Warm weather wines and more

WINE BUZZ: Buzzing about Red Velvet and Conundrum

Smooth, easy drinking wine that won’t break the bank … that’s
what I like. I like wine that tends toward the riper style of
wine-making and I also happen to like finding great deals.
Smooth, easy drinking wine that won’t break the bank … that’s what I like. I like wine that tends toward the riper style of wine-making and I also happen to like finding great deals.

Although many serious wine drinkers prefer a dryer style of wine – a wine that tastes better when consumed with a meal – there are many of us who prefer to have a glass of wine as an aperitif – either with or without any food. In our case, a wine that is smooth, with a lot of fruit and a bit of sweetness is just what we are looking for.

These riper style wines compliment all kinds of appetizers, cheese, and spicy and barbecued foods. And these are the wines, for the most part, that you will find in this column.

I am relying on word-of-mouth from you, my valued readers, or from my friends and family, to find out about great value wines.

I just learned about Cupcake Chardonnay after asking some of my best friends what they were pouring this summer. It was amazing how three different friends, unbeknownst to each other, all told me they loved this Chardonnay and had a bottle in their refrigerator. This is what I call a “buzz” and what will qualify a wine to be named in this column. Cupcake Chardonnay (2009, $8.97, found at Wal-Mart) is “light and creamy with citrus, vanilla and spice on the nose.”

Another crowd-pleaser for the warmer months is Kim Crawford, Sauvignon Blanc (2010, found at Costco for $12.99). This Sauvignon Blanc is a “crisp and powerful, well balanced wine with intense aromas of gooseberry, passion fruit and citrus flavors. This light to medium bodied aromatic wine is a great match with salads, seafood and vegetarian dishes and perfectly acceptable to be enjoyed on its own.” Wine Spectator magazine rated this a respectable 89 points.

Local Winery Buzz

Sarah’s Vineyard, 4005 Hecker Pass Highway in Gilroy, is a delightful winery that specializes in premium Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Rhone varietals.

One of my favorite wines is their Pinot Noir (2009, Central Coast, $27). The first thing you’ll notice is the fragrance of fresh strawberries. This wine is fruit-forward with flavors of blueberry and a vanilla note. It would pair well with roast pork or creamy cheeses.

My friends and I also love Sarah’s Chardonnay (2009, Central Coast, $25). This Chardonnay has gorgeous flavors of apple and citrus. Try it with seared scallops, drizzled with brown butter sauce and a squeeze of lemon.

Tim Slater, owner and winemaker, is generously offering a fantastic deal to readers – a “Buy Two, Get One Free” deal. For $50 you get three bottles of either the Pinot or the Chardonnay, which is only $16.67 a bottle. Be sure to clip this column and bring it with you.

There is a great story about how Tim came to own Sarah’s Vineyard several years ago. It seems that the previous owner was of a spiritual nature and before she would agree to sell it to Tim, she spent two nights in her tee-pee waiting for a vision to help her decide if he was the right person to take over her beloved winery. Thankfully, her vision appeared and was in favor of selling the winery to Tim. Ever since, Tim’s passion for winemaking has produced award-winning wines that are truly “music from the vineyard.”

Sarah’s Vineyard is located in a beautiful setting, with two professional bocce ball courts – free to the public – shaded by majestic oak trees. Bring a picnic and join Sarah’s for their Friday night live music events (also free), wood-fired pizza and other great meal offerings at reasonable prices. Visit www.sarahsvineyard.com for more information.

Thank you to everyone who has written about wines causing a buzz within their circle of friends. Please look for your recommendations in future columns.


Wine Munchie of the Week

Kick up your cheese and cracker plate a notch with Le Delice de Bourgogne, (a triple cream that is rich and buttery). This cheese is fantastic and you can spread it on Almondina Biscuits (looks like a sliced almond biscotti) or sliced baguette. Both the cheese and biscuits are found at Trader Joe’s.

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