A glass of wine enjoyed outside is one of the best things about summer. Whether I’m on the deck surrounded by dear friends and laughter, on the back porch with a good book, or at a sidewalk table at a neighborhood bistro, the pleasure had by the blend of nature and wine is one definition of sheer joy (at least for me)!
Now that the weather in Chicago has finally become seasonally-appropriate (i.e. warm enough to sit outside without a parka), I’m doing my fair share of alfresco wining with the following selections sent as samples. Each is food friendly, on the lighter side (even the reds), and is a lovely pairing with sunshine, a soft breeze, and all the feels of summer. Enjoy!
But First, Rosé!
Mas de la Dame 2017 ($16) is an oh-so-chic estate bottled rosé from a 16th century winery located in Les Baux de Provence, a medieval village located atop of rocky outcrop in southern France’s Alpilles Mountains. (You may have seen Van Gogh’s paintings of this area.). Consisting of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, and Cabernet Sauvignon, glorious aromas of red ripe strawberries, raspberries, red flowers, fleshy peaches, and vanilla were an enticing entrance. Dry and balanced, the palate profile included lively acidity, intense red fruit notes, and a fresh, round mouthfeel leading to a lasting, complex finish. Anne Poniatowski and Caroline Missoffe, fourth generation owners of Mas de la Dame (“Farm of the Woman”) have worked with famed vigneron and consultant, Jean Luc Colombo, to “redefine the essence of this ancient terroir”. This wine is absolutely lovely.
Sauvignon Blanc is one of my favorite varieties; it expresses its sense of place so effectively. Galerie Naissance 2016 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc ($30) is no exception. Just perfect for any alfresco moment, this exceptional wine of 100% Sauvignon Blanc burst with aromas of oranges, lemons, melon, hint of freshly mowed grass, and beautiful minerality that I love. On the palate, mouthwatering acidity, broad citrus and tropical fruit notes, such as banana and pineapple, led to a long, ever-so refreshing finish. After fermentation in stainless steel, French puncheon, and concrete egg, the wine was aged sur lie in a combination of the same plus French oak barrels for six months.
Alfresco Wining with Reds
The Godelia Mencia 2012 ($19) is from 100% Mencia from 50 to 90 year-old vines. Aged for 12 months in 105- and 132-gallon oak barrels, I loved each whiff of bright red fruit, fresh berries, and roses. On the palate, lively acidity and soft tannic structure framed flavors of luscious red fruit and a touch of mint, leading to a lingering, balanced finish.