“Every culture makes wine to go with what they’re eating.”
– Naked Vine Wine Pairing Rule #1.
I have a slightly more difficult time pairing wines in summer. I’m not a huge fan of massive, tannic wines when it’s hot, and I don’t have a lot of patience for watery pinot grigio. I drink a lot of rosé, as we’ve long established, and I do like to have options. At times like this, I turn my sights to places where folks have dealt with blistering summers for centuries – the Mediterranean.
Thanks to the good folks at Bourgeois Family Selections, the wine fairy delivered an array of interesting, affordable Mediterranean yumminess for our consumption here at Vine HQ.
Bodegas Latúe 2012 Tempranillo – Latúe also makes a Tempranillo in a similarly organic fashion. This one has a fairly fragrant nose of cherries and cranberries. The body is on the lighter side, but there’s enough tannin to make it feel substantial, which is a real plus as a summer wine. I thought there was a nice balance of fruit and tannin, even if it is, as a whole, a bit lean. The finish is where the tannins really make an appearance, drying out the palate or standing ready to cut through the fat of a steak. Despite the relatively light body, it worked nicely with a thick grilled, marinated flank steak. I’d snag it again, especially at $10.
Domaine de Ballade 2012 Cotes de Gascogne – This wine is very refreshing blend of 70% Sauvignon Blanc and 30% Columbard from the region of Gascony in southwest France. All in all, I’ve discovered that Gascony really produces some of the most consistently refreshing summer wines. This bottle is no exception. The nose is full of lemon and wet stones. The medium-light body holds a grapefruity blend of mineral and acidity that finishes with a nice snap. A super wine for a warm day on the porch, at a picnic, or at the beach. It also turned out to be a really nice pairing choice for seafood. We had this with seared scallops with a grapefruit, fennel, and cucumber salad. Harmonious. Around $11-12.
Elicio 2011 Cotes du Ventoux Blanc – Some nights, I land on an unexpectedly strong wine match. On a hot, June evening, we needed something refreshing on its own that could still go with some herb-broiled trout and fresh green beans in a honey mustard vinaigrette dressing with almonds. That’s a challenging pairing with loads of flavors shooting off in different directions. I needed something somewhat substantial so it wouldn’t get trampled and still added something to the meal. This $12 bottle rose to the occasion. It’s a pleasant sipper, also 100% Vermentino, full of flavors of papaya and citrus with a load of minerals. The finish is fruity and crisp and overall – it’s quite tasty. Alongside the dinner, it was balanced and inoffensive. Honestly, that’s exactly what I wanted. I’d pick this up again.