Tastes of Summer

Notable SamplesThe warmer weather makes us think about the exciting and memorable tastes of summer. But there’s more than barbecues to enjoy. What better way to celebrate the sunshine than with rosé, or wines that pair with vegetarian dishes? Vineyard Brands offers these wonderful suggestions to welcome the warmer temperatures. These three rosés, a white and two reds provided us with tastings that tout the transition to a new season. Specifically, read on for details about these six wines.

Tastes of Summer – Vegetarian Wines

Tastes of Summer - Vegetarian WinesWith the popularity of “Meatless Mondays” and vegetarian diets, vegetables have a more prominent role in our meals. Frequently, vegetables pair better with white wines that have similar herbal notes. But don’t count out reds. Vineyard Brands recommends Man Family Wines Chenin Blanc, Marqués de Cáceres Crianza Rioja, and Man Family Wines Merlot. In addition, here are some possible vegetarian recipes for pairing.

MAN Family Free-Run Steen Chenin Blanc 2022 ($12)

MAN Free-Run Steen Chenin Blanc 2022This South African white wine is crisp, expressive and mouth-watering, with minerality and vibrant acidity. Aromas of pear and pineapple lead into lovely flavors of apples and hints of peaches and tropical fruits. Steen, the traditional South African word for Chenin Blanc, thrives in the climate and deep soils of the region. Moreover, this refreshing white wine drinks above its $12 price point. While it’s a perfect summer sipper on a hot day, it pairs with vegetarian salad and crunchy pita bread. As well, a lemony sumac vinaigrette adds a flavor boost, which is a perfect match for the Chenin Blanc. Recipe by Sam Linsell of Drizzle and Dip.

MAN Family “Jan Fiskaal” Merlot 2021 ($12)

Man Family Merlot 2021Another beautiful wine from MAN Family, this Merlot is classic, with aromas and flavors of plums and dark cherries against a background of earthy, savory notes. In addition, layers of mocha, dark chocolate and blueberries entice. As a result, it pairs well with rich black beans and carmelized onions with a hint of sweetness. Recipe by Georgia Roux of A Bite of Vegan. Merlot is named for blackbirds – “merle” in French. This Merlot also carries the name of another bird. Jan Fiskaal is a fiscal shrike, commonly seen in the vineyards, and with a reputation for driving out pests.

Marqués de Cáceres Crianza Rioja 2018 ($20)

Tastes of Summer - Marques de Caceres Crianza Rioja 2018Crianza Rioja blends 85% Tempranillo with Graciano and Garnacha Tinta. Crianza is medium bodied, with barrel spices, balance and a lingering finish. Aromas of dark berries, cassis, flint, tobacco leaf and dried herbs lead into flavors of more dark berries, plums, licorice and walnuts. According to Marqués de Cáceres, the classic Spanish dish of Patatas Bravas can be enjoyed tapas style or as a side dish. Its bright red, slightly spicy, tomato-based sauce pairs nicely with this Rioja that can stand up to the various flavors of the dish.

Tastes of Summer – Rosé

Tastes of Summer RoseNational Rosé Day is today, June 10. But there’s always an occasion to “rosé all day!” We love to drink pink on our lakeside deck, and watch its pretty color match the gorgeous Washington sunsets. What a wonderful way to celebrate spring. Above all, rosés are food-friendly and wallet-friendly wines. For instance, pour rosé with seafood, shellfish, smoked salmon, salads, pasta and Asian dishes. Pair it with a lazy brunch. Or simply sip rosé without food.

Château Miraval Côtes de Provence Rosé 2022 ($28)

Chateau Miraval 2020This is the third vintage of Château Miraval Côtes de Provence Rosé that we’ve tasted, and their consistency, year over year, is remarkable. First, each vintage is a crowd-pleaser. What a lively, well-balanced wine, which blends Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah and Rolle, grown on clay and limestone. As a result, Miraval is fresh, vibrant and clean, featuring expressive aromas and beautiful flavors of red berries, peaches and citrus, laced with natural acidity, minerality and salinity, specific to the Provençal terroir. Second, this pale-pink rosé is in a lovely bottle, and is elegant, refined, and a perfect example of why rosé is so popular these days. Château Miraval is a project with Brad Pitt and world-renowned Famille Perrin.

J. de Villebois Sancerre Rosé 2021 ($27)

J. de Villebois Sancerre Rosé 2021This is 100% Rosé of Pinot Noir from France’s Loire Valley. Ballerina pink in color, with a pretty nose of raspberries, cherries, strawberries and citrus, echoed on the palate. A thread of minerality reflects the stone-and-clay slopes of Sancerre terroir. J. de Villebois Sancerre crafts a textured, crisp, outstanding rosé that is perfect to take to a party or to pair on your patio throughout the summer.

Domaine Delaporte Sancerre 2021 ($34)

Tastes of Summer - Domaine Delaporte Sancerre 2021Another impressive rosé from the Loire Valley, Domaine Delaporte packs a punch with this full-bodied 100% PInot Noir rosé. Aromas of raspberries, red currants, citrus and stone fruit mirror the palate, balanced by bright acidity. While the rosé is excellent as an apéritif on the deck, it can also be paired with charcuterie, spicy dishes and seafood. Located in the heart of Sancerre, Domaine Delaporte is a family business that has been passed from father to son since the 17th century.

Summary: Tastes of Summer

In conclusion, the warmer weather welcomes rosés, along with fruity reds and whites to pair with vegetarian dishes. So, put away those winter coats, bring out the deck chairs, and celebrate with these six standout wines from France, Spain and South Africa.

Thank you, Vineyard Brands, for the samples.

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Margot and Dave