Do you have a particular place you like to drink wine? Do you live someplace where the climate allows you to enjoy a sidewalk café? Maybe you have a favorite restaurant or bar, perhaps you live near a beach or a lake and enjoy sipping while watching the waves. You might even know about a park or garden that is fine with the fruit of the vine and is a paradise all your own.
According to Google Earth I’ve seen 29% of the planet, so I think it’s safe to say I’ve had a few opportunities to find that perfect wine spot. I’ve drank wine in Rome, London, Athens, and Jerusalem. I’ve sipped fine wines on cruise ships with dinner as we graced the Atlantic. Funny thing is, in the end I didn’t have to go that far, because it turns out the best place to drink wine is in my back yard. Either by the fire pit or on my patio Josephine has made our backyard HEAVEN, a place where you leave the world’s cares at the front door and enter paradise, if only for a few hours. There was this place in Sicily that gave me a run for my money, but technically that was my backyard too.
I’m writing about this because I was able to use my backyard for the first time this spring and the old mojo was working. For a few hours I escaped electronics, deadlines, quotes, deliveries, taxes, politics, crazy sales people, chaos, tumult and confusion and enjoyed a great glass…okay…a great bottle of wine while the weight of the world went floating by like so many clouds above me.
The wine was Dona Paula Los Cardo, a Malbec from Mendoza, Argentina. This wine had me at hello. The color was a beautiful purple-red. The nose was a spirited blend of sweetness, spice, and intense aromas of berry fruit and roasted nuts. If you love fruit-forward wine this is a best-buy alert! The palate was fantastic: soft, velvety and fresh. You’ll love this wine with everything from fancy meals, to entertaining with appetizers, or just sitting in a back yard on a sunny Sunday afternoon after doing some yard work and feeling relaxed for the first time in a long time.
This wine makes me feel like singing the old Coke song “I’d like to buy the world this wine and teach the world to sing in perfect harmony, grow apple trees and honey bees and snow white turtledoves.” For me, wine really has become the healing balm of Gilead; a brief rest from a world just gone mad, which was one of the historical uses for wine anyways. Recently, I shared my wine haven with my son, his wife, and my daughter-in-law for a perfect Father’s Day lunch. So friends, do the same: find your spot, open your wine, and realize that for all its sham and drudgery this is still a dilly of a planet with plenty of places to enjoy a bottle. Remember wine is liquid sunshine.
“Sometimes you have to stop and sniff the corks!” -Arna Dan Isacsson
Last week I said no Riesling, absolutely not, and that we would not consider any Riesling wines in our search for the Great White Wine of 2013. Did I really say that? Maybe I said Reichensteiner and just spelled it wrong! Where’s Jay Carney when I need him?
The reason for my grief is I enjoyed one of the best bottles of white wine I’ve had in a while, the D.R. Loosen Bros. 2011 Riesling. I had purchased this wine after reading an article in Wine Spectators magazine on German Riesling. Folks, this was the BOMB! Overlooking the Mosel River , the wine is grown on an Estate that has been passed down for 200 years. The vines are on average 60 years old.
The color is a clear yellow. The wine had a noteworthy nose, which surprised me the most because most whites are like sniffing water. I found an inviting aroma of apples and pears. The taste was sweet, refreshing, and it tasted thick. One critic said it was like an apple pie filling, a gross exaggeration, but it is sweet and thick. Again, I got the apples, and pears, and I think a hint of grapefruit. The main reason I liked it was it was refreshing and paired well with my spicy Buffalo wings. I liked the wine so much I purchased another bottle.
The wine snobs hammer the Loosen Bros, with one saying, “Yet another of those American Style overly-sweet Rieslings.” Goodness, I’ll go hang my head in shame for being sweet and one of the most popular Rieslings on the market. Gees.
Wine Spectator routinely awards this wine high marks and praise despite its modest price point of only $12. Wine Trials, a publication that blind tastes under-$15 bottles against $50 had this wine coming out on top. My suggestion is to go buy a bottle and try it yourselves!
Now, I’ll tell you the search for the Great White is in full swing. One variety that has been added to the list is Gruner Veltliner from Austria . Until I got the e-mail I had never heard of this grape, so it went right on the list. If you have suggestions for a vineyard send it along.
I have a La Segreta form Sicily a blend of 50% Grecanico, 30% Chardonnay10% Viognier and 10% Fiano on deck in the cooler. We have Collidi Lapio from Italy , that’s made from the Fiano Grape. Then from Spain we have Columna from the Albarino grape. So get you suggestions in, the list is filling up!
A few e-mails have indicated I might be limiting myself with the exclusion of Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, and Sauvignon Blanc. I still say the summer is the best time to experiment with wine, so have fun and let your hair down a little bit.