It's summer now and I feel obligated to throw a monkey wrench into the wine-loving habits of backyard grillers everywhere. With the next three months expected to be on the somewhat toasty side, let's see what culinary fun we could have if we lighten up the red wines a bit.
First of all if you're in a temperature-controlled indoor environment with a big fat juicy steak on your plate I see no reason not to enjoy that monumental monster Napa Cab that's been calling out your name. But if you're there in your friendly confines but the sliding door is open half the time as your crew is going in and out from activities in the backyard and you, yourself, are part of that in and out traffic maybe, just maybe, a lighter red may work better for your purposes. And if beads of sweat are at times appearing somewhere on your brow from all of that in and out, well then, maybe going lighter makes sense. After all, who wants to feel bloated?
A nice new world light red alternative can be Argentine Malbec. I say "can be" because Malbec can be all over the map stylistically which unfortunately works against the plans of thoughtful customers who reasonably want to know what the wine is before purchasing it. In this store we sort them out by the heft of the wine. You want a lighter red? You got it!
Spanish wines have now arrived as a conscious alternative to the big new world reds of California. They have the same dark fruit flavors of the big California reds but are lighter in body. Some have the new world forward fruit but most are balanced with the longer winey flavors Europe is known for.
Italy makes some of the nicest light winey reds on the planet and if sales here reflect generalities then a whole lot of people are enjoying them. Aside from a lighter body, what's the attraction? Like most Europeans, they're food friendly, meaning they have a higher acidity. That higher acidity is a digestive aid any time but in the summer heat, it's downright refreshing. And if served slightly chilled (fifty degrees or so) it's even more so!
So just to recap: Lighter reds are, well, lighter (no bloating); refreshingly acidic when served somewhat chilled; and food friendly with longer and winier flavors.
This Thursday, June 22nd between 5 and 7pm, Chuck Crouse offers us a tasting of Spanish and Italian reds and whites. Most noteworthy should be the Coto de Hayas Campo de Borgia Centenaria, a red Garnacha made from the fruit of one hundred year old vines! Please join us.