Tag Archives: summer wine

Memorial Day and rose 2014

Memorial Day and rose
One can never have too many roses.

The annual Memorial Day and rose post is one of the Wine Curmudgeon’s favorites, a post that has appeared every year since I started writing the blog. And why not? Rose is more popular than ever before (for which I will take some small credit), and it’s the quintessential great cheap wine: tasty and food friendly. It’s almost impossible to find a badly made $10 rose.

The blog ?s rose primer discusses styles, why rose is dry, and how it gets its pink color. The blog ?s rose category offers more suggestions, and the following will get you started for this year’s Memorial Day and rose extravaganza:

? Bodegas Palacio Rioja Milflores 2013 ($11, purchased, 13.5%): Quality Spanish rose that overcomes goofy bottle hype — extolling the “fruit and flower-filled fields of Rioja” — to offer excellent value. Crisp and aromatic, with some cranberry fruit and even a little orange on the finish.

? Penya C tes Catalanes Rose 2012 ($9, purchased, 13.5%): One more in a long succession of solid, winning roses from the south of France, this from the Roussillion and made with mostly grenache. Look for some strawberry fruit, but also a stony finish.

? Pedroncelli Dry Ros of Zinfandel 2013 ($12, sample,13.2%): Another quality effort from Pedroncelli, with lots of juicy red fruit. Not as crisp as other roses or as it has been in the past, and made more in the style of the old Toad Hollow. Which is quite a compliment, actually.

? Mulderbosch Cabernet Sauvignon Ros 2013 ($10, sample, 12.8%): This South African rose is another example of terrific $10 rose. It seems to have lots more strawberry fruit this year, though it’s still dry. But I’m guessing that much of that fruit will become more integrated in the wine as it ages in the bottle.

More about Memorial Day and rose:
? Memorial Day and rose 2013
? Memorial Day and rose 2012
? Wine of the week: Alliance Loire La Clotiere Rose 2012
? Wine of the week: Chateau de Campuget Rose 2012

Wine to drink when your tree falls down

2013-08-06 07.10.27The picture pretty much tells the story. The biggest tree in my front yard finally succumbed to old age and the Texas heat last week, leaving a gaping spot on my lawn.

So what does one drink while commemorating the yeoman job the tree, a Bradford pear, did over seven years of blocking the sun and doing what it could to keep the house cooler? Obviously, nothing with oak:

? Dr. Pauly-Bergweiler Bernkastleler Riesling Kabinett 2010 ($21, sample, 7.5%). The high temperature was 104 the day the tree fell, so it was a trifle warm when my neighbor, Dave Hangar (perhaps the best plumber in Dallas) sawed while I gathered most of the branches out of the street. The Dr. Pauly was everything German riesling should be — lovely and balanced and off-dry, with low alcohol, candied lemon fruit, and a little petrol. A beautiful wine.

? Bodegas Valdesil MonteNovo 2010 ($18, purchased, 12.5%). I bought six bottles of this Spanish white (made with the godello grape) for $4 each at a sale, little knowing how handy it would come in over the past couple of weeks of 100-degree weather. It ?s still fresh and lively, with enough lemon and citrus to be noticeable and refreshing. More sophisticated than less expensive Spanish wine, and more of a food wine — seafood paella, perhaps?

? La Fiera Pinot Grigio 2012 ($8, purchased, 12%). The Wine Curmudgeon ?s antipathy to pinot grigio is well known, but I also have tremendous respect for La Fiera, which makes some of the best $10 wine in the world. In this case, the producer won out: This is quite possibly the perfect pinot grigio — a little lemon fruit and a restrained, quinine-like finish, three flavors, and not overdone in any way, Highly recommended, and a candidate for the 2014 $10 Hall of Fame.

Wine when the air conditioning is broken

What do you drink when the air conditioning goes out and it isn’t fixed for 12 days at the beginning of a Texas summer? Cheap, lighter white wine, of course.

The actual air conditioning details — three repair companies and a home warranty company that did nothing illegal but acted with such bad faith that even I was surprised — are entirely too predictable in the post-modern, “the customer is our pigeon” world we live in. So I won’t bore you with them.

What matters here is my wine drinking dilemma. Because it was a dilemma. I review 150 wines a year on the blog, so I have to drink wine every day to make sure there is enough grist for the mill. But how does one taste heavy, tannic, alcoholic red wines when it’s as hot and sticky in the house as it is outside?

With great difficulty. The only reds I drank during that period at the end of May were lower alcohol pinot noirs from Don and Sons that I got for a Twitter Tasting a couple of days after the AC went out (and more on the wines in another post). There was plenty of red wine in the house, including three or four dozen recently-arrived samples (and, because that’s how these things work, almost all of the samples that came in May were red). But most of it was from the “Let’s make this wine with high alcohol because it’s more fun that way” school of California winemaking, and I was miserable enough without drinking that kind of wine.

So what’s a wine writer to do? These wines not only fit my situation, but should help anyone who needs hot weather wine advice or some porch-sipping suggestions:

Rene Barbier Mediterranean White NV ($5, purchased, 11.5%): Regular visitors here know how much I like this Spanish blend, and it didn ?t let me down. The low alcohol really made a difference. I could drink three or four glasses without schvitzing even more than I already was.

Giesen Sauvignon Blanc 2012 ($10, purchased, 13%): Solid if unspectacular New Zealand grocery store-style white with lots of grapefruit and not much else. But I wasn ?t looking for much else, just something to get me through the evening.

Tavernello Vino Bianco D’Italia ($8, purchased 11.5%): An Italian white blend that wasn’t quite as well done as the Barbier, which it tasted like ? a little lemon fruit, but sweeter — despite being made with different grapes. Overpriced, though, by about one-half.

St. James Pioneer White ($10, sample, 12.5%): Summer wine doesn’t get much better than this blend from Missouri, full of citrus and an almost oily richness. Serve this blind, and even the worst wine snob would enjoy it despite is regional pedigree.

Da Vinci Pinot Grigio 2012 ($15, sample, 12.5%): You get what you pay for with this white from E&J Gallo — a varietally correct, if a bit fruitless and high on the mineral side, pinot grigio in the style that sells millions and millions of cases each year.

Wine of the week: Massamier La Mignarde Cuvee des Oliviers 2010

fiche-oliviers-roseThe name of this wine is a very long and very French way of saying that this is exactly the kind of rose that makes the Wine Curmudgeon smile. It ?s cheap and it ?s dry, but more importantly, it ?s full of summer and backyards and porches and barbecues.

The des Oliviers ($10, purchased) is from southern France and is mostly made with cinsault. In this, it ?s firmly in the French style ? some fruit (in this case, cranberry), but not the big dollops that give the impression of sweetness and so confuse so many wine drinkers into thinking pink wine means white zinfandel. This wine is about as far from white zinfandel as possible.

Also impressive: The des Oliviers is a bit floral on the nose, and its clean, crisp finish leaves you ready to take another sip.

Serve this chilled on its own, or with any summer activity. Highly recommended, and a candidate for the 2013 $10 Hall of Fame.