Wine to me is passion. It's family and friends. It's warmth of heart and generosity of spirit.
Robert Mondavi

Monday, July 27, 2009

Terrific wines for the Summer

The summer is made for picnics, hikes, and barbeques. The summer is also made for two very special wine varietals, Zinfandel* and Sauvignon Blanc. It is amazing how two such amazingly opposite wines can both embody the same season so precisely. Zinfandels are bold, oaked and full-bodied red gems. Sauvignon Blancs are citrusy, light and crisp whites. What they do have in common, is that they both perfectly pair with summer fare.

Zinfandels and the grill are best friends. They seriously should go everywhere together. Pair a beautiful California Zinfandel with barbeque chicken and ribs or a grilled steak and you will not be disappointed. I also find them (as well as Sauvignon Blanc) exceptionally pleasant to sip on their own, but food really brings out the best in them. The Zinfandel we will be reviewing today is the 2006 Ridge Vineyards Geyserville, Sonoma, California.

Sauvignon Blancs, with their delicate characteristics pair very well with seafood (grilled or boiled, especially shrimp. When I think of Sauv Blanc I think of a fresh spinach salad with grilled shrimp and a light vinaigrette or lemon juice to dress it (OK, my mouth is watering). When picking a Sauvignon Blanc, the 2008s from Marlborough, New Zealand were amazing. Of those, the one we will be reviewing today is the 2008 Nobilo Icon.

2006, Ridge Vineyards Geyserville, Zinfandel, Sonoma, California - $35
Ridge Vineyards of California consistently produces some of my top choice Zinfandel's. For the past three vintages, Geyserville Vineyard, in Sonoma County has been my favorite of the Ridge vineyards. The 2006 is a wonderful meaty wine, with lush, dark berries taking over the aroma. On the palate you may find that raspberry and pepper dominate. A very appealing wine that is a perfect accompaniment with heavier grilled foods (beef, pork, vegetables and meaty fish).

Wine Spectator gave this a 90, but I believe it is a solid 91. 90 is just a little too marginal for me, this is an outstanding wine (Wine & Spirits agreed, scoring it a 92).

2008, Nobilo Icon, Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand - $15
When I first came about this wine, I was doing some research at the local liquor store. I decided that it was a nice day for a refreshing Sauvignon Blanc, so I picked it up. It was kind of like finding a Benjamin in your jeans pocket! My favorite Sauv Blanc!

Upon first pour, the grapefruit aromas intoxicate and refresh you instantly. On the palate you pick up the grapefruit as well. After the grapefruit you get a hint of lemon zest along with slight minerality. Not to mention that the acidity is perfect! You put these components together and you have one terrific wine.

Wine Spectator scored this a whopping 92, but that is not even enough for me. When you factor in the aroma, brilliant visual appearance, terrific structure and complexity, and finally the palate, you have a wine that is safely a 94 for me. Not quite a classic, but very close!

*Important Notice* I by no means was referring to White Zinfandel. Blah!

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