Nova Scotia may not be known for its balmy weather, but that doesn’t stop us from enjoying the great outdoors, sipping wine on a patio or heading to the cottage for a long weekend. Because our weather is so variable, when the heat finally hits, we want to soak up the rays while we can. Summer in the Maritimes means lots of al fresco dining, socializing out of doors and hanging out with family and friends at cottages or back decks while sharing laughs, food and good drinks.
Here are some of my summer 2016 favourites:
Anything on the dry side! Every summer Bishop’s Cellar brings in a stellar selection of really high quality rosés. I enjoy tasting my way through the lineup and it is always hard to pick a favourite.
Gotin del Risc Godello, Bierzo, Spain
For those who don’t know about Godello, it is a fairly neutral white wine grape much like Chardonnay in that it is great at expressing terroir and winemaking. This one in particular has a fresh nose of green fruits, vibrant minerality balanced by a few months of ageing on the lees. I love this wine for sipping with salads and I have a feeling it would be stunning with shellfish.
Saint Cosme Little James Basket Press White, Languedoc Roussillon
It’s easy to fall in love with what’s new and novel. I’ll admit that I often glaze over some wine that we’ve stocked for years, but I have to remind myself that every vintage offers something new. Little James is one of those wines that has never disappointed me or those who I have recommended it to. This current vintage showcases the Viognier than Sauvignon Blanc; making it more tropical, aromatic, viscous and in my opinion more delicious (no disrespect to SB). Think orange pith, grapefruit and some sweet fennel.
Amastuola Bianco Salento, Puglia, Italy
When one can’t live in Southern Italy, at least one can drink Southern Italian wine and dream… Lately I have been enjoying this aromatic blend from Fiano and Malvasia grapes. The Fiano grape is quite characterful (not typical for Italian white wine grapes, which are known for being fairly neutral in aroma and taste). Fiano is spicy and floral with notes of honey and hazelnut, while Malvasia (pronounced mal-va-zee-ya) comprises a large group of white wine grapes grown in the Mediteranean region of which there are too many clones to name and is useful in blends for it’s acidity. This wine is fresh, with lots of ripe stone fruit, floral and herby notes. It’s organic certification is a bonus and I like that it has a reasonable alcohol content of 12%, so I can enjoy a few glasses and fell okay the next day!
Malivoire Gamay, Niagara, Canada
I am looking forward to having Malivoire’s Gamay on the shelf; I tried it a few months back in a blind tasting and was really impressed by it’s balance. The nose was enticing with fruit, herbal and spicy elements and the palate offered a juicy acidity and elegance. This is one of those light to medium bodied reds that you can drink alone and would be great with burgers and sausages.
Alceno 4 Mese Monastrell Syrah, Jumilla, Spain
Spain is a region to look to for hot wine buys. Bishop’s Cellar has developed relationships with some excellent producers and suppliers in Spain that can provide us with characterful great value wines. This blend of Monastrell and Syrah from Jumilla (not far from Southern France). Think little baby Chateauneuf du Pape…well, that might be stretching it, but it is great value and it does offer nice ripe fruit flavours and peppery spice. It would be perfect with burgers or ribs.
Gotin del Risc Mencia, Bierzo, Spain
For those who want to experience new grape varietals, try this Mencia. It is a dry medium bodied red that offers lots of dark fruit with a fair amount of tannin and acid making it an ideal pairing for classic summertime fare like grilled pork chops and sausages.
Cheers to many evenings of dining outdoors with friends, family, good food and great wine!