Eugene Weekly : Wine : 7.1.10


No Blue Wines
But we won’t go thirsty this summer
By Lance Sparks

The barrel of the blaster poked through the open door before any sign of a person packing it. I scratched frantically at the desk drawer that held my old .45, but before I could grab the gat, the rest of the story unfolded in the form of Mole in full Revolutionary War regalia, from black tricorn to brass-buckled boots. He was toting a Barrett .50 caliber semi-auto sniper’s rifle, the prize-winning darling of the organization my pal Mark Harris calls the Negro Removal Association. The rifle was longer than Mole is tall.

“WTF, Mole?” I croaked to him when I could breathe again. “What’re you doin’ and where’re you goin’ with the artillery?”

“Jeez, Sleut’,” he said sincerely, “you f’got it’s Fourt’ o’ July? I’m goin’ to da Tea Party rally ta show patriotic support fuh da Constitution.”

I noticed then the button he wore on his ankle-length, brass-buttoned jacket. It read: “Put Dick in Jail.” “Ah, amigo …” I started to tell him that maybe the Tea Baggers might not share his yen to bust Cheney, but a Mole on a roll is a mighty force. He broke in: “Dey all carry guns ta show dey ain’t afraid of da Ku Kluxers.” He stood there at order-arms, beaming. World’s sweetest guy but not really honed on political nuances, thinks Rush Limbaugh is a popular dance in Jamaica. He reached under his jacket, pulled out a sheet of paper: “Heah’s my report, gots red wine and white wine, but, y’know, d’ere ain’t no blue wine, ’K?”

No blue wine? I stared at him for a beat or two, let it go. Gotta love the little dude.

So: Summer’s finally come, and maybe we’re gonna get some heat, brush the rust off the grill and chef up hot-times grub suitable for summer sippers, like:

Rosés: For about a zillion years, we’ve been urging wine-lovers to rediscover the pleasures of fine rosés (distinct from schlocky-sweet pink wines, often called ‘blushes’), and we haven’t been alone. As a result, wine retailers have been stocking shelves with a wide variety of affordable “rosies,” made from various grapes and in various styles. They also come in a spectrum of tints and shades, from pale pink to near-reds (depending on contact-time with grape skins). One of our current favorites is Evesham Wood 2009 Rose of Tempranillo ($13). Made by Russ Raney (sounds like rainy), the wine is pale pink but packs plenty of flavor — strawberries, sure, but also pie cherries, some pepper, hints of tangerine peel — a fine match for summer dining.

Fizzy fun is found in Gurrutxaga 2009 Rosé Txacholi ($19). Despite the stiff sticker, this is just so novel — it’s from the Basque region of Spain, the grape is txakolina (CHOColeena), and the wine is very pale pink and pours bubbly, flavors hinting of roses, red berries and citrus — gottahavit.

Raney is also experimenting with an increasingly popular Austrian white grape that complements cold meats, cheeses and dark breads: Evesham Wood 2009 Grüner Veltliner ($14.50, pronounced like Grooner VELTleener), crisply dry and clean, well-balanced, with distinctive notes of lime and minerals. Serve cool but not too cold, for best flavors. 

Got white, got pink, gotta have red: We really like the wines produced by Eugene surgeon Charles Stanton (made at Portland’s superb Boedecker Cellars). Stanton Vineyard 2008 Pinot Noir ($18.50) is rich in flavors of dark fruits, acutely balanced, and, considering the market, a firecracker bargain.

OK, Mole’s right, there’s no blue wine. Watch for the Round Mound and his cannon on the 4th. Happy birthday, Americans. ew