Wines of Summer Recap

Post date: Aug 2, 2011 12:20:25 AM

With the help of David and Susan Spector we were able to definitively prove that you can have Satisfying Summer Sipping without spending a fortune. Susan and David were the perfect hosts on that hot and humid July evening.

The wines of Washington State were a real hit. The consensus was the 2007 Boom Boom Syrah from K Vintners was well worth its 90+ rating. This is a great case of not judging a wine by its label. Charles Smith makes great wines, but his marketing is almost comical. I've seen this recently for as little as $16 -- a real steal. We didn't try his Riesling, "Kung Fu Girl" because I was too embarrassed to put it into the cart. The wine is quite good but will need to be decanted to stifle the laughter.

The Riesling of remarkable value and complexity was the collaboration between Chateau Ste. Michelle and Dr. Loosen, the 2009 Eroica. This wine really surprised a lot of our guests that hadn't had a completely dry and complex Riesling. Fortunately Chateau Ste. Michelle has taken to sweetness-o-meter on the back label of the bottle to warn you if the wine is going to be really sweet. Last week Peg and I saw the Eroica for under $20 at Costco.

Another real surprise was the 2008 Chateau Ste. Michelle Columbia Valley Indian Wells vineyard Chardonnay. This was an overly oaky, butter bomb that bludgeoned you with butterscotch. It demonstrates that American producers don't have to hide the subtle flavors in the wine. Here is why the Wine Advocate gave it 88 points.

The Chardonnay offerings begin with the 2008 Chardonnay Indian Wells. Light gold-colored, it displays a nose of toast, pear, melon, and baking spices (thyme and tarragon). On the palate this medium-bodied effort has good volume, spicy flavors, and a lengthy finish. It is an excellent value in quality Chardonnay.

Most retailers are going to sell this for north of $20 but if you are patient you can find this on special at Costco for under $16.

The two blends -- 2007 Genesis and the 2008 Corvideae, The Rook from Columbia Valley both showed very well. The Genesis is a typical Bordeaux Blend (Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. The Rook is a blend of Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. There was no consensus on these two wines as it really was defined by your personal preference.

I've been asked for the recipe for the Sangria. Here is the best that I can remember:

Place the following into a bowl to macerate for several hours in the refrigerator

One or two Lemons sliced into thin rounds

One or two Oranges sliced into rounds

Some Sugar - clearly less than a cup but more than a quarter cup. It was sort of half-a-cup-ish

A couple of glugs of Brandy. You know the sound it makes when it is poured. Well, maybe it was more. Let's call it half a cup.

Just to balance it out, add about a half of a cup of Triple Sec.

When you are ready to serve this to your guests add about two bottles of red wine and two bottles of Cava (Spanish Sparkling wine). For the wine tasting we used the 14 Hands, Hot to Trot red meritage and Domaine Ste. Michelle's Luxe Champagne.

Hope you stay cool this summer.