Friday, April 30, 2021

Cheers to Sunshine!


The long overdue reprieve from the dreary darkness of winter is finally here. As daylight stretches on and lingers, nature is bursting with life once again. Farmers markets are brimming with seasonal produce to inspire the everyday chef. My wine palate is transitioning accordingly from bold tannic leathery reds to something lighter, brighter, and crisper. 

Cherry blossoms, a sign of new life 

So join me and bask in the sunshine with something white and something pink.

Something White

Sauvignon Blanc is one of my go-to whites in the sunshine. I love the grassy, citrusy flavor with juicy acidity and a touch of minerality. 

2018 CADE Sauvignon Blanc

I generally seek out French Sauvignon Blanc in single-variety Sancerre or in a white Bordeaux blend, preferably lighter on the Sémillon. From the New World, I love a good New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, enough to forgive the screw cap. 

More recently, I was excited to receive a bottle of CADE Sauvignon Blanc. The Napa Valley white went through a fascinating fermentation process that included 12 different strains of yeast in a combination of stainless steel, oak (new and used), and concrete vessels. It is then aged on the lees in stainless steel and oak for five months. The end result is a quintessential Sauvignon Blanc with a lot of complexity and textural interests.

2018 CADE Sauvignon Blanc

  • Color - Light pale straw with great clarity
  • Aroma - Fragrant with apple and grapefruit 
  • Taste - Lively and crisp, tart green apple, honey, and salty minerality
  • Acidity - Bright and gripping acidity
  • Body - Medium-plus body, coating the mouth and luscious
  • Finish - Lingering
Food Pairing: Indian spiced rice, samosas, dollops of cilantro chutney, over a pile of romaine lettuce, cherry tomatoes, sweet onion slices, and chunks of avocado.

Spiced rice, samosa, cilantro chutney, avocado

Something Pink

Pink wine runs the gamut from light to hearty in flavor and almost correspondingly from pale salmon to deep pink in color. My favorite is the Provençal rosé, which lands on the more delicate end of the spectrum.

2020 The Walls Cruel Summer Rose
There is an air of romance about Provençal rosés. Perhaps it is the pale blush hue or the floral scent that reminds one of lavender fields. The French pink wine is made with predominantly Grenache grapes. It is everything I love about fresh citrusy white wines plus the bonus red fruilt flavor and pink tinge coaxed briefly from the grape skin.

On this side of the Atlantic, you can find well-made Provençal-style rosés as well. The Walls' Cruel Summer is one such rosé, made with 80% Grenache and 20% Mourvèdre. It was a fun wine, fresh, interesting, and delightful! 

2020 The Walls Cruel Summer Rose

  • Color - Pale salmon
  • Aroma - Highly scented with apple and honeysuckle
  • Taste - Fresh and vibrant, tart green apple, juicy minerality
  • Acidity - High racy acidity
  • Body - Medium-plus body, elegant and silky
  • Finish - Lingering
Food Pairing: Bruschetta, crostini smeared with pureed English pea, basil, mint and EVOO, topped with crumbled feta.

English pea bruschetta

So as the weather permits and al fresco dining is in the plan, what is your wine pick to toast to the sunshine? I hope it is something light and crisp, maybe something white or pink.