A weird thing happened today; I looked in my fridge and saw 3 open bottles of wine! That is a pretty rare occurrence, as 1) I generally only open 1 bottle at a time, and 2) I generally finish the bottle – especially if my husband is helping. Usually this only happens when the wines are bad. But, all three of these wines are excellent, and make for superb summer drinking. Let me tell you about them.
For Aperitivo: Ameztoi Rubentis Getariako Txakolina 2018
Txakolina became pretty popular in Philly 6 or 7 years ago, and hasn’t looked back. The traditional producer, Ameztoi, has consistently offered great selections, like the Rubentis currently in my fridge.
This rosé is made from equal parts of the traditional grapes, Hondarrabi Zuri and Hondarrabi Beltza. It is unmistakably Txakolina – zippy, with a light fizz, tons of lime zest, a little burnt orange, and a hint of hibiscus in the mouth. Acid is high, body is light. It is soooo persistent at the finish, which I think is may favorite quality of Txakolina, generally, and this Rubentis in particular. Drink this with some of those artisanal potato chips – you know, the kettle-cooked ones with plenty of salt, maybe with rosemary!
For All-Things-Crudo (or Lardo!): Va La Zafferano 2016
I’m a huge fan of Anthony Vietri’s wines at Va La, and I think each new vintage is better than the last. Zafferano is a golden-hued “orange” wine that is a field blend of roughly 92,000 varietals (or so it seems). It is fermented on the skins for 30 days, aged on its lees for 18 months. If ever “unctuous” was a good word to use to describe a wine, it is this one. Flavors are nutty and bold. Whereas the Rubentis had citrus zest, this has citrus curd. Doesn’t sound like a summer wine, you say? Well, for all the honeyed, heavier notes, it stays bright on the tongue. There is a mintiness that permeates, and some fresh basil and lemongrass. It has resemblance to Thai cuisine in its complement of flavors, which I also quite like in the hot weather. Every sniff brings a new note, and every taste adds to the complexity. A bottle of Zafferano and scallop ceviche, or a crostini with lardo and a touch of honey, would be heavenly.
For Watching-The Dark-with-a-Bowl-of-Popcorn: COS Nero di Lupo 2015
I had always preferred my reds on the warm end of the recommended spectrum, but this summer I’ve taken to chilled reds (ice-cold reds, #ICRs, as my GM at Jet Wine Bar, Nick, calls them). Maybe it’s the influence of drinking said ICRs in the #jetwinegarden in 90 degree heat, but I’ve come to enjoy them. So, the COS Nero di Lupo, found its way into the fridge.
Sooooo much fruit that the chilled bottle still shows fruity (chilling typically dampens the fruit notes), with noticeable – but not overwhelming – tannins (chilling typically increases the feel of the “structure”, such as tannins). 100% Nero d’Avola, a grape I do often like for summer. Its fruit notes tend to be dark, but the body is usually a bit lighter. This one has dark cherry and cassis, with pine or cedar notes. It does have a bit of underripe walnut (fresh from the tree!). It drinks “clean” and very “pure” – I don’t think I would have guessed it was unfiltered. On the whole, this wine is wild and elegant, kind of like a cheetah. I love this wine, and I love the Netflix series, The Dark. So, two great things that go great together… (and I wouldn’t say no to a Reese’s Cup!).
Summertime can still be wine time! It may be hot, but don’t be afraid of reds. They can be chilled just as easily as whites or rosés. Cheers!