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This week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© it occurred to me the holiday in America known as, “Labor Day,” is like a break that takes place with one of America’s favorite past times, Baseball and its All Star Break. Now for those of you reading this that may not be familiar with Baseball, really, there is a break that takes place just after the mid-point of the season. During this three day break, just like Labor Day weekend, the sport of baseball showcases its top athletes’ in an All Star Baseball game that the world can watch on Television.
Well this is that point of the wine season for me and I thought it would be nice to take a look back over the summer at some of the wines I have written about on my blog and talked about on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show©. This Labor Day weekend is really a turning point for wine drinkers, winemakers, and winery owners. Wine drinkers like you and I will still enjoy our go to summer wines for another few weeks but then the season begins to change and so will the wines we choose to drink, it’s a natural evolution.
Winery owners are beginning to think about the harvest. They are considering what Mother Nature has given them in the way of weather in the spring and summer and what the harvest will produce. The grapes have begun Veraison or the transition of growth into the ripening stage and everyone hopes for warm days, cool nights, and dry weather. This is what produces good grapes at harvest.
Winemakers are pondering the timing, and weather of past seasons, reflecting on what the grapes have given them to work with from vintages past. That is what they are beginning to think about as they sip on their glass of wine after a long days work in the vineyard for winemakers from smaller vineyards. Larger operations may have many specialists, but for many vineyards they are farmers first and then transition after harvest into their true specialized rolls.
As I thought about all that I share with you today I really kept coming back to the parallel with baseball. The season has changed and now we are entering the last trimester. This is where it all counts, winding down the season and delivering the goods.
One of Saturday Night Lives’ best known sketches was about baseball and a certain character in particular. In this comedic sketch Garrett Morris who portrayed the Dominican baseball player Chico Escuela, who spoke very disjointed English, delivered one of the best known catch phrases ever to a television audience; “Baseball… been berra berra good… to me.”
This week I give you my summer All Star lineup of wines. The criteria for this lineup may exclude many of the great wines I have enjoyed this summer because the wines I share with you today must; affordable for the regular girl or guy, refreshing, easy to find, and go great with your Labor Day grillin’ and chillin’ get together with friends and family. But I want to leave you with this parting thought; “Wine… it’s been berry berry good… to me™.”
A few Labor Day wine recommendations from WineGuyMike™:
Balletto 2008 Pinot Gris
One of my go to wines of the summe. This pale-straw colored wine opens with musky and exotic fresh fig and floral honey tones. The secondary aromas reveal ripe red apple, melon and lemon. Altogether, these aromas are ever-changing and intoxicating. In the mouth, it’s lush and perfectly viscous with a dose of tartness that balances and holds the wine together.
The fig and honey aromas make a secondary appearance in the finish to create a generous and incredibly long aftertaste that’s enhanced with a hint of butterscotch.
Lucien Albrecht Reserve Riesling
A beautiful French Riesling from the Alsace region of France. This wine has a lovely nose that offers up both minerality and nice floral notes. In the mouth this wine is both elegant and robust. It has such great structure and being an Alsatian Riesling is beautifully dry and crisp. Pair this with your seafood dishes this weekend.
Tuck Beckstoffer’s 75 Sauvignon Blanc
This wine presents as a classic Graves-style Sauvignon Blanc. The light straw color is reminiscent of classic left-bank Bordeaux Blanc, while the flavors are a perfect blend of old-world complexity and crisp North Coast fruit. The nose is just right on this gem, neither to fruity or grassy, but a nice aromatic of grass and grapefruit. On the palate this wine offers bright fruit flavors of apple skin and pear balanced by undertones of cherimoya, fig and melon.
This wine is the perfect pairing for soft cheeses, summer salads, grilled chicken and is one of my favorite domestic Sauvignon Blancs.
Vipra Bianca 2009
On the nose, this dry white wine expresses hints of fresh almonds, acacia, and citrus. It is rich, yet fresh with a savory, elegant flavor. This Italian white wine is a nice alternative to Sauvignon Blanc yet maintains a nice partnership with food because of the nice balance of fruit and acidity.
Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais-Villages 2009
The Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais-Villages 2009 is very well made. This wine has wonderful tannin, is lush and full of its beautiful berry self. It is a wonderfully balanced wine that will be so food friendly due to its fruit and acid companionship. It doesn’t stop there though this wine for me delivers a great little nuance of toast and butter too. It’s like a great mildly toasted piece of bread with homemade raspberry and cherry jam. Serve this wine slightly chilled and pair it with everything from burgers, a nice grilled steak, or even a nice filet of grilled salmon.
Pennywise Pinot Noir
Light brick red in color with hints of emerald, the 2009 Pinot Noir blend of 94% Pinot Noir and 6% Syrah delivers aromas of cherries jubilee, root beer, rose petal, and cotton candy. In the mouth this wine coats the palate with flavors of delicate plum, strawberry, watermelon rind, cream caramel, and vanilla bean. The finish leaves you with delicate notes of fresh summer sweet strawberries. Pair this wine with salads to pork chops or burgers, inexpensive and great to serve at a gathering.
This new wine, just released, is the latest addition to Domaine Sainte Eugénie. It is unique in that it has a slight, refined oak character, highlighting a sturdy base of red fruit and oriental spices. Bringing into play terroir and savoir-faire, tradition and exotic flair, Le Clos seems to be like something out of “The Arabian Nights.” This wine displays an attractive raspberry red color with hints of garnet. Its nose is lively and complex, with notes of red and black fruits. Refined oak fragrance (very subtle) with hints of incense, spices (nutmeg, clove, ginger), anise, autumn woods and tobacco. Le Clos is very soft on the palate, with a fresh, tangy acidity, and delivers wonderful balance. It is well-structured yet elegant, with fine tannins. It will perfectly accompany a roast rack of lamb, barbecued beef or pork chops with fine herbs.
Rosenere Reggiano Lambrusco
Speaking of refreshing this sparkling gem from Italy was so nice to taste. The Rosenere immediately shows beautifully in the glass, a rich and lovely deep purple color with perfect frothy head. Remember this is what a good Lambrusco should have and even as this wine sits in between sips and you give it a swirl the nice frothy head returns immediately.
The nose on this beauty is equally as pleasing with notes of grape, raspberry, strawberry, and a little cherry. On the palate this wine is so tasty with nicely balanced fruit, acid, and tannin. The Rosenere Lambrusco is like an extra-dry Prosecco which means it is semi-dry and is slightly sweet. The sweetness is appropriate and not annoying in any way. It just feels right in your mouth, and it is. The finish leaves you with a delightful lingering memory of refreshing fruit.
This fun frizzante sparkler is nice to pair with rich dishes you may serving or is perfect to enjoy with a nice wedge of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese as an appetizer.
The inaugural vintage of The Sum is a cabernet based blended red wine created by Tuck Beckstoffer whose family is widely considered to be the most famous grape growing family in the Napa Valley.
This amazingly well endowed profoundly rich red wine must be smelled and tasted to be believed. The color is a rich, deep purple garnet and gives but a small hint as to what’s inside. The nose gives off soaring and wonderfully focused aromas of ripe stone fruit, vanilla, cherries, cedar cigar box, blackberries and cinnamon. In the mouth, there are layers upon layers of broad, sweet opulent fruit balanced by firm tannins, great acidity and oak.
This wine is amazing and offers huge value, just one word on pairing with this bad boy from Tuck; Steak, steak and more steak. I recommend firing up your grill now because this wine at this price point will blow you away.
Saracco Moscato d’Asti 2008 D.O.C.G.
A fabulous way to end the day with this beautiful wine that offers a perfume of fresh peach, pear and aromatic white flowers. A gentle sparkle brightens the fruit and a tingle of sweetness hints of candied fruits. This wine is perfect as refreshing aperitif or a light finish to a meal. Moscato d’ Asti is highly aromatic with notes of fruit and white flowers, Paolo Saracco keeps tight control of the harvest to ensure a perfect acid balance to the natural sweetness of this grape. A slight sparkle is traditional for Moscato d’Asti, it lifts the fruit and guarantees a wine that is light and refreshing. It is your dessert in a glass, everyone loves this wine.
My favorite summer recipe from WineGuyMike™:
Start with a very hot grill and a nice New York Strip Steak.
Sear on both sides for 2-3 minutes.
Kill the heat and let the steak hangout in the grill at 200 degrees
Saute sweet onions with a finely sliced mixture of peppers from mildly to fairly hot.
Your steaks should be between medium rare and medium at this point.
Plate steaks and your onion and pepper sauté right on top. This dish has incredible flavor with just a hint of sweetness and heat from the sauté.
Pair that with The Sum I have recommended in my summer All Star wine lineup and you are in heaven.
Have a wonderful Labor Day celebration; I’ve enjoyed sharing some of my summer favorites and this recipe with you. Salute!