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As we struggle through above average June heat levels, the need for light refreshing wines becomes paramount. Sparklers are always appropriate, especially in such weather, and fresh medium bodied Chardonnays work well, too. Just because it is arrestingly warm does not mean that red wine is unservable. Lightness of being is the key phrase in determining one’s choice for aperitif service and for meal accompaniment. Of course, the whites should be served well chilled, but remember to keep the red wine temperatures below 70 degrees. Room temperature at this time of year is one step below sauna level. Even red wine should refresh, while we effervesce.
n.v. Chandon Blanc de Noirs Sparkling Wine, California
Chandon’s Blanc de Noirs is characteristically a delicate salmon color. Dark cherry, currant and strawberry dominate both aroma and flavor with hints of cassis and blackberry. These red fruit flavors build in the mid-palate and finish with a soft, lingering, creamy texture. The blend is 87% Pinot Noir, 7% Pinot Meunier and 6% Chardonnay.
n.v. Castellblanch Brut Zero, Sparkling Wine Cava of Spain
Three different indigenous white grapes make up this blend which is one-third each: Macabeo (mak-a-BAY-o), a delicate grape which adds elegance and finesse, Parellada (Par-e-YAH-dah), which provides a delightful floral aroma, fresh clean flavors and balanced acidity; and Xarello (Sha-REL-lo), the aromatic, earthy grape which gives the wines their strength and color. The winery produces more than 1.5 million cases sold throughout the world annually. This blend has a fine sparkle with a good release, forming a nice mousse. In the nose the aromas of the varietals predominate over the yeast, toast and earth aromas of ageing. In the mouth it is fresh, clean and well balanced.
2005 Kendall-Jackson Chardonnay, California
We have only a few cases of this wine with damaged labels and while they last will be sold at the ridiculously low price of 5.99 (half the normal price). Most people are acquainted with this brand and know it to be tropical in character, featuring such fruit associations as mango, pineapple and papaya. The oak is of medium intensity and calibrated to appeal to the greatest number of people.
2006 Edna Valley Chardonnay, San Luis Obispo Co.
The Nivens family planted Paragon, their estate vineyard, in the early 1970s and the Chalone Wine Group joined with the family to establish a partnership as Edna Valley Vineyard in 1980. Diageo Chateau & Estate Wines purchased the Chalone Wine Group in 2005. With its proximity to the ocean this vineyard allows for extended hang time developing rich, complex flavors while the ancient ocean subsoils impart a subtle mineral component This wine offers flavors of rich peach with sweet oak spice balanced by a crisp acid finish.
2002 Sagelands Vineyard Merlot, Columbia Valley
Sagelands sources its fruit from the four corners area of Washington. The wine displays aromas and flavors of red raspberry, plum, and Bing cherry with notes of blueberry, vanilla, and some hints of chocolate. This delicate and medium bodied wine shows a nice touch of liquorices and spices coming from the oak.
2006 Esser Merlot, Califonrnia
This wine has a large proportion of Monterey County fruit that is blended with lots from Lake County, Mendocino County, Solano County, the Carneros District of Sonoma, and an addition of 6.6% Syrah from Paso Robles, for extra weight and density. The aromatic profile of the wine reveals a combination of ripe plum and black cherry fruit, along with savory complements of cola, sweet tobacco, anise, and some vanilla and toffee notes of oak. The flavors are of baked stone fruits, spice cake, and espresso.