Favourite Easy-Drinking Summer Sippers

In typical Sarah fashion, I’ve enjoyed several delicious wines this spring and early summer.  When the weather is warmer I tend to reach for lighter, easy-drinking wines.  These wines also tend to go better with the lighter fare we enjoy more often in the summer months.  When I’m outside in my yard doing a bit of gardening, reading in the sun, or eating “alfresco”, I don’t want the enjoyment of my wine to be too cerebral an experience.  I do, however, insist that it taste good.  As the saying goes, “Life’s too short to drink bad wine.” 

There are three wines in particular that I’m very fond of this summer.  It just so happens that they are all from Ontario, Niagara, in fact, and none of them is going to break the bank, as the most expensive is only $18.  It also just so happens that one is a white wine, one a rosé, and one a red wine.  (No, I didn’t plan that, I only just realized it myself.)

Tawse Sketches of Niagara Riesling 2008 :  The wines in the Sketches portfolio are the lower-tiered or some would say “entry-level” wines for Tawse.  Tawse typically makes excellent, high-quality, delicious wines, but unfortunately, they can be a tad expensive ($30-$50).  The Sketches line is meant to be more financially accessible which is quite welcomed in our present economic climate.  The Tawse Sketches of Niagara Riesling 2008 is $18 and at this price it is, indeed, a terrific value!  The wine is a pale straw colour with a platinum hue to it.  It shows pronounced aromas of nectarine, green apple, and orange blossom.  The Ontario minerality is also there: it reminds me of  rocks just after a light rain shower.  It’s a light-bodied wine with a refreshingly crisp acidity, and lime zest, green apple and wet-stone flavours.  The finish is long and mouth-watering.  Another thing I really like about this wine is the low alcohol.  At 10% abv this is a wine you can drink at lunch without having to take a nap in the afternoon.

Food Pairing;  This wine is perfect with any light seafood, sauteed or seared scallops, numerous types of salads,  pork chops with apple sauce, and even roasted turkey.

Peninsula Ridge Syrah Rosé McNally Vineyard 2006:  At $12.95 this is another great value.  I mentioned this wine briefly in the post called “A Day in the Life of a Sommelier” where I stated that this is no girly rosé.  It’s true.  It’s quite a deep pink for most rosés and the black pepper and spice aromas come from the Syrah grape that it’s made from.  There are also aromas of red currant, cherry, and strawberries.  It’s made in the dry style which I like quite a lot better than the sweeter style of rosé.  Spice and black pepper flavours follow through from the nose as do the red berries.  It has a good length and mouth-watering acidity.  It’s quite delicious on a hot summer day!

Food Pairing:  This wine will work well with charcuterie platters, sausages, baked ham, grilled shrimp, or pork chops.

 Chateau des Charmes Gamay Noir “Droit” 2007:  This Gamay Noir is actually made from a clone that was originally propogated in 1982 by Chateau des Charmes founder, Paul Bosc.  It’s called “Droit” because of the upright (droit) position it grows in.  It differs from other Gamay Noir clones in that it ripens about 10 days after the others and it contains a higher sugar content and has a darker colour.  This all  means that it has more body, alcohol and flavours than a typical Gamay.   The 2007 vintage produced a wine that is a deep ruby colour with aromas of wild berries and cherries with a hint of spice and black and white pepper.  It’s a medium-bodied wine with smooth, soft, ripe tannins, good acidity and a nice fruity finish.  At $16.95, it’s the third amazing value I’ve mentioned today.  The other great thing about this wine is that because the clone was propogated right here on Canadian soil, it is probably Canada’s first vinifera variety.  What better way to spend Canada Day than enjoying this truly Canadian wine? 

Food Pairing:  This very versatile wine can be paired with just about anything.  It’s a great wine for a barbeque, especially hot dogs and hamburgers.  It can also work well with tomato sauce based pasta dishes and grilled salmon.

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