What to Drink Now: Wine for the Weekend

Looking for a few good bottles to enjoy this weekend?  Consider one of these from an assortment recently sent for editorial consideration.

Moscato is the hot beverage of the summer.  Everyone from ladies who lunch to rap stars are sipping the low alcohol, slightly sweet wine from morning to night.  Though many wineries in many countries are making a Moscato these days, going straight to the Italian source is best.  I recently traveled to the Piedmont region of Italy, the land of Moscato, as a guest of Ricossa Winery.   Their Moscato D’ Asti created in the traditional frizzante method, or with just a slight effervescence instead of the full on bubbly, known as spumante, is the ideal wine to enjoy on a hot summer day.  Only 5.5% alcohol and filled with floral honeysuckle and peach blossom with just a touch of citrus to keep the wine fresh and balanced, this is a wine that can be enjoyed on its own or paired with anything from fruit based desserts to cheese courses. Ricossa is sold exclusively through Centennial throughout Dallas.
Looking for something a little bolder? Torrontes opens with similar floral notes but finished with a delicious punch of flavor. The new Reserva from Terrazas de los Andes was just released, filled with white flower aromas of lily and white rose with balanced but bright acidity on the palate and fruit flavors of pear, apricot and passion fruit.

I can drink a Chardonnay any time, oaked or unoaked, just released or well aged.  Franciscan Estate in Napa Valley consistently produces quality Chardonnay to fit whatever mood my palate is in, from their elegant, wild yeast fermented Cuvee Sauvage with incredible depth and character from the 100% French oak barrel fermentation, using 86% new oak, sur lie aged for 14 months to their vibrant and slightly fresher and more fruit forward Napa Valley Chardonnay aged just 7 months in American and French oak, of which only 20% is new.

Pinot Noir is also a good go to for the summertime, as many Pinot options are light and balanced with a fruit forward flavor profile which is easy to enjoy on its own or when pairing with light, summertime fare.  Belle Glos single vineyard Pinot Noir comes from some of the best areas for growing this distinct variety in California.  Their Clark & Telephone Vineyard Pinot Noir from Santa Maria Valley in Santa Barbara County is filled with strawberry, cranberry and pomegranate flavors enhanced with sweet baking spices like nutmeg and cinnamon.  A balanced wine from the heirloom Martini Pinot Noir clone from Burgundy that is always a favorite.

Another winery making a stellar Pinot Noir from grapes grown in Santa Maria Valley is
Wild Horse and their Cheval Sauvage (French for Wild Horse.)  Sourced from quality, low yeilding vines throughout the valley producing intense, rich and ripe fruit.  Red and black berry aromas leap from the glass followed by delicate spice notes mingled with earthy, herbal aromas.

Rose always pops up as a favorite in the summer, especially with red wine drinkers who are looking for a little chill in their glass.  Everything from Merlot to Malbec to Grenche to Pinot Noir are used to make Rose, with some of the best coming from France, Spain, Greece, South Africa and the US.
Greecian Rose of Xinomavro is one in particular to look for as the highly tannic varietal when made into Rose is soft, delicate and luscious. One of the best comes from KirYianni in Northern Greece with their Akakies Rose from Amyndeon.

Matchbook Winery in California’s Dunnigan Hills east of Napa Valley makes a light, approachable Rose of Tempranillo that is lively and delicious filled with ripe peaches, juicy oranges, red rose petal and red berry flavors.

Shining Hill Red comes from the prestigious ColSolare Winery in Washington State. Created from the partnership between the Antinori Family and Chateau Ste. Michelle Estate, this is a wine clearly displays why grapes grown in the nutrient rich soils of Columbia Valley are so distinct and delicious.  Like the papa wine, ColSolare, this Cabernet Sauvignon based blend is filled with black fruit, leather and tobacco notes with spice and smoke.

Another winery is the Ste. Michelle Wine Estates family that shines year in and year out, especially with Merlot, is Northstar. The latest release of Walla Walla Merlot came out a few weeks ago and does not disappoint, filled with ripe blackberry and raspberry flavors married with rich mocha and herbal, earthy notes.

If your palate is only pleased with a bold, powerful and distinctly Californian Cabernet Sauvignon consider the latest release from St. Clement Vineyards, Oroppas. One of the oldest wineries in Napa Valley, St. Clement was founded in 1878 in St. Helena and to this day they have been known for producing varietally correct wines from grapes grown throughout the valley.  The 2008 Oroppas is filled with black cherry, black plum and currant flavors intertwined with notes of clove, violets and touches of vanilla.