If it’s July then this must be another Ros√©!!

Today’s LA Times flooded the Food section to talk about seasonal wines. I have been considering how wine follows seasons – just like fashion – following a recent tasting/dinner hosted by the good dokker.
One of the main points the Times writer(s) were out to make was that wine varietals correspond to the season. The writers were spewing forth on the wonderful white wines that are not “heavily oaked” that we can inconspicuously enjoy in the summer when nights are warm and “cool” is as transient as a cold breeze in Chatsworth. Translation? Forget your Napa chardonnays fercrissake and try something white and un-pronounce-able from Spain, Italy or France. The word “cheap” appeared a bit too often for my taste but it was there.
Ain’t it clear by now? They are working our beat. Wines under $20 that are fun to taste and radically different from what we think we should be enjoying…instead of a big ticket over-oaked Napa chard. Is it news that we look for the culturally cool [i.e., correct] choice because we are just not confident [yet] about what we might not know?
OK. That’s it for the armchair head shrinking. [Last shrinker’s advice – find your experiential context and work it]. My point is that this same kind of blind thrusting can be encountered when folks bring a wine to a tasting among firends. For the oeniphilogically-challenged here are some simple rules to guide what wine you should bring to the next summer wine dinner.
Big red tooth-mashers for the Fall and Winter. I am talking cabs, zins, Montepulcianos, Barolos, St. Joseph, Vega Sicilia, Penfolds Hermitage…the list is longer than the Wine Spectator Top 100 rejected pool (been there). Bring your big-oak chards to the year-end holiday gigs. For white wines you can try the high-acid steel-driving Austrian and German Rielsings. The Fall/Winter is also the time for ports and dessert wines.
Softer, mid-weight reds for the Spring. Pinots, Burgundies, Alta Riojas, Barolos, and especially vintage Beaujolais. This is a good time to break out your steel fermented chards with their higher acids and naked chardonnay fruit.
Summer time is for the lighter, fresher and far more interesting ros√©s and exotic white wines – Alabri≈àos, Saumur, Eklekticos, Moscati, French and Calif Sauvingon Blanc, Vermentino! Why stop exploring new regions and new grapes. It’s summer!
2005 Chateau Grande Cassagne Ros√© Costieres de Nimes ~$10: I cannot recall where I bought this but I am going to guess it was Whole Foods. And I think I bought it last summer so it might have been sitting around a year. Of course, I also might have bought it a month ago at Woodland Hills Wine Co. With Steve’s recommendation, of course. So what about the wine? Do you like strawberries but not a total infusion of? How about cranberries? Now blend them perfectly in wine that is not over-ripe (like so many domestic Ros√©s not that I am unable to enjoy those as well) with bright acid and light to medium weight. 13.5% alcohol makes for an easy and wonderful summer evening where ever you are (excluding the South Pole but maybe even there).

1999 LIparita Cabernet Sauvignon (well over $20)
– Word is this is Grace vineyard pedigree. Unfortunately, the season is all wrong. I want this with an oyster stuffed turkey, cranberry sauce, yams. In the raw summer evening the green nose and earthy flavors overwhelm the cherry and chocolate lurking within. Fortunately, he has another. Wait a bissel.
2004 Vincent Arroyo Petite Syrah – What an interesting bottle of wine. Petite syrah is one of the stalwarts of old time vines in Napa/Sonoma. In the summer evening against the rose’s, Vermentino and Saumur, however, this wine is lead footed. It cannot get past its rich over-ripe weight and flavors. They are delicious and well-balanced but we need it in 120 days Doc. This is why Italians drink Amarone in the Fall with game! And Moscato d’Asti in the summer with…another bottle of Moscato d’Asti!
2004 Chateau de Villeneuve Saumur Blanc <$20: Honey, plums, viscous. Heavier than the other roses and white wines we have been tasting. More serious. Delicious. Rich. Will age at least a year if not three. This is interesting wine. This could be served with the bird in November and it would sprint past Cakebread like a juiced biker from Kazakhstan! North Berkeley, of course.
Thanks to all for bringing wine. The spirit of sharing is always right.

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