Wines to make the weekend festivities memorable
Spring 2016 began rather hesitantly, the past month being dominated with extended periods of cool and rainy weather.
However, the approach of Memorial Day brought distinct changes, including daytime temperatures nearing seasonal norms and plenty of blue skies.
And this to me indicates the long holiday weekend will see many outdoor gatherings, and there is nothing that fits the festive mood more than entertaining with sparkling wines, rosés and white wines.I opened a few boxes to come up with suggestions for your plein aire pairings to make the weekend truly memorable.
I admit to being a huge fan of great Prosecco and that was illustrated again this spring when I spent a few days after VinItaly exploring the heart of the Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG.
When I returned home, stuffed into my bag were two bottles of winemaker Graziano Merotto’s best: his Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Brut Rive di Col San Martino “Cuvée del Fondatore Graziano Merotto” Millesimato 2015 and his Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Dry Rive di Col San Martin “La Primavera du Barbara” Millesimato 2015.
Had I more room, the third bottle would have been the non-vintage Sorelle Bronca, Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Brut “Particella 68”.
Much of the U.S. market is flooded with lower-tier Proseccos (mostly DOC and not the top DOCG) and most Americans still haven’t discovered what a great value Prosecco DOCG offers, both in price and stylistically.
That situation should change as Prosecco DOCG makers continue to expand their American markets. The above wines can be found for around $20.
Merotto’s Rive di Col San Martino, made from grapes grown on a steep hill just behind the winery, has such a fine perlage the feeling is one of a floral creaminess rather than exploding bubbles. Complex and multi-layered minerality.
The “La Primavera du Barbara” (90 percent Glera, 10 percent Perera) is dry and bit softer than the brut Cuvée del Fondatore but still offers the steely clean lines and floral aromatics found in Merotto’s wines.
Sorelle Bronca, Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Brut “Particella 68” – This well-structured wine comes from a low-yielding, steeply angled site and is made to show more of the pure grape flavor and minerality than sweet fruit.
Meiomi 2014 Chardonnay – Meiomi, which began in 2006 and last year was acquired by
Constellation Brands, might be better known for its affordable and well-received Pinot Noir but they also make a delightful Chardonnay.
Meiomi gets fruit from growers in Sonoma, Santa Barbara and Monterey to blend this clean, spicy and tropical-fruit Chardonnay. $20 sample
Smoking Loon 2014 Steelbird Unoaked Chardonnay – I’m always seeking unoaked Chardonnays and this one from Smoking Loon, part of Don Sebastiani & Sons’ portfolio, was delightful.
Donny Sebastiani, president and CEO, said the company, which owns no vineyards but rather contracts for fruit and finished wines, blends juice from throughout California to get the style consistency desired. $9.21 purchased.
McBride Sisters Truvée Rosé – The story behind the McBride Sisters winery will take more room than I have but it revolves around two sisters who didn’t even know about each other until 1999. Andréa grew up in New Zealand while Karen was raised in Monterey, Cal.
What they shared, other than a biological father, was a desire to make fine wines. Their brand Truvée, according to the website, is derived from French verb “to find” and “reflects their personal journey finding each other.”
The 2014 Rosé, a blend of Grenache and Syrah, is dominated by red fruits and a hint of lemon. $15 sample.