Wines for Summer
"Summer's here and the time is right to be dancing in the streets." This is a time for celebrating life, hanging out with friends, wearing gaudy bright '80's clothes and Reebok's while dancing around with a mullet. As the weather heats up I've got a few wines for summer that are all business in the front, and a party in the back.
Sure, you could drink the usual summer whites but if you want to geek out and drink something freaky look no further. Open up your mouth baby birds, mama bird has 3 fat night crawlers for you:
1. Do Ferreiro Cepas Vellas Albariño - Rias Baxias
After drinking this I almost wanted to change my name from Rick Bakas to 'Rias Baxias'. Made from some of the oldest vines in the world (over 200 years old!) natural yeast fermentation and 12 months of stainless steel tank fermentation result in a very special wine.
There's great intensity and focused acidity in this wine, but the real show is the expressive minerality consistent from vintage to vintage. Half the fun of this wine is picking out all the gorgeous stone fruits as they emerge from the glass.
Younger vintages are a bit chunky at first, so it might be a good idea to lay it down in the cellar to let it mellow out a bit. If you can find one that's at least 3 years old you should ready for an enjoyable experience. One of Spain's great white wines is a wine geek wine to discover this summer.
2. 2008 Weingut Knoll Riesling Smaragd Ried Loibenberg
During SXSW this year I had a chance to enjoy this wine with Master Sommelier, Craig Collins. He was so excited when we opened the bottle, it was like watching a kid on Christmas morning opening the biggest present under the tree.
Master Collins literally had a smile from ear to ear with good reason. Knoll makes freaky juice, the kind that rewards wine professionals at the end of the day. If wine is supposed to be fun, this wine is like bringing a bipolar drama queen to a party hopped up on Xanax. In other words, it's a blast!
As if Riesling wasn't enough of a wine geek favorite to begin with, Weingut Knoll takes it to another level. Precision, molar-cleansing acid and loads of crushed rock, lush white peaches, key lime zest and granny smith green apple all come together like Voltron in the glass. It'll drink well young, but will only get better over time.
3. 2010 Ryme Vermentino - Las Brisas Vineyard
California is well known for its Chardonnay's but one grape varietal you might not have seen coming is Vermentino. Interest in Vermentino seems to be growing in places where other white wines have reached their saturation point. Last year I travelled across Australia and found Vermentino production on the rise from King Valley to McLaren Vale and Margaret River. Its bright, clean aromatic profile makes it a great alternative to the standard whites like Chardonnay or Pinot Gris.
Ryme actually has two versions of this wine—"His" and "Hers". The "His" version benefits from long skin contact and barrel fermentation which gives the wine a fat mouthfeel. "Hers" is summer in a glass, spending less time in stainless steel tank whole cluster fermentation. "His" is a nod to Italian producers like Dettori and Mass Vecchia while "Hers" is inspired by wines from the Ligurian coast or Gallura in Sardegna.
Either way, you can't go wrong. Ryme's Vermentino comes from the Las Brisas Vineyard located on the Sonoma side of Carneros where cool breezes coming off the San Pablo bay compliment the silt and gravel soils at the end of the Petaluma Wind Gap.