If the last few days are any indication, the warm weather appears here to stay; here are a few suggestions to go along with it.
Arnot-Roberts Watson Ranch Napa Chardonnay, 2016, Carneros, ($39.99).
This chardonnay has got some real meat on its bones. It’s a beautifully full-bodied wine with stellar minerality and layers of flavors. It’s a beautifully full-bodied Chardonnay with stellar minerality. Have it alone as an aperitif to fully explore the layers of flavors. After that, try it with a homemade lobster roll, seared scallops or breaded chicken cutlets drizzled with a lemony brown butter-caper sauce. That’ll be another win in the Napa column. Have this one with a lobster roll or seared scallops; it will lift any seafood dish to the next level.
COLLALBRIGO BRUT PROSECCO, NV, ($17.99), the Wall Street Journal recently wrote a little ditty about bubbles and pub grub, “Pairings That Pop”. Basically, bubbles, specifically Champagne, has traditionally been paired with tony foods like caviar and foie gras, but the trend is to match it with more every day, lowly foods. Champagne schmampagne. We love it for many things but are just as happy opening the far more gently priced Italian version to go with some fabulous buttermilk fried chicken. Bring on the Prosecco winelovers!! This Collabrigo is not just any Prosecco, either; it is the original Prosecco that Harry’s Bar in Venice used to invent the Bellini! It’s now Cipriani’s house pour. You can make it your house pour too! It will be delicious with any fried food. Will you have zucchini blossoms in your garden this summer? Stuff them with minced chives, fresh ground white pepper, sea salt and creamy chèvre and you might swoon at the combination. Gently browned bite-sized crab cakes. Potatoes sautéed in duck fat, sprinkled with sea salt. One of our new favorites: conch fritters. Don’t forget: it’s not just for the savory foods. Open another bottle and fill everyone’s glasses for dessert too. Peach tart. Apple or blueberry fritters. Che cosa siete affamati di?
Recently, we celebrated National Chardonnay Day. (If you missed it, no worries; I’m allowing a make-up day!). In honor of this special day that is dedicated to America’s favorite wine varietal, along with Wente Vineyards’ 135th anniversary celebration, the Wente family has launched a special, limited release Celebratory Chardonnay. Wente Central Valley Chardonnay, 135th Year Edition, 2016, ($74.99), is pricey, but worth every penny.This is an enviable winery run by Stephen Hansel with exceptionally high-quality Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs that he sells at modest prices, which speaks to his humility and commitment to serious wine consumers. There are more than 80 acres of estate, so it is not small, split evenly between Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. He breaks the cuvées down by their vineyard terroir/site.
Even in this kind of weather, there’s still room for an occasional glass of red. Walter Hansel South Slope Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, 2015, ($44.99), is that red. This is an enviable winery run by Stephen Hansel with exceptionally high-quality Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs that he sells at modest prices, which speaks to his humility and commitment to serious wine consumers. There are more than 80 acres of estate, so it is not small, split evenly between Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. He breaks the cuvées down by their vineyard terroir/site. It really pairs well with Duck Confit, Tuscan Chicken or Wild Salmon.
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