To me, the epitome of summertime in the Pacific Northwest is spending time outdoors with good friends, good food and nice glass of chilled wine.
The Washington Wine Commission recommends using a “low alcohol, high acidity, low temperature” criterion when choosing a summer wine. Their recommendations for making a selection include:
> Choose a wine with a lower alcohol content – between 11. 5 and 13 percent.
> Look for grapes grown in cooler areas because they generally produce wines that are higher in acidity. In Washington State, this would include all of the Puget Sound Appellation as well as areas around Lake Chelan, the Columbia Gorge and the west slopes of the Yakima Valley.
> Wines that are fruity, floral or herbal are often lighter in body.
> Wines that are unoaked or lightly oaked tend to be better when chilled than those that are more heavily oaked.
With this in mind, here are a couple of Washington wines I’ve tried as of late that make great summertime choices. Serve well chilled and enjoy!
San Juan Vineyards 2007 Siegerrebe (about $17) – Winemaker Chris Primus had a hard act to follow after his stunning 2006 vintage, but this siegerrebe is certainly a formidable challenger. The wine drinks almost like a sauvignon blanc, with lots of key lime and citrus flavors commingled with spicy aromatics. The initially crisp finish lingers just a bit to suggest the slightest whisper of sweetness.
Mount Baker Vineyards 2007 Rosetta Rosé (about $12) – I’ll admit that I’m not a big rosé drinker, but a wine like this could make me change my mind. Made from 100 percent sangiovese grapes, it displays a beautiful pink color and fragrant aroma of fresh strawberries. Complex wine flavors of rhubarb, kiwi, rose hips and more strawberry on the finish complete the package. Outstanding!
Next week: more new releases from Mount Baker Vineyards.