White wine when it's hot? Not!
It's hovering just under 100F outside my office window again today (that's 38C for all of you in the rest of the world). It's been like this for week, there's no end in sight, and this morning's papers suggest that even the global climate-change deniers are suddenly starting to go "Uh, oh."
So, it's time to open up a bottle of ice-cold white wine, right?
Well, maybe not.
Wine enthusiasts seasonally speak of "summer sippers," the lighter, whiter, friskier wines that we can chill down and quaff when the weather outside is frightful ... frightfully hot. According to this theory, hearty reds are better saved for those crisp autumn days and on into frigid winter.
But doggone it, sometimes I just want a red. And after all, this is why we have air-conditioning.
So, the other day, when the outside temperature went over 100, I didn't think twice about slapping a couple of fresh, pepper-crusted locavore lamb chops and some garlic and fresh rosemary into a searing black-iron skillet.
I served it with a reasonably priced French red just made to match, a peppery and mouth-watering Brunel 2008 Chateau Saint-Roch Côtes du Rhône (featured below). I popped it in the fridge for about 45 minutes before dinner to bring it down toward cellar temperature (yes, it's okay to chill a red, just don't get it ice cold), and all was well.
I'd rather match my wine to the food than to the thermometer, thank you. Indeed, whites often go well with summer fare, from a refreshing shrimp salad to cool and spicy gazpacho. But there are plenty of red-wine-worthy cool summer dishes, too: Smoked salmon and Pinot Noir, anyone? Or a steak or lamb chop hot off the grill.
What do you think? Does sultry summer push you over to a steady diet of chilled whites and pinks, or are you willing to choose a red when it goes with dinner? Click here to tell us your preference and discuss this topic on the WineLovers Discussion Group.
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Hugh Johnson's 2011 Pocket Wine Book arrives early!
Hugh Johnson's Pocket Wine Book, a slim, fact-packed reference that I've used as a ready reference and updated annually since 1980, has just turned up on Amazon.com, an annual sign of autumn that seems to be a month or two early this year.
This trusty guide packs an incredible amount of information into a pocket-size volume, with short blurbs on thousands of wines, listed by country and region, rated, described, and listed with coding indicating which vintages are preferred and which are ready to drink.
I've already ordered mine, and when it arrives, I'll report a little more about what's new. If you, like me, just can't wait, you can click to buy it right now through WineLoversPage.com for $10.11, a 33 percent discount from the book store list price.
No Billing and No Shipping Until December with The California Wine Club
It's that time of year again when The California Wine Club offers deep discounts on holiday gifts reserved now.
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Pour yourself something cool, enjoy the summer sun and take a moment to make some holiday plans ... we know you will be glad you did.
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Today's Tasting Report
Brunel 2008 Chateau Saint-Roch Côtes du Rhône ($13.99)
Dark garnet with a transparent edge. Black and blue berries on the nose with just a touch of floral black pepper to add complexity. Mouth-filling, tart and snappy black fruit flavor, with a hint of plum and lemon-squirt acidity lingering. A typical Southern Rhone blend of 50% Grenache and 25% each Syrah and Cinsault. U.S. importer: Shaw-Ross International, Miramar, Fla. (Aug. 7, 2010)
FOOD MATCH: A wine made for red meat, fine with locavore lamb chops crusted with black pepper, pan-seared with fresh rosemary and garlic and oven-finished medium-rare.
VALUE: I'd buy more at this price.
WEB LINKS: The winery Website is available in French and English. Here's an English-language page about the Côtes du Rhône.
FIND THIS WINE ONLINE:
Compare prices and find vendors for Chateau Saint-Roch on Wine-Searcher.com.
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