WHAT TO DRINK NOW
Some local wine guys talk late summer imbibing
BY SUZI STEFFEN
OK, you’re trying to eke out many more starry nights outside with corn and tomatoes and sweet onions on your plate. And what do you drink with the fish you bought at Newman’s or that grass-fed local steak you snagged from the farmer’s market?
We sauntered around to a few local wine shops to gather some recommendations. Keep in mind that Angus at the Broadway would have different and equally excellent recommendations, as would Tom at Jiffy Mart and your other favorite wine purveyors. This is merely a beginning for late summer drinking ideas.
First stop: Tim Shimmel at Midtown Wine Bar. Tim’s been running his place and pouring wine since Midtown opened last October. One of each wasn’t enough for him, so he recommends two.
First, the white:
Capitello 2006 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. $18.
“It’s a crisp one, from Ray Walsh (who used to be at King Estate). He has a guy he’s trained in everything from vineyard management to winemaking in New Zealand, so this is one of the New Zealand wines. It’s great for Thai food and spicy food, but it will also stand alone. It’s got lots of peach; it’s fresh and crisp with a zip in the front of the palate and some lemon as well.”
Podium 2004 Verdicchio from the Garolioli family. $18.
“This is one from a third generation family from the Eastern seaboard of Italy, the Marche. It’s for people who like what I call ABC — anything but chardonnay. It’s not as rich, but it smells like a Niagara grape with a little bit of biscuit in there.”
J. Scott Cellars 2005 Pinot Noir. $28.
“Jonathan Oberlander, the new winemaker for Sylvan Ridge, has this private label. It’s one of those reds that’s good for when you’re not quite in the mood for a red — it’s got great structure and tastes of cherry and tarry richness.”
Ca’Na 2004 Celebration. $15.
Tim loves this wine so much he offers a $3 discount for anyone mentioning this article when asking for the wine.
“This is a blend, with a nice meaty taste, a great barbecue wine. It’s aged in Hungarian oak, which is a special taste, nutty, chocolatey, with some cola. Enjoy it while it lasts!”
Second stop: Marché Provisions, where Ryan Dawe-Stotz is the cheese, wine and charcuterie buyer. We had a hard time ending a discussion of local cheese to get down to the wine, but eventually, it had to happen. Ryan was relatively restrained in his recommendations, holding to one each for red and white.
Aliança 2006 Vinho Verde. $9.
“This is a young wine, a white that’s lower in alcohol. It’s slightly carbonated with a little tiny spritz.
“It’s from the Alvarinho grape, the same as the Spanish Alvarino, one of the most versatile white wine grapes with food. It’s perfect for a fresh dinner, some vegetables, a little light snacking. The yellow tomatoes we’re seeing right now and the great goat cheeses from around here are good with it, and so is light fish. It has depth from the fruit and can stand up to anything. It’s bone dry and so good.”
Le Pas de la Beaume 2006 Côtes du Rhône. $11.
“This is a simple little Côtes du Rhône. When Rhônes started getting the spotlight about eight or nine years ago, they started trying to taste more American — juicier, heavy, jammy, concentrated.
“This one, though, it tastes like a Côtes du Rhône used to: light texture, full of fruit but not cloying. There’s enough acid to balance it, making it lively, exuberant and fun. It’s not going to overwhelm food, but there’s enough substance to handle grilled food. It’s also good enough to drink on its own. It works as a cocktail wine.
“The bottle says the ideal temperature is 16 degrees Celsius, and you’ll taste more of it if it’s at 55-60 degrees Fahrenheit.”
Finally, we hit Sundance Wine Cellars, where Mario Ramos pours at Friday night tastings. Mario couldn’t even hold to two apiece, but he didn’t recommend any reds, so we let him chat for a while.
Rosés: Mario likes rosés for the summer. “We have a lot of rosés, probably about 35 different varieties. Most are European with a good sampling of Oregon wines. Many people associate rosés with white zinfandel, which, as my nephew says, is like drinking a candy bar. We don’t carry white zinfandel.”
But he does carry and recommend many French rosés; these three are from the Languedoc and Provence. He says, “Lately, I’ve really been enjoying rosés from Provence. They make good rosés, and a lot of them have a unique character.
“Rosés are designed to go with food. That’s how it works in France; they’re part of the meal. Sometimes you have to hang out with a wine for a while to be able to appreciate it.”
Château de Nages 2006 Reserve. $15.95 (on sale for $14.95 right now).
“This Languedoc rosé is 70 percent grenache and 30 percent syrah, so it has an earthy style”
Domaine de Fontsainte Gris de Gris. $13.95.
“This is a Languedoc rosé, a grenache-based rosé. Personally, I think that’s what a rosé should be.”
Commanderie de la Bargemone Rouge $12.50
“These are really clean, truly dry, Mediterranean whites. They may have good fruit or be fruit forward, but they’re not going to be sweet. The French Provence wines, you don’t see a lot of them in the States because they all get consumed by the tourists in France, but they do pop up once in a while.”
Clos Val Bruyère 2004 Cassis. $17.95
“The grapes in Cassis are marsanne and clariette; some are ugni blanc. These are nice white Rhône varietals.”
Coteau Vanois 2005 Château Miravel. $15.95.
“This is from the rolle varietal.”
Argiolas Costamolino. $13.95 (on sale for $12.50 right now).
“This one is from Sardenia — I go beyond France! It’s made from the vermentino grape.”
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