By Zachary Mannheimer
There’s nothing quite like a cold beer on a hot day, but that doesn’t mean beer’s the only summertime beverage of choice. Wine is meant for any season; here are some wines that should win you over this summer, plus some treats to go with them.
Pazo de Senorans Albariño
Albariño is sweeping the nation. This white grape hails from Galicia in northwestern Spain, that little piece of land just above Portugal. Do you like Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc? Albariño tastes like a mashup of the two, and Pazo de Senorans is one of my favorite producers. This Albariño starts off clean and crisp with honeysuckle and powdered sugar on the nose, but the flavor is what gives it a punch. Rock fruits and peach pit blend harmoniously with a minerality that gives it a carbonated finish. The vines are grown so close to the Atlantic that the wind from the ocean smacks the grapes, making this bottle perfect with seafood. Try it with raw oysters or calamari.
Riesling is so last year (or last decade) and we need a new grape that can accommodate the Midwestern sweet tooth. Enter Torrontés! Torrontés hails from Argentina but is grown all over South America, and Zolo is an excellent producer (they produce a nice Malbec as well). With a nose of vanilla bean and peonies, this bottle keeps a round mouth feel of mango and apricot with a slight hint of lime. I love it with tarts and cupcakes of all kinds; grab a Crème Cupcake while you’re at it and enjoy with friends.
Red wine when it’s 90 degrees? Yes. please. People ask me all the time what the perfect grape for BBQ is, and the answer is Zweigelt, my old friend. Hailing from southern Austria, Zweigelt always tastes like a blend of Pinot Noir and Lagrein (another summertime favorite), and what’s great about it is the body—medium full, it can stand up to the fattiest ribeye. It also has enough finesse to pair with smoked salmon or shrimp and pineapple kabobs. Triebaumer makes a snappy little Zweigelt with a nose of lilacs and plum and a flavor that always reminds me of pomegranate seeds being popped between my teeth. Crack a bottle at your next backyard cookout.
Zachary Mannheimer, dsm’s wine writer, is a restaurant sommelier who runs a wine course business called Flight School (www.FlightSchoolWine.com). He holds the wine-pairing course at homes, businesses or anywhere else the client prefers. Mannheimer, who also founded and currently serves as the executive director of The Des Moines Social Club (www.DesMoinesSocialClub.org), has worked for more than 17 years in the food service industry in New York City, London and Des Moines. He can be reached at email@example.com.