Wines of the Week: Sultry Summer Sippers Perfect to Celebrate the Fourth of July & Beyond!

I recently posted a little sentence completion exercise on my Facebook page that read: “It’s hotter than___________.” The results were quite hilarious ranging from “fried wool” to “the hinges of Hades” – point being, I have very witty Facebook friends and in many places of the country it’s just plain HOT!

Last month’s installment of “The Art of Wine & Food,” entitled “Sultry Summer Sippers,” featured wines recommended to help you beat the South Florida heat. With temperatures over 100 degrees this early in the season – what’s a wine lover to do?

The following wines are some fabulous options for this time of year and also pair remarkably well with a variety of Summer cuisine, from seafood to BBQ! At our Museum event, we were fortunate to have joining us the talented Chef Martha Clemons, Owner of L’Hermitage Catering, who prepared a delicious dish to pair with each of our featured wines.

Wine #1 Bodega Don Olegario Albariño, Rias Baixas, Spain, 2012

Don Olegario is an artisanal winery founded in the 1950’s in the Rías Baixas region of northwest Spain. They are top producers of Albariño, the region’s signature white grape. Albariño is a late ripening, moderately cool to warm climate grape variety. Wine made from this grape is usually light, elegant and fresh with good acidity. It can also be quite aromatic, with peach, nectarine and floral aromas.
The grapes for this wine were hand harvested and underwent a cold maceration before fermenting in stainless steel vats at controlled temperatures. The wine then spent eight months on the lees to add texture and body before i was filtered and bottled.
The 2012 Don Olegario Albariño has opulent aromas of white flowers and flavors of citrus, golden apple and tropical fruit. The wine is ripe, fresh and full-bodied, with a long finish. In keeping with the saying, “if it grows together it goes together,” this wine, grown and cultivated in close proximity to the ocean, pairs deliciously well with seafood, especially shellfish, as well as poultry, rice dishes and soft cheeses. Chef Martha prepared a delicious Citrus Crab Salad to pair with this wine which synergized with the wine’s citrus notes and mouth watering acidity.
91 points, Wine Spectator ($18, Wine Atelier)

Wine #2 Halter Ranch Rosé, Paso Robles, California, 2012

Halter Ranch is a vineyard and winery located in the heart of Paso Robles, California which produces Bordeaux and Rhône-style wines.
The history of the Ranch dates to the 1880′s when it was part of a 3,600 acre holding owned by businessman Edwin Smith. In 1881, Smith built a grand Victorian farmhouse on the property and after the house burned down in 1885 he promptly rebuilt it and enjoyed 12 more years presiding over the land until his business failed and he was forced to sell. The ranch changed hands several times since Smith’s ownership and in June, 2000 Swiss born Hansjörg Wyss purchased 900 acres of the land, renovated Smith’s historic farmhouse, and began enlarging the vineyard to its present 280 acres.
The 2012 Halter Ranch Rosé is a blend of 68% Grenache, 15% Mourvèdre, 12% Picpoul Blanc, and 5% Syrah. The grapes are destemmed and lightly crushed, with 24 hours of skin contact. They are then pressed and fermented in stainless steel tanks where they are aged 3 months; there is no oak barrel aging. This wine has lovely aromatics of wild strawberries and watermelon, is refreshing and juicy on the palate, and finishes crisp and dry. It is very reminiscent of rosés from the Southern Rhône. Enjoy this wine alone as an apéritif or pair with charcuterie, grilled vegetables, or light pasta. Chef Martha prepared delicious Charcuterie with Manchego cheese and Roasted Asparagus to enjoy with the wine. ($15, Wine Atelier)

Wine #3: 3 Rings Shiraz, Barossa Valley, Australia, 2007

3 Rings was founded in 2004 and soon after it’s inception began earning 90+ ratings in the world wine media for its Shiraz and Reserve Shiraz from the Australia’s famed Barossa Valley. Kym Teusner, widely considered one of the rising stars of the Australian wine industry, is the brand’s winemaker.
The vineyards for 3 Rings Shiraz lie on an east-west slope with predominantly north-south rows, with an average age of the vines being 35 years. The soils are ancient and primarily clay over calcrete and slate bedrock, moving to more weathered slate at the bottom of an ancient glacier.
The 2007 3 Rings Shiraz is a full-bodied wine made from 100% Shiraz grapes with a deep red color and a garnet hue. It has aromas of black currants, ripe plum, mint and spice, while on the palate are notes of ripe plums, black cherries, dark chocolate and coffee. The fruity complexity is finished with a layered tannic structure that is balanced by a lovely acidity. This wine will pair well with the bigger flavors of Summer including BBQ, burgers and smoked meats. Chef Martha’s Stilton Sirloin Slider with Onion Jam was phenomenal with this Aussie Shiraz. 90 points, Wine Spectator ($16, Wine Atelier)

For more about Chef Martha Clemons and L’Hermitage Catering, please click here. All of the above mentioned Sultry Summer Sippers are available for purchase at The Wine Atelier; please click here to visit our wine boutique. I hope you can join us on Thursday, July 25th for the next installment of The Art of Wine & Food at the Museum of Art Ft. Lauderdale featuring “Everyday Wines: Learn the Secrets to Selecting the Best Wine Values from Around the Globe.” For more information or to purchase tickets please click here. Hope to see you there!