Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Wine Wednesday: Knock the Summer Heat for a Loop with These Lovely White Wines

Posted By on Wed, Jul 18, 2012 at 5:57 AM

It's been awhile since we've talked wine together on Wednesday. Lately, I've been drinking more whiskey and those wacky Mexican liqueurs. But it's just too damned hot for day drinking outside if you're on the grain instead of the grape.

Lucky for all of us, I've discovered a few perfectly palatable pool pounders to get us all through until Labor Day. My first find is The Loop Sauvignon Blanc from Barkers Marque Vineyards. This fruity little wine is from the Marlborough region of New Zealand, which means you should expects a fresh, green taste profile with strong elements of bell peppers and a hint of jalapeƱo on the nose. The Loop delivers all of these and more with some additional notes of pineapple and passion fruit. Now this wine is by no means complex; it has a finish about as long as a pug's tail, but it is ultimately refreshing and should be drunk with ice crystals from the cooler still clinging to the bottle. At $10-12 per bottle, you can afford to keep that cooler full. This wine would pair very nicely with a nice piece of fish cooked on the grill and topped with a light lemon sauce. In fact, it would pair so nicely, you should invite me over when you try it.

Longtime readers of "Wine Wednesday" know that I'm a big fan of Vinho Verde wines from Portugal during the summer. Part of that preference comes from the fact that my girlfriend loves wine with intense citrus notes, particularly grapefruit. Once I discovered that Vinho Verdes were right in her wheelhouse, I became a fan as well. 'Cause if momma ain't happy ...

The delicate effervescence of Vinho Verde is also quite refreshing on days when the a/c is working o/t. I've recommended the rose' version of Casal Garcia's Vinho Verde before, but recently I've returned to the original, with their Branco. The color of lime juice in the glass, this wine is also a very fresh and green choice like The Loop, and the slightly lower alcohol content (10 percent) means you can have more than one. Its delicate fruity character pairs nicely with Asian food, so spiff up some takeout from Pei Wei tonight with Casal Garcia for less than the price of an extra order of lettuce wraps.

Slightly more expensive, but still no bank breaker at about $12-$15 per bottle is the Vinho Verde from Quinta de Azevedo. This wine is more intensely floral than the Casal Garcia, and the appearance is lighter, almost hay-colored. Served chilled, the complexity of Qunita de Azevedo works throughout a meal, from a pre-dinner treat to a nice match with almost any seafood, especially off the grill. The well-balanced acidity hold up nicely to most sauces, but I'd avoid anything that is too buttery. This wine also has a much more complex finish than the other two mentioned above, so try a bottle without any food at all so you can experience all that it has to offer.

These wines are fairly widely available at Nashville stores, so pick up a bottle or three today and enjoy beating the 100 Days of Summer Heat by drinking at home for an evening.

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