As we skid headfirst into summer, it’s time to celebrate not only the lingering sunlight but also an array of holidays and the opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. Whether it’s hiking, picnicking, gardening, grilling or heading to an alfresco music fest, there’s a local wine to match the fun.
ROSÈ FOR MOTHER’S DAY
If you like:
Des Amis 2014 Napa Valley Rosé ($20): Made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot, this rosé has a color reminiscent of fresh-cut watermelon. There is an almost weightiness to its core of juicy, bold and dry layers, with watermelon flavors accented by dried cranberry and currant. The flavors and mid-weight body will marry well with a range of rich dishes, from goat cheese quiche to eggs Benedict.
Carol Shelton Wild Thing 2014 Rendezvous Mendocino County Dry Rosé ($15): A blend of 80 percent Carignane and 10 percent Viognier, this dry sipper is dark cranberry in color and exuberant in wild strawberry flavors, befitting its name. It’s a good pairing for smoked salmon. Open this wine for Mom, who will enjoy the beautifully etched bottle as much as the wine inside.
SUMMER SIPPERS FOR MUSIC FESTIVALS
If you like:
Woodenhead 2011 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir ($42): Unfined and unfiltered, this wine from a consistent Russian River Valley producer offers a funky and earthy version of Pinot Noir, wavering between soft layers of classic cherry cola and black tea. It’s a straightforward, light-bodied quaff that won’t hit you over the head or overwhelm on the palate, making it a great choice for picnics and other outdoor lounge-arounds.
Noble Tree 2013 Russian River Valley Grenache ($20): Here is a light-bodied, pure Grenache that is buoyant in earthy cherry and cassis character, spicy and medium-bodied, and with enough of a fruity bite on the finish to invite another sip. Made by the folks at Thomas George Estates, a Westside Road outpost that otherwise specializes in Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
BIG REDS FOR FATHER’S DAY
If you like:
Trig Point 2013 Diamond Dust Vineyard Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($21): This is a soft, dusty Cabernet Sauvignon made by Nick Goldschmidt, a man who knows a thing or two about Father’s Day: he’s dad to five kids. In this wine, blackberry and cassis combine to provide approachability and plenty of fruit-forwardness, as well as dry tannins and a bright finish. Enjoy it now with the important father figures in your life.
Colby Red 2012 California ($13): A blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Petite Sirah and Zinfandel, Colby Red is the work of Healdsburg winemaker Daryl Groom and his son, Colby, who came up with the idea for the wine to help raise money for heart health research. Colby, 17, has had two heart-valve surgeries and is now the national spokesperson for the Children’s Heart Foundation. The wine named for him is an explosion of briary blackberry and clove. It is approachable and easy to love.
SAUVIGNON BLANC FOR SUMMER SOLSTICE
If you like:
Grgich Hills 2013 Estate Grown Napa Valley Dry Sauvignon Blanc Fumé Blanc ($30): From grapes grown in the cooler, southern reaches of Napa Valley, this dry white shows its time in oak casks and barrels, which resulted in notes of fig, lemon rind and vanilla. It’s long and mouth-filling, begging for service with fine food and finer company.
Six Sigma Ranch 2014 Asbill Valley Lake County Sauvignon Blanc ($18): This wine from one of Lake County’s finer Sauvignon Blanc makers comes from a 12-acre plot called Michael’s Vineyard. It has the minerality and acidity so many people love in a summertime white, with the weight and texture necessary to keep it compatible with food. Tangerine, pear and guava flavors come together nicely, with a soft creaminess and slight hint of spice on the finish.