Time for those spring wines
Posted by by Bill Belkin, wine and spirits category manager
Friday, May 11, 2012
Wine is all about a sensory experience. We look first. We observe the color and clarity of a given wine. Then we use the old proboscis and smell the wines, taking all the different aromas into our olfactory memories. Next, we taste. We sip and swirl the elixir in and around our palates and then make the determination about what we are gulping. Do we like it or not? Well sound aside, the last sense we can use and should use is touch. No, don’t stick your fingers into the glass. Think more about a textural sense. What does the wine “feel like” on your tongue – your palate?
In winter and cooler weather, it seems like we are all yearning for a big, brawny red. A Cabernet, with lots of oak and tannins helps seal us off from the cold. But spring and summer are meant for casual sipping on the deck, at the cabin, on the boat or anywhere outside. And outside heat can be a killer for reds; too much of an alcohol rush and lots of acid, kill the moment – and the food.
Instead, think about Pinot Gris from Oregon, replete with all the melon, sunflowers and stone fruits. Of course the omnipresent Sauvignon Blancs from New Zealand are still all the rage. Even if you are not a big fan of the bracing acidity and grapefruit notes, just ask your Lunds and Byerly’s wine experts for a toned down, less frenzied version. They will know exactly what you mean. Or perhaps look to California where they take on more hay, straw, green grass and bell pepper notes. Delicious with shrimp and seafood canapés! None of the Southern Hemisphere vibes found in these California wines. You can even get a partially fermented barrel version, meaning oak, which makes these wines a bit Sancerre-like. Again our experts can safely navigate these waters for you!
Blended whites should not be overlooked. Conundrum, Evolution and Pine Ridge Chenin/Viognier all are excellent summer wines at various price points. And of course no talk of whites would be complete with the mention of Chardonnay. But instead of that heavier winter grade white, try an unoaked version. You may be blown away at what was hiding behind all that wood! Try the delicious versions from Australia, New Zealand as well as California and even Michigan.
Lose the sweaters and the heavy reds. Enjoy Minnesota and all our vinous diversity!