(Light Red Wines)
© by Sheral Schowe
Red wine lovers are on the constant lookout for wines that will pair well with foods that typically cry out for something that will either cool down a hot and spicy dish, complement a simple vegetarian plate, or quench a thirst at a summer barbecue. If red is what you must have, there are some great selections available that are certain to satisfy any hot occasion.
Many red wines have too much tannin and sometimes too much alcohol to compliment spicy foods. They tend to set the palate ablaze. What do you think might happen if you poured alcohol on a fire? It accentuates it of course. The same thing happens when you wash down some of your favorite pepper-laden foods with a high alcohol, high tannin wine. You'll be searching for a cold beer or at least a glass of ice water before long. Here are some suggestions based on last week's class at Silverfork Lodge.
Affentaler Spatburgunder 1998, from Baden Germany ($10.95) is 100% Pinot Noir. You can't miss it in the wine store; it has a copper-colored monkey wrapped around the bottle. Germany's per capita wine consumption is 32 bottles annually, but in Baden alone, it is 53 bottles. That says a lot about the quality of the wine and how the locals support the wine industry in the southernmost wine-producing region of Germany. This rotwein (red wine) is fresh and fragrant, and elegant, with almond and baking spice flavors. There is some apple-smoked bacon on the finish, which I find interesting and delicious.
La Vis Pinot Nero 1998, ($9.95) is an Italian Pinot Noir from Trentino. Pinot Noir is one of the leading red varietals of Northeast Italy. It is not as intense in flavor as in its birthplace, Burgundy France, but is delightfully fragrant with fresh cherries and raspberries, velvety smooth, with a little spice on the finish.
Cline Cotes D'Oakley Vin Rouge 1997, ($6.95) is the bargain of the century. It is a blend of red Rhone varieties, some of which are 75 to 100 years old, grown in the sandy soils of Oakley, where the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers meet. Each of the grapes, Carignane, Mourvedre, Syrah, Grenache, Cinsault, and Alicante Bouchet, contribute something very special to the blend. It is a juicy, jammy, approachable wine that is full of berry aromas and flavors. It is incredibly rich for the low price.
Yalumba Oxford Landing Grenache 1998 ($13.95) from Angaston South Australia is an example of Grenache at its finest. This Rhone Valley grape is luscious and rich with cherry aromas and silky smooth tannins with an earthy elegance.
Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Villages ($8.95) is 100% Gamay from Beaujolais, which is officially part of Burgundy in East Central France. It is a light, refreshing wine with a beautiful fuchsia-purple color. It has bright strawberry aromas and a sharp, clean finish.
These wines, in the light and fruity style with their low tannin levels, are meant to be consumed now, or within a year for the utmost in enjoyment.
June 20, 2000