Fire Island in the summer means the beach, sea air, and lots of amazing food. These wines are excellent pairs for Fire Island fare, weather, and mentality. So grab your folding chair, wide brimmed hat, but most importantly your wine key. Astor Wines are Spirits is offering improved Fire Island deliver options! Read about them here.
While Alsatian Grand Cru’s aren’t taken as seriously as Burgundy Grand Cru’s (yet), they still create sophisticated and complex wines worth savoring and aging.This evocative Riesling brings me to a Hawaiian luau. The smell conjures forth a mental image of white flowers strewn about suntanned necks and a crackling fire pit spreading the smell of grilled pineapple and peaches. Pair this with sweet breads, apple strudels, or roast pig (preferably sand baked)!
Italy has been called by many a “walking vineyard from end to end,” since vines grow in every nook and cranny of the peninsula. Despite this reputation, only a handful of locations get the adoration of American wine drinkers. Vallée d’Aoste is tucked away in the mountainous northwest of Italy. Often overlooked, this region produces elegant reds with exotic characteristics and rightfully deserves more of our attention. The “Chambave” is a petit rouge blend with a palate full of juicy red fruit and a spice-driven aroma of pink peppercorns and rosemary. Its light body and lively acidity make this bottle a ripe pick for Pinot Noir and Gamay lovers, and a great bottle to open on warm summer nights.
Cru Beaujolais are complex treasures for the passionate wine drinker on a budget. As someone who fits that description, I’m constantly trying different winemakers and villages from Beaujolais. Juliénas is known for powerful, earthy, and fragrant wines. Michel Chignard is making impressive wine that stays true to its home. After a quick decant this wine will flourish and fill the room with violets, blueberries, thistles, fresh mint, and lanolin. The palate is a wild briar patch of ripe bush fruit.
This bottle is an exceptional value. Picq has crafted a classic mineral-driven Chablis at a price accessible for every pocket book — This one is dry and crisp with refreshing lemon flavors and minerality that pops! Picq keeps yields very low, so the wine is always nervy, flinty. Bright notes of grapefruit, lime and yellow flowers round out this cuvée — a real steal, considering it has the breeding of a Premier Cru at several times the price. It’s a perfect match for sea air.
Pinot Gris has slowly become more popular worldwide and has laid down roots in Oregon. The Willamette Valley is an ideal place for such a varietal. The high elevation, light rain, and gentle sun rear this versatile grape into a fresh citrus driven glass of vino. I’m particularly fond of it because it’s a great example of a kitchen term “mise en place,” otherwise known as “everything in its place.” The palate is an even spread of citrus and stone fruit with minerality that doesn’t fade into the background. There is enough acidity to whet your palate or bind with seafood. Overall, it makes for a well-rounded bottle of wine. No more, no less, everything in its place.
When I think of spring, I think of drinking Txakolina. Bright and slightly spritzy, it is the perfect partner for any food or drinking activity that may be prompted by the first hint of warmth. Think of it as Vinho Verde’s more sophisticated older sibling. Txakolina is everywhere in Basque country, but few Americans seem to drink it. Yes, there was an uptick in awareness a few years ago but I hear fewer and fewer people ask for it by name. This is sad. We should all drink more Txakolina! As I mentioned above, this wine has a delightful effervescence. Additionally, it has aromas of lime, Meyer lemon, and a hint of stone fruit. It has a strong minerality and refreshing acid, which makes it a great match for any seafood dish. Or, if you’re not in the mood for seafood, it is a great match for an afternoon outdoors.