Each year around this time I think about how I want to stock up my little wine collection with the wines that will amaze… no … astound any guests that visit throughout the “dog days of summer.” This year is no exception… except I’ll keep it simple. I want to get back to the basics with those varieties that scream, “Hey I’m still here… remember me!”
Here is a short list of wines I’ll be keeping around … ones that are the “go-to” wines when we have a drop-in guest at our house or if we’re putting on a soiree for our neighbors. Listen, it’s not a long list, so go to your local wine store and pick up these wines and enjoy! All but one of these wines, you should be able to purchase fairly easily.
- Pine Ridge – Chenin Blanc/Viognier Blend 2012 – This wine has some great crispiness and ripe peachy stone fruits at the same time. I buy a case or two just in case I have more people who like white wines than red. Perfect with grilled salmon or a simple hummus, olives, cheese and crackers.
- Kim Crawford – Sauvignon Blanc 2010 – Herbaceous aromas with lime and some tropical fruits on the palate. Show me the mussels and oysters with this wine. It’s a great bottle to take to a friend’s get-together or drink late at night at the pool.
- If you can find Edmeads Zinfandel 2008 grab a case… Winemaker David Ready, Jr., adds some Petite Sirah and Syrah to give this amazingly lewd, berry-driven Zinfandel its Pizzazz. This wine would pair well with some smelly cheese such as Stilton, Stinky Bishop, or even Brie de Meaux.
- Mosella Riesling 2007 Kabinett Feinherb ($22) is most likely my favorite Riesling of all time. It is impossible to find outside of Florida. Mark Wallraff, the wine producer is a personal friend (a little bias)… he only makes Rieslings from 100% juice… no added sugar like the other producers in Germany. You wanna try this, e-mail me and I will send you the details to order. This wine is perfect with some fruit and cheeses, Thai food, or sushi.
- Cashmere by Cline Cellars ($18-$20). Listen, get any Cashmere and it is awesome wine for almost any dish you can produce. Unfortunately the early years are all sold out. Still I recently tasted the 2012 and it is amazing with a blend of Granache, Mourvedre and Petite Sirah with some cherry, raspberry and chocolate, and hints of cracked black pepper. In my opinion this wine can stand up to a grilled T-bone steak and yet can be seductively elusive with a delicate poached snapper or some homemade sliders.
However you choose to spend your summer, stock up on some great wines for yourself and your guests.
Scott Richardson has been in the hotel and restaurant business for almost 30 years. His love for producing remarkable food and service evolved to his love for all things wine. Scott has worked at many prestigious locations including The Cavendish Hotel, in London England and The Grove Park Inn and Resorts in Asheville, NC, as well as Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando Resorts as General Manger of several restaurants. His culinary background and his love for wine pushed into the teaching profession with University of Central Florida’s Rosen School of Hospitality Management, Valencia College, Johnson and Wales University and New England Culinary Institute, where he wrote Advanced Food and Wine Pairing, currently being offered as part of the school’s BS in Food and Beverage Management degree. If that was not enough, Scott is also a volunteer judge at several food and wine festivals in Central Florida throughout the year. In his spare time, Scott writes for The Park Press, his column “The Educated Palate” can be found at www.theparkpress.com. Scott is currently pursuing his passion in wine by working towards his PhD in Hospitality Leadership with research in the wine tourism industry. Scott can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can follow him on Twitter @1educatedpalate.