsatrell with a touch of Tempranillo, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon added for complexity. Red fruit and dark cherry flavors lead to a textured lush finish tinged with cocoa and allspice.
For less than the price of one bottle of premium California Cabernet, you can stock your cellar with six bottles of this superb Spanish red.
Upcoming tastings include Tuesday, Aug. 18, Springfield Grille pig roast with cocktails; Friday, Aug. 21, Cork & Cap wine dinner at the Trumbull Country Club (call Cork & Cap for details and availability); Thursday, Aug. 27, Station Square wine taste featuring the Valdez Family Winery’s offerings.
Regular tastings include Station Square’s “Wine Wednesday”; the Upstairs Restaurant’s Wine Down, third Thursday tasting; Charlie’s Premier Wines of Howland, every Saturday; Barrel 33, every other week on Thursday, Friday and Saturday; Vintage Estate, third Saturday tasting; and Cork & Cap second Saturday tasting. If your restaurant, shop or charity event is having an upcoming wine tasting, please email me a month in advance at firstname.lastname@example.org.*
PICTURED ABOVE: Station Square Chef Ottavio Musumeci (left) with wine director, Dan Zagotti. Metro Monthly electronic image by John Webster.
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