I am not the first one to lament the particularly harsh winter we have had here on the East Coast. Here in Philadelphia, it was the second snowiest winter on record, but it has really been the consistently cold temperatures that has really gotten to all of us. Yes, I know. We are not the only ones suffering through difficult conditions. In fact, compared to others, we might even be considered “fortunate” but before I devolve into a diatribe on climate change, here is the real point of this article: I am ready to do all I can to bring on summer.
It would be hard to believe that Philadelphia is the only region where people say “We really only have two seasons: Winter and Summer” but it is a common refrain that is usually said as though we are the only place on the planet where that is true. This year, we are actually having a few weeks of Spring, but after the long and particularly cold Winter, I think most people are ready to jump head first into Summer with 90 degree temperatures and equally high humidity.
Some time in late March, I decided I would take matters into my own hands: I started drinking “Summer Wines” despite the harsh reality outside with the premise that if I started drinking these wines normally associated with warm temperatures, the weather would soon follow (there was the added benefit that I could chill the wines outside in a matter of minutes).
I have not tried to hide the fact that for the most part, I do not “get” Pinot Grigio. Yes, I am a French Wine Snob and I come close to fully embracing the Alsatian interpretation (I guess it helps when it is called by its French name: Pinot Gris), but when it is made in the Italian style, well, um…..
Having said all that, I was somewhat impressed with this Grigio. A fairly small production (1,500 cases) of a blend of Veneto and Friuli fruit. There is certainly a bit of character here that sets it apart from most of the Pinot Grigios I have tried.
2012 Vino dei Fratelli Pinot Grigio: Retail $13. A bit flinty and nutty with fairly good acidity. This is not my style of wine but I found this pleasant and refreshing. The acidity forms a firm backbone that would work well with an antipasto plate or some lighter pasta dishes. Good. 85-87 Points.
I think I am firmly in the “I do not drink enough Torrontes” camp; I almost always find Torrontes to be inviting with its floral and tropic accents. Why don’t I drink more of it then? Very good question. While most of the Torrontes I have had in the past has been from Spain, this wine is a product of Argentina.
2013 Valentin Bianchi Elsa Torrontes: Retail $12. Floral nose with a bit of citrus. On the palate this is a lot of fun. A bunch going on but the acidity holds it all in check. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
I mentioned above that I do not drink as much Torrontes as I should or would like, but I drink tons of it when you compare that to the amount of Chilean wine I pour past my teeth. I know why I do not drink much wine from Chile, however–most of it is either mass-produced and cheap, or far beyond my price range (and big and red). I am not sure if I am quite in the place yet to search out more, but I could be persuaded….
2012 Vina Koyle Costa Sauvignon Blanc: Retail $24. I was immediately struck by asparagus. Wow. And not all that subtle. A bit of lemon on the palate but this is not your typical Sauvignon Blanc, and I mean that as a good thing. There was a nuttiness that was certainly interesting. Good to Very Good. 86-88 Points.
I have spent a bit of time in the Loire Valley, and I know my way around the Chenin Blanc produced there. Few would disagree that Chenin reaches its apogee in the Loire, so I was intrigued to try this South African version from one of its bigger producers.
This was but my first foray into encouraging Summer to come our way, but I certainly see it as a success. This past weekend, we broached 70 degrees in Philadelphia on both days and I have decided to take credit for that. Go ahead, prove me wrong.