Wines For “That Funny Time” Of Year

    The Wine Guy

    Not only do we find ourselves in that time of year when winter is trying to hang on and spring is trying to assert itself, this year, instead of showing ID for alcoholic beverages at the BJs or Costco checkout, we now have to show it for chicken. Anyway….

    If you actually find the chicken, try putting it in some Coq au Vin and try this recipe:

    A bottle of A to Z Pinot Noir 2016 Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon, ($19.99) will play perfectly with this meal. The winemakers here buy from over 50 vineyards across the state and it shows. You get a nose  that opens with vibrant notes of blackberry, blueberry, black cherry, raspberry, strawberry, red current, plum, thyme, sage and baking spices. The scents are lifted by lingering rose petal and violet aromas, while deeper notes of graphite, leather, and pipe tobacco bring depth. On the palate, the wine echoes the initial aromatics with juicy flavors of blue and red fruits and hints of secondary flavors like chocolate malt, dulce de leche, coffee and a bit of earthiness. There’s an awful lot in a small bottle!

    If you’re out on the grille, try some Oregano Lemon Grilled Calamari and a glass of Spier 21 Vintage Sauvignon Blanc, Stellenbosch, South Africa, ($23.99).  This is a fresh Sauvignon Blanc with aromas of fig leaves and gooseberry. The palate is richly textured and concentrated with flavors of passion fruit, lemon peel and sawgrass, all coming together for a refreshing finish. You’ll find that this is one of those wines that will drink even better in a few years than it does today, so lay a couple of bottles down.

    Whether it’s playful and fun or savory and serious, most rosé today is not your grandmother’s White Zinfandel, though that category remains strong. Pink wine has recently become quite trendy, and this time around it’s commonly quite dry. Since the pigment in red wines comes from keeping fermenting juice in contact with the grape skins for an extended period, it follows that a pink wine can be made using just a brief period of skin contact—usually just a couple of days. The resulting color depends on grape variety and winemaking style, ranging from pale salmon to deep magenta.

    The Chapoutier family of the Rhone Valley is making great Rose wines in addition to their other varietals and M. Chapoutier Cotes du Rhone Belleruche Rose 2019, ($14.99) is a prime example. Pale pink with bluish tints and aromas of red fruits (currant and raspberry) and citrus (grapefruit), complemented by exotic fruits. The palate is fresh, delicate and fruity on the entry with strawberry notes and a silky mouthfeel. Well balanced acidity creates a fresh, prolonged finish. Cheeses and salads of all types are just that much better with this one.

    If you’re reading this on the weekend and there’s some grilled ribs on the menu, grab a couple of bottles of Kim Crawford Pinot Gris, Marlborough, New Zealand, ($15.99). Noted for his Sauvignon Blancs, Crawford really brings out the dry spiciness that’s the benchmark of a great Pinot Gris. Pale straw in color, this Pinot Gris offers wonderfully lifted tree fruit aromatics of ripe pear and quince with honey, floral notes, and a touch of citrus. The palate is clean and fresh with Braeburn apple and florals adding complexity. Crawford’s definitely got the golden touch!

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