Pin It

2006 Summer Wine Reviews 

Spark your summer fun with several of these delightful and refreshing wines. Whites, rosés and a few lovely reds match with lighter style cuisine and make up the menu for warm weather wining and dining.

The elixirs featured are ideal for summertime socials and those parties-of-two, or just to enjoy by yourself while watching a spectacular sunset or devouring the delicious memoir, My Life in France , written by the late Julia Child with grandnephew Alex Prudhomme.

The following selections include wonderful un-oaked white varietals from California, Australia and Spain, a couple of rosŽs Ñ one still and one sparkling Ñ from southern France, an amazing super Tuscan from Italy and several versatile, food-friendly Pinot Noirs from New Zealand and France.

Why not try them all and choose some new favorites. As always, listings on where to buy and drink wines were current at press time.

2004 Chateau Felice Acier Chardonnay
Chalk Hill, California
$18-$22 Retail

Sonoma's Chalk Hill region produces some of the most sublime Chardonnays in all of California. This wine, a treat for those who disdain over-oaked, too-rich, heavy butterscotchy Chards, is un-oaked and pleasant to drink because it allows the beautiful, natural varietal character of Chardonnay to shine through. Elegant and crisp, the wine's inviting nose offers aromas of lemon peel, pear and apple followed by bright citrus fruit and mineral notes on the palate. Good with a variety of dishes such as Coq au Vin, Shrimp Scampi and Trout Meuniere. Where to buy it: The Wine Seller, Martin Wine Cellar on Magazine street, Cellars of River Ridge, Hugh's Wine Cellar in Mandeville and Louisiana Star in Covington. Where to drink it: Pelican Club, Table One, Peristyle, Chateau du Lac and Etoile in Covington.

2004 Brancott Pinot Noir Marlborough,
New Zealand
$9-$14 Retail

New Zealand's Marlborough region may be better known for its racy Sauvignon Blancs, but the area's Pinot Noirs are also winning acclaim along with wine lovers' hearts. Marlborough's climate, with evenings cooled by maritime influences and daily doses of rays during the warm summer, produces an ideal growing season. An exceptional value, this light-bodied, elegant wine matured in a mixture of oak barriques and stainless steel tanks. In the glass, luscious ripe cherry aromas emerge followed by layered, complex flavors of dark berry fruit, hints of dry herbs and spice. Supple, with smooth tannins. Very food friendly. Good with tuna, grilled salmon, burgers and veal. Where to buy it: Sav-A-Center on Carrollton Avenue, Dorignac's and most Winn-Dixies on the West Bank.

2004 Vina Nora Albarino
Rias Baixas, Spain
$13-$17 Retail

The white wines of Rias Baixas, from the region's leading grape Ñ Albarino Ñ are renowned for their racy, refreshing character. Although wine-making was practiced by Spaniards of largely Celtic heritage in the tiny, almost isolated northwestern corner of the country just above Portugal for centuries, it wasn't until modern technology came to Rias Baixas twenty years ago that the wines achieved such worldwide distinction. The pale-colored wine entices with aromas of lime, ripe apples, mint and a touch of white pepper. On the palate, vibrant flavors of citrus, lemon peel and fresh fruit blend in this silky textured wine. A wonderful accompaniment to seafood. Where to buy it: Martin Wine Cellars, Whole Foods Markets, Cork and Bottle, Bacchanal and Dorignac's. Where to drink it: Rio Mar, Lola's, Vega Tapas, Martinique Bistro, One Restaurant, Dick and Jenny's and Mango House.

2004 Gnangara Sauvignon Blanc
Western Australia
$13-$15 Retail

Sauvignon Blanc has been called the perfect summer wine, and this wine from Australia's most southwestern wine region punctuates the point. Cold fermented in stainless steel, this easy drinking wine has retained its freshness and the full expression of its varietal character. One swirl of the glass and the classic aromas of passion fruit, lychee and citrus rise to the occasion. In the mouth, pungent, crisp flavors of green apple, lime and an herbal component combine in a balanced acidity with a zesty, clean, lingering finish. Made to drink young. Very food friendly. Good with mussels, goat cheese salads and risotto. Where to buy it: Prytania Liquor Store and Cellars of River Ridge. Where to drink it: CafŽ Amelie, Stella, La Cote Brasserie, Delachaise and Le Parvenu.

2003 Domaine Longval Tavel
Rhone, France
$14-$16 Retail

There are RosŽs and then there's Tavel. The world's most renowned RosŽ wines originate from the Tavel appellation in the Rhone Valley. A classic example of the best wines of the region, Domaine de Longval Tavel sources estate-grown fruit to produce their wines. The winery, which appears on the label, is located in a historic old mill just northwest of Avignon on the stony right bank of the Rhone River. Controlled maceration (exposure of the clear juice to the grape skins) extracts just enough color and flavor to imbue the wine with its bright pink hue. Made from 100 percent Grenache, the wine offers raspberry and strawberry aromas with rich, crisp, dry, red berry flavors on the palate. A wonderful accompaniment to warm weather foods, especially salads, crawfish boils, poultry, grilled sausage, pasta and picnic fare. Where to buy it: Sip Wine Market and Cork & Bottle.

2001 Castello Banfi Cum Laude
Montalcino, Italy
$30-$35 Retail

There has to be at least one big boy in the bunch for those steak and veal chop evenings and this super Tuscan from Castello Banfi fits that profile precisely. The first so-called Òsuper TuscanÓ broke the stringent Italian wine regulations more than 35 years ago. Its success resulted in other producers following suit. This wine from the respected although American-owned Castello Banfi Ñ known for their fine Chiantis and Brunellos Ñ is composed of 25 percent of a Banfi clonal selection of Sangiovese with 30 percent each Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot and 15 percent Syrah. The varietals were aged separately for 14 months in French oak barriques before blending into a complex cuvee with aromas of dark berry fruit, clove anise and black pepper followed by spicy ripe cherries, cassis and plum with firm tannins on the palate. Good with all hardy meat dishes, pasta and cheeses. Where to buy it: Martin Wine Cellar in Metairie, Dorignac's and Langenstein's. Where to drink it: Bacco.

2004 Claiborne & Churchill Dry Gewurztraminer
Central Coast, California
$16-$17 Retail

When it comes to Gewurztraminer, Claiborne & Churchill takes the prize as one of the premier producers of the varietal. From their small family winery on the Central Coast, they employ traditional winemaking techniques, perfecting the classic Alsatian style and making wines with great complexity, power and richness. An intense and aromatic carnation bouquet with spice notes leads into kumquat, nectarine, rosewater, nutmeg and orange blossom flavors. The alcohol level is balanced by lower acidity. A versatile and food friendly wine. Pairs well with a variety of foods but excels as an accompaniment to spicy ("gewurz" is German for spice) ethnic foods like Cajun, Chinese, Thai and Indian. Where to buy it: Langenstein's. Where to drink it: The Bistro at Maison de Ville and La Petite Grocery.

2003 Faiveley Bourgogne Rouge
$14-$15 Retail

For several centuries, the house of Faiveley has been making extraordinary Burgundies. One aspect that defines the house is the practice Ñ begun by the original founder's son (Joseph Faiveley, 1823-1923) of acquiring vineyards situated in the best appellations and terroirs. Grapes for this Bourgogne rouge, made from 100 percent Pinot Noir, could be sourced from anywhere in the region. Ripening was not a problem for the 2003 vintage as temperatures soared, developing aromatic wines with concentrated, complex fruit. Deep cherry scented, the well-structured wine is layered with lush red fruit flavors and well-integrated smooth tannins. Drink them now, but they will improve with cellaring over the next 4-6 years. Excellent with most food, but especially with red meats and soft cheeses. Where to buy it: Hoppers Wines and Spirits. Where to drink it: Louisiana Bistro.


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Pin It

Latest in Food & Drink Features

More by Brenda Maitland

Spotlight Events

  • Close Me Out @ Hi-Ho Lounge
    2239 St. Claude Ave.

    • First Saturday of every month

© 2018 Gambit
Powered by Foundation