It’s almost summer again, and for those of us who’ve already started spending time in the backyard it certainly feels like the outdoor wine drinking season is upon us. Even if you’re a devoted barbecuer through- out the winter, the glass that’s in your hand while you’re grilling dinner in the snow (cuddling up to the beautiful warmth of your flaming cast iron machine) is probably going to change when in your shorts and the sun is beaming down on your brunch that’s sizzling away. You won’t need an icebreaker but rather some really cool juice to keep that fire at bay.
Of all the countries that offer beautiful wines, Italy is certainly among some of the top in the world. From this grape-blessed country, there are two beautiful whites called Fiano di Avellino and Greco di Tufo, both from the legendary winery house of Mastroberardino
that you absolutely must try.
Fiano di Avellino is a somewhat rare and refined wine, often only recognized and consumed by wine buffs. Its name comes from the grape as well as the wine region and classification (Avellino is in Campania where Napoli resides in the lower west side of Italy, and Fiano is the grape variety). Often known for its elegance and beautiful floral, pear and sometimes nutty aroma, it can be a fairly full in mouth-feel, yet somehow delicate– the acidity has much to do with this. This Fiano di Avellino is the 2014 by Mastroberardino, and would be a classic match with seafood pasta such as Linguini and clams (known as Linguini Alle Vongole), some light fish and certain soups such a chilled asparagus. This wine is $22.95 and is imported privately due to its uniqueness.
The Greco di Tufo also a 2014 made by Mastroberardino is equally as rare. The style of this wine has many similarities to the Fiano because it’s from the same area in Campania (Tufo sits north right above the bordering Avellino area, but the grape variety is Greco rather than Fiano). It also has good acidity and complements similar dishes to the Fiano, but it works well with white meats as this particular wine tends to be deeper in colour, slightly nuttier at times and can be more intense, with aromas of apricots and pear or tree fruit.
We can’t forget about the bubbles! There is one sparkling wine from Washington State called Michelle Brut that is absolutely tasty and far too easy to drink, no matter what you’re doing. It is dry hence “Brut” on the label, and is made mostly of the traditional Champagne grapes Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, with some Pinot Gris, all grown in Columbia Valley. It has delicate flavours hinting of apple and citrus aroma, with a nice refreshing acidity and a beautiful mousse feel. It is not as bone dry as most Brut Champagnes, which makes it even easier to drink earlier in the day…one could sip this at brunch with bagels and lox, dips, some grilled calamari or all by itself! The wine is a steal at only $16.85 at the LCBO!
Let’s talk reds; in fact let’s talk about an incredible high-end California producer whose wines are sought after worldwide, one of which is $200 a bottle (the cost of a propane barbecue on sale)! However, this famed Winery Producer, ‘Ray Signorello’ happens to make three delicious affordable reds more in line with the cost of a good 12oz. grain-fed rib-eye steak. These wines in particular are all between $18.95 and $37.95, which is fantastic for a quality California wine.
2012 Trim Cabernet Sauvignon, a softer medium-bodied California Cab with some Merlot from a tremendous grape growing year (2012 was good for them). This wine has aromas of plum and berries with an easy pleasing finish. This will go well with many grilled red meats, as it’s not bitter or very tannic (that dry dusty-in-the- cheeks sensation that some of us love while others don’t if they are white wine drinkers). It will actually go well with lighter meats, such as grilled pork or veal, and why not the hamburger? The Trim is $18.95 and touted by American wine critics as ‘A bargain of the century’, so why not try it this summer?
The 2012 Edge Cabernet Sauvignon at $29.95 is all Napa Valley fruit, with a little bit of Cabernet Franc & Petit Verdot added (important Bordeaux grapes that are part of the final blends in a great Chateau wine). It was aged for 16 months in French Oak barrels, so it’s fuller in body and flavour concentration but still soft and silky, making it smoother to drink than a classic Bordeaux when young. This wine is a tremendously great value for classic Napa (Napa Valley wines often start at $40 and $50 these days and typically run over $100). Definitely consider drinking the Edge 2012 with roasts and other red meats, but if you want grilled salmon with it, the great Dionysus & Bacchus wine gods wouldn’t be angry with you. Of course this wine would also be fantastic all by itself, in front of a nighttime fire at the cottage!
Finally 2012 Fuse Cabernet Sauvignon at $37.95 is wonderful and delicious, made up of 75% Cabernet, with 11% Merlot and a little bit of Syrah, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. With flavours of blackcurrants, dark fruit and some vanilla due to the oak aging, the mouth-feel is supple and medium-bodied. What a lovely wine to drink with a T-bone steak and peppers! It isn’t heavy but rather full flavoured and tangy. All the grapes were grown on prime Napa Valley Hillside and floor vineyards, not a wine you’ll find at $20 a bottle rest assured.
All of the featured wines can be purchased through Profile Wine Group via Allan Leal at 416.598.0033
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