Ah, summer! That is to say, it’s grilling season, and time for that special pairing of Barbecue Reds. So fire up the BBQ and bring out your favorite red wines. For example, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Syrah and Bordeaux-style blends complement ribs, juicy hamburgers or steaks. Likewise, don’t forget the reds such as Pinot Noir that pair so well with salmon, halibut or swordfish barbecued on cedar planks. For example, here are some BBQ Reds that we’ve tasted recently from Washington, Oregon and California. Further, we also enjoyed some other tasty reds from around the world.
Certainly, our enjoyment of warm weather whites increases every year. Until recently, our palates preferred Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris/Grigio. But these days, we also appreciate the beautiful Sancerres and Picpoul from France, in addition to the refreshing, wallet-friendly Turbiana grape from Lugana, Italy. Most importantly, there are so many wonderful wines to explore this summer. For example, here are some that we have tasted from Washington state, Oregon, California, Italy, France, Armenia and New Zealand.
Summer make us think of white wine on the deck or patio. But let’s not forget about robust reds to accompany tasty BBQs during the warm weather! Here are some good-value whites to sip with a summer salad or seafood such as prawns, scallops, sushi, crab or halibut, and some good-value reds for your BBQ. And there are also some bonus wines that are a bit pricier, and also work as a celebratory toast to Independence Day with friends.
Summer Sipper Whites
- 2014 Kenwood Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc ($13): Fruit from 28 vineyards went into this crisp summer sipper, and the result is a balance of citrus and tropical flavors plus some grassy characteristics and minerality.
- Louis Jadot Macon-Villages 2014 ($15): This is a Chardonnay that is clean rather than oaky, with apple and citrus aromas, mineral notes and fresh fruit on the palate.
- Santa Cristina 2015 Cipresseto Toscana ($14): If you like your rosé dry, try this one, with notes of jasmine and raspberry.
- Santa Cristina 2015 Pinot Grigio delle Venezie ($12): Refreshing with aromas of tropical fruit and orange flowers, we will be sipping on this during lazy afternoons on the lake.
- Drumheller Columbia Valley Chardonnay ($12): Smoky mineral notes on the palate make this a summer pleaser from a new label from Ste. Michelle Wine Estates — “a more restrained, yet elegant version of Washington’s expressive fruit.”
Bonus Whites: These whites are a slice of heaven on a warm evening by the lake, by the pool, on the deck or the patio.
Efeste 2014 Feral Sauvignon Blanc ($20): This beauty of a Sauv Blanc brought us back to drinking whites in 2009 after years of reds only. Feral, with native yeast fermentation, is a wild and lively wine with intense minerality and the perfect amount of citrus to keep us sipping on the deck until the sun goes down.
JM Cellars 2015 Sauvignon Blanc ($25): We first tasted this amazing white wine in 2009, shortly after we tried Feral for the first time. JM’s Sauv Blanc was fermented in 100% stainless steel, features both tropical and citrusy flavors, and is a refreshing favorite every summer.
Sequoia Grove Napa Valley Chardonnay 2014 ($28): This Napa wine shows aromas of pear, lychee, citrus zest and almonds, with a full range of flavors. We particularly like the citrus zest, which sets this apart from many Chardonnays that we’ve tasted.
- Double Barrel Shiraz ($20):
The rich Australian Shiraz was aged in Scotch whiskey barrels to provide complex, well-developed characteristics.
- Drumheller 2014 Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($12): A distinct Washington wine, we noted the delicate flavors and texture, with a silky finish.
- Drumheller 2014 Columbia Valley Merlot ($12): Another distinct Drumheller red, this merlot has lively aromas of blueberry and spice, with hints of cocoa and a soft texture.
Bonus Reds: These rich reds pair well with BBQ meat dishes, at a summer party or as a stand-alone wine by a beach bonfire.
Résonance Pinot Noir Résonance Vineyard 2013 ($65) – From the Yamhill-Carlton AVA within Oregon’s Willamette Valley, this lovely wine is a produced by winemaker Jacques Lardière, and is Louis Jadot’s first project outside of France.
2013 Jack London Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon ($35)
This beauty will pair perfectly with BBQ steaks in the summer (and also roast beef in the winter). This is our kind of cab – full-bodied, rich, robust, well-structured and elegant.
2012 Ferrari-Carano Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley ($65)
With such a beautiful nose, lovely aromas and concentrated fruit, this Reserve Cab is simply delicious.
Any of these wines would add to your July 4 celebrations too!
Of note, all of these wines except Efeste and JM Cellars were samples provided by the wineries. Thank you!
Cheers to the long lazy days of summer BBQ’s and sipping wine outside.
Margot and Dave
You’d better move quickly – tickets are now on sale for the Seattle Wine and Food Experience at Seattle Center Exhibition Hall. If you like good wine, beer and food, mark your calendars for this delicious experience on Feb. 23, from 1-5 p.m.
New this year is a VIP experience,which includes a one-hour early entry, an event tote bag, wine glass and tasting plate, plus an opportunity to win a variety of wine-related prizes.
This year’s featured region is Woodinville Wine Country, with pours from many excellent wineries, including Alexandria Nicole Cellars, , Obelisco and The Woodhouse Wine Estates. Other Washington AVAs are represented by Double Canyon, Kiona and Red Mountain AVA Alliance, among others.
Some of our Oregon favorites — Seven of Hearts, King Estate and Willamette Valley Vineyards — will be be pouring, along with wineries from California, Idaho, Italy, France, Spain, Portugal and Argentina.
You can find a full list of wineries that will be pouring, along with beer and cider, spirits, and coffee, in addition to information about numerous restaurants serving gourmet bites, at the Seattle Wine and Food Experience website. Tickets are $55.
It’s important to note – this is the sixth annual SWFE, which is testimony to the reputation and following that this event, with its explosion of tastes, has generated in Seattle.
So run, don’t walk to get your tickets! We hope to see you there.