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- Posted in cinsult, france, granache, Italy, Nerello Mascalese, pinot gris/pinot grigio, sarah, Sauvignon Blanc
It is finally spring and, although here in Virginia our winter was a mild one, as far as the wintry stuff goes, this wine lover is ready for some warmer temps and brighter days! It is time to shed all the layers, clean off the patio furniture, and stock up on fresh and zippy wines to wake us up from our winter hibernation!
Are you a seasonal wine drinker? Do your wine choices change depending on the time of year, or weather outside? Or are you on the #RoséAllDay any day train? Will you drink a Sauvignon Blanc when you can keep it chilling on your porch or in a snow drift, or do you save that for sitting around the pool? The change in your wine itinerary may happen without notice of the season, but if you stop and think about it (over a glass of wine of course), your choices may change with the temps or the times. Not only do the temps change with the season, but our temperament and mindset might dictate what our desires are, as well. In the winter, with the chill in the air and less sunlight, serotonin decreases, and our mood may be more subdued, drawing you to “comfort” wines—fuller, deeper, and warming. In the spring, it’s all about springing forward, a new start and brighter, literally, days, drawing you to bright, crisp, fruity wines that are cheery.
Seasonal wine drinking is not only driven by pairing wines with the temps, it can also be dictated by the activities and foods that are prevalent at the time. Spring calls us outdoors, with the green trees and bright colors that now drape our landscape, where grey and dullness once were. It draws us toward picnics, patios, and poolside. The menu changes from comfort foods like stews and pot roast, to salads, burgers, or anything on the grill. It is also a time when people start thinking about new starts, healthier eating, and drinking. Instead of the big bold wines, you may wish lighter, less sugary, and cleaner wines.
Pairing wines with spring activities and food offers a lot of bright choices, and some you may not have considered. Some unique wines to try:
- Pair a 2019 Vento di Mare from Sicily, Italy, made with Nerello Mascalese, with what you are putting on the grill. It will pair great with everything from burgers or steaks to vegetables. Nerello Mascalese has some earthiness to it, but not the weight, and still has some “freshness” to it.
- Bubbles are always the answer, especially to cheer in spring! Sparkling wine from the Burgundy region, like NV Maison Albert Bichot Crémant de Bourgogne Brut Réserve, would be great with salads or a good book on the porch swing.
- Viognier, with its floral aromas, would be great with some mild cheeses while sitting around the patio. It makes a great companion while enjoying the flowers blooming all around.
- A white Bordeaux like 2021 Chateau La Mothe du Barry Cuvée French Kiss, containing primarily Sauvignon Blanc, offers gooseberry, peach, herbal aromatics, and is a great pairing for quiche or a picnic, with all the new aromas of spring-like fresh grasses.
- Pinot Gris may not be new to you; however, try 2019 Michel Fonne Pinot Gris from the Alsace region. It offers pear, citrus, white flowers and smokey notes. It is a very versatile sipper, and goes very well with an herbed, citrus-marinated chicken, or just being enjoyed on the terrace.
- A great pairing with a spring sunset would be an “amber” or “orange wine.” No, not a wine made of oranges, rather a wine that, due to the process, takes on an amber or orange hue just like that of a glorious sunset. It is a white wine, processed like a red, so there are tannins, and it usually has the weight of a red wine, so makes for a great transition from weighty winter wines.
- Of course, the first on everyone’s mind for spring is rosé. Rosés are usually released in the spring, when they are at their best. The southeast France region of Provence is the standard, with its many smaller subregions, like Bandol, are the standard in light bodied rosé. This week we are sampling 2021 Bernard Magrez Bleu de Mer from Pay d’Oc, France, which is made in the Provence style. This fuller-bodied French style rosé hails from Tavel, where the 2021 Domaine Corn-Loup will catch your attention. Rosé is so versatile, from appetizers, to fried foods, to fish; however, a great pairing for spring is beet and arugula salad with goat cheese!
Whether you consider yourself a “seasonal drinker” or not makes no difference. Your choices may be driven simply by mood or the time of day. Either way, drink what you like when you like it! We hope the list above sparks your interest to seek out something maybe new to you, to celebrate the coming of spring. Try some of the suggested choices and/or pairings and let us know what you discover!
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