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WRO WINE BLOG

Posted by Robert Whitley on August 24, 2016 at 5:50 PM

A Labor of Love

 
The upcoming Labor Day weekend is the grillmeister's annual swan song. In most parts of the country, the grill goes undercover and the tools are stored for winter after one last hurrah on this holiday. I am determined to end the season on a bold note rather than a whimper.

Of course, I refer to the wines for the Labor Day finale. I have chosen five of my personal favorites from this summer's many outdoor feasts, one each from five broad categories.

Rose — Chateau d'Esclans 2015 Whispering Angel, France
— The Whispering Angel never fails to impress. A dry rose from Provence, this wine is fresh and crisp with succulent red-fruit notes and exceptional length for a rose. The average retail price for this wine on the WineSearcher website is $24.

Sparkling — Bisol Cru Cartizze DOCG, Prosecco di Valdobbiadene, Italy — This is a truly stunning brut-style prosecco from the region's finest vineyard. Few other proseccos, if any, can stand up to this magnificent expression of the popular northern Italian bubbly. It's expensive for prosecco, but worth every penny. The average retail price on WineSearcher is $42.

White — Rodney Strong 2014 Chardonnay "Chalk Hill," Sonoma County — In my humble opinion, this is the most underrated chardonnay made in California — and the greatest value to boot! It is richly layered and well-balanced, offering notes of lemon oil and pear. This wine is the perfect complement for grilled swordfish, chicken or even savory bratwurst. The average retail price on WineSearcher is $18.

Red — E. Guigal 2013 Crozes-Hermitage, France — While it's overshadowed by more illustrious (and expensive) wines from the northern Rhone, this peppery vintage is packed with gorgeous black fruits and spice and is extremely well-balanced. This is your wine for barbecued ribs, rare steaks and any sort of game you might cook on the grill. On WineSearcher the average retail price is $24.

Dessert — Eberle 2015 Muscat Canelli, Paso Robles
— This Eberle won the trophy for best dessert wine at the Central Coast Wine Competition, and it has long been one of my favorites when I'm looking to put a dessert wine on the table that isn't too sweet. With inviting floral notes, hints of spice and just a touch of sweetness, it pairs nicely with fruit-based desserts, simple cakes and Italian cookies. The average price on WineSearcher is $20.

Duckhorn Vineyards, Rutherford (Napa Valley) Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 ($95)
This is an impressive effort from Duckhorn. It was a good vintage overall in the Napa Valley, and Rutherford is one of the sweetest of Napa's sweet spots. The nose shows hints of violets, spice and cassis. On the palate the wine is richly layered, showing complex notes of blackberry and black and red currant, with a touch of vanilla lurking in the background. The balance is exquisite. This is a wine for now, to be certain, but it will benefit from additional age and could be easily cellared for 20 years or more.
95 Robert Whitley

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This Issue's Reviews
 
Viña Vik: A Dream Coming True in Chile
Rebecca Murphy

Alexander Vik had a dream: To create the best wine in South America. Vik assembled an expert team of oenologists, climatologists, geologists, viticulturists and agronomists to find the ideal site in South America to produce his dream wine. They settled on a spot about two hours south of Santiago, across the mountains from Apalta, home of Montes and Casa Lapostolle. It was nearly 11,000-acres of virgin wine territory in the fortuitously named Millahue (mee YAH who way) Valley, an indigenous people's name for 'place of gold.'
World's Best Budget Quaffing Wine: South African Chenin Blanc
Michael Franz

For better and worse, I live in Washington, D.C., where the entire month of August is akin to a steam bath. On the plus side, D.C. is also the USA's leading city in terms of per capita wine consumption, so those living here know a little bit about what to drink when temperatures soar. What's the best wine to drink during torrid summer conditions? I've already tipped my hand with the title of this column, but let me assert my answer again: Chenin Blanc from South Africa is the best choice for anyone who wants a highly consistent, thoroughly satisfying, surprisingly durable, excitingly refreshing wine that offers outstanding value and excellent versatility at the table.
Wine With
WINE WITH…Pernil (Puerto Rican Skiw Roasted Pork Shoulder)


It's hard to imagine any omnivore, or carnivore, who wouldn't love this version of slow cooked pork roast. It's a cinch to prepare since you marinate it the night before, and the next day simply pop it into the oven and let it roast until it's ready to serve. The roast can, of course, be grilled, but some cooks believe that oven roasting yields a crispier skin. Many of the recipes we've looked at recommend scoring the fat layer on top of the roast in a crosshatch pattern and rubbing the marinade onto that surface, but we've found that that method essentially flavors only the top surface of the meat no matter how long you let it marinate. In our experience, the best way to really saturate the meat with those delicious flavors is to perforate the roast all over to allow the marinade to gradually seep down into it.
On My Table
A Tribute to the Chehalem Mountains AVA
Mary Ewing-Mulligan

There would seem to be something ironic about the name of this Pinot Noir from Oregon's Adelsheim Vineyard. 'Breaking Ground' suggests something new or revolutionary -- and in fact this is the first new wine from Adelsheim Vineyard in more than a decade -- but Adelsheim itself is as old as the Oregon wine industry. David and Ginny Adelsheim purchased their first vineyard-to-be in 1971 and began planting the land the following year. A true pioneer of Oregon wine, David Adelsheim had broken new ground on many occasions and in many ways. The best interpretation of the name 'Breaking Ground' Pinot Noir, therefore, is more historic than literal, a name that hearkens the accomplishments of the past for a winery on the eve of its 40th commercial vintage.