They say seasonal eating is best, and I believe them. What I love about the seasons is that they're tied so intricately with the foods we eat throughout the year. I'm certainly not tired of summer's bounty yet, are you? (I love you, tomatoes, even if I have to withstand inferno temps to get to you)
Today's selection, Vigneti Del Sole Pinot Grigio 2014, is summer in a bottle, and it'll go well with so many of your favorite seasonal dishes. Taste and see!
This one's super light, which you might guess from its palest-straw-gold color. Super bright on the nose, lemon and apple blossom abound, and it tastes about the same going down. Not too sweet but not too tart, this is a dry wine that's got a lovely crisp finish that's longer than you'd think.
This one's a super bargain: only $7.97 from this merchant.
Serve this with a lighter fish, like mahi mahi, or some shellfish. The wine's crisp citrus will also play nicely with a delicate chicken salad or a German potato salad.
Y'all know I'm an Italian girl. I can get on board with all kinds of varietals and blends from my homeland.
But this Barolo?
Be still my heart.
Hubby and I had this phenomenal Damilano Levinquevigne 2011 Barolo at Bice in San Diego. Verdict: this combo platter of five different Nebbiolos is a blend well worth your attention.
The nose was almost too easy: lush berries, orange, tobacco, rose and violet, but the finish was heady tannins and rough leather.
You can find it for a very reasonable $17.84.
We had this with a cheese pairing, 7 different kinds of Italian cheeses, including a smoked provolone that made the smoke in this Barolo stand up and howl. No doubt it'd be delicious accompanied with gamey meats.
Last week we featured an Italian red.
Fact: if I'm going to go for a red, it's usually going to be an Italian. Like my men. That's how I roll.
Now let's talk about the other side of the coin: Italian whites.
Once upon a time, a little town called Orvieto was founded in the middle of Italy—in a place known today as Umbria—by Etruscans.
Etruscans = before Romans = a very long time ago
Italians have been making the Orvieto blend for a long time, and Umbria's hilly climate, along with cellars cut into stone hills, made a wonderful place to make wine. With a nice, long, cool fermentation, Orvieto was known as a sweet blend for many moons. But just like sock hops and poodle skirts, in the 1960s and 1970s sweet wines went from de rigueur to don't please don't, and dry whites became all the rage. Thus the Orvieto blend got a changeup of grapes, its majority makeup going from the sweet Grechetto grape of yore to Trebbiano Toscano, catapulting the blend onto the dry spectrum, where it has remained ever since.
Wines. Pop music. Hemlines. They all vary with time, don't they?
This week, I got to try the Melini vineyard's Orvieto Classico 2012.
If you like Chardonnay, I think you're going to like this.
You can tell by its robust nose and golden straw color that this one's got a bit more body. This white's pretty dry, though gets sweeter the more you put away. Creamy with a touch of alcohol, the wine carries notes cantaloupe and apple blossom, along with a crisp, long finish.
This one's super affordable, folks: you can find it here for $7.99.
This should go nicely with a rich, creamy pasta (alfredo! carbonara! tortellini!), shellfish, goat cheese, or even prosciutto with melon.
P.S. for the history nerds: this vineyard has been around since 1705. And its founder, Adolpho Laborel Melini, used pasteurization in his winemaking 33 years before Louis Pasteur wrote about the process. What!
Let's talk about Italian reds, shall we?
There are many wine-producing regions in Italy, but one of the most prolific is in the northwest of the country, in an area called Piedmont (Piemonte, in Italian). Nestled at the base of the Alps, Piedmont produces some fine wines, particularly from one of my favorite grapes: Nebbiolo. Since Piedmont is has lots of hills, temperature and terroir vary wildly—and so does the grape. You've heard of Barbaresco and Barolo, right? This is where they come from. Grown in a lower elevation and warmer temperature than their Barolo brethren, Barbarescos tend to be a bit lighter and fruitier; Barolos usually pack a bit more punch.
Wasn't that a fun geography lesson? Context is important; you'll see why in a minute.
Operating in the town of Barbaresco, the Produttori co-op is one of the finest in Piedmont (trust me, I’ve been there), and this Langhe Nebbiolo is hands-down my favorite for the price.
What Chianti is to Tuscany, Nebbiolo is to Peimonte.
I’ve had several vintages, and the 2010 is a real standout, perfect for lunch or a light dinner of cheese and antipasti. It’s supposed to be lighter than its Barbaresco cousin, but I find it has more flavor and depth. It’s very leathery, with a touch of earth combined with fresh red fruits and a bit of menthol, which really makes it stand out. A bargain every day table red.
You can find this particular vintage for $18.99.
A friend to meats and cheeses, this wine would pair beautifully with antipasti, roasted mushrooms, and entrées starring roasted beef or game.