By Rebecca Meïr-Liebman of Chef & Somm
A couple of posts ago, I wrote about the best wines for summer entertaining – well, I have a bit more to say about the joys of summer sipping. Here’s Part Two, enjoy!
Dip and Sip – The Pool Party
Crunchy, oily, salty chips and hot dogs with all the fixin’s are so much fun under the sun, especially poolside! My preference is to wash this super-casual stuff down with an ice cold beer or cider, but there are a few playful wines practically made for chillaxin’ by the pool!
Adamo Estate Winery Rosé, Hockley Valley, Ontario – To be honest, finding a good quality local rosé can be quite a challenge. For reasons I don’t understand, many winemakers do not take rosé seriously enough; lucky for us, Adamo Estates does!
This rosé is made from 100% Gamay Noir grapes grown in the Niagara Lakeshore region. On the nose there are fresh summery notes of watermelon, pears, and peaches. It’s elegant, light to medium bodied, and has a nice backbone of acidity. It’s just wonderful with charcuterie, chips, and anything deep fried. Buy directly from the winery. $14.95
Kew Vineyards, Rosalie, Beamsville – This sparkling rosé is made exclusively from Pinot Noir, and named in honour of KEW’S proprietor’s mother, Rosalie. On the nose, there are notes of ripe raspberries and strawberries. Rosalie is aged on the lees (spent yeast cells) for four years, hence it’s creamy texture, depth, and refreshing long finish. Buy directly from the winery. $29.95
Silk PJs Required – Backyard Sunday Brunch
Yes, yes, yes, the mimosa, sparking wine and freshly squeezed orange juice…but…how about something else for a change? Here are two delightfully different ways to start your Sunday: a wine cocktail and a fabulous Italian sparkler.
Briottet liqueur with Sparkling wine – just pour 1 ½ oz Maison Briottet fig, lychee, strawberry, or any other liquor you like into a champagne flute, and top with your favourite sparkling white. Garnish with a fresh strawberry or cherry and you have the perfect start to your Sunday! Dijon’s Maison Briottet was founded in 1836; they’re known for high quality liqueurs made with real fruit. The flavours and colours of their liqueurs are attained naturally – no dyes or artificial flavourings are used – which is quite rare in the liqueur business. Cottonwood Agency. $29.99
Ca’del Baio 101, Moscato d’Asti, Piedmont, Italy – With only 5.5% alcohol a glass of this won’t knock you out for the rest of the day; it’s just right for morning and afternoon sipping. Made from Moscato Bianco grapes, it has persistent bubbles and lovely sweetness; an aromatic white wine with refreshing apricot, peaches, blossom and nectarine notes. Stem wine group. $19.99
Fresh air, the water rhythmically lapping at the side of the boat, the cries of gulls overhead, and a plate of ice cold fresh oysters just waiting to be slurped up. To drink? Something icy, bracing, fresh and clean – just like the sea!
Joseph Drouhin, Chablis Drouhin– Vaudon, France – Quite affordable for Chablis, easy drinking with fresh aromas of citrus and green apples, balanced with honey and vanilla. It’s a lively, likeable wine with great structure and a medium to long finish. What makes me love their wine even more is the fact that Robert Drouhin, the head of Joseph Drouhin, hired the first female winemaker (Laurence Jobard) in Burgundy in 1973, which is already a good reason for me to drink their wine! LCBO#: 284026 $23.95
Norman Hardie, Melon de Bourgogne, Prince Edward County – Melon de Bourgogne is the grape variety used to make the great Muscadet wines of the Loire Valley. This wine showcases the cool climate minerality and freshness of PEC. The razer sharp acidity, and big citrus notes, make this wine extremely refreshing. It is the oyster wine!
It’s the Little Black Dress of Entertaining – Wine and Cheese on the Terrace
While it’s true that each cheese tastes best with a different wine, it is possible to choose a wine that stands a pretty good chance of working with almost every cheese on the board. If you think about wine as another ingredient that completes the cheese board, then think sweet wine.
Adding a dessert wine to the experience is the same as adding honey, dried and fresh fruit to the cheese board – it’s a sweet counter balance to the fatty, salty, sharp and stinky flavours of the cheeses – and it works beautifully. Look for a wine with all those same notes – honey, dried and fresh fruits – such as a late harvest Riesling, or other dessert wine. At some gatherings, an impressive cheese board is the main event, while at others, it’s served at the end of the meal; either way, a sweet wine is a smart choice.
Santo Wines, Vinsanto, Santorini, Greece – This well-balanced, not overly sweet, dessert wine is made from sun dried grapes – a blend of 85% Assyrtiko and 15% Aidani – and boasts flavours of nuts, dried apricots, raisins, cream, and marzipan. Kolonaki Group wine agency $36.15
Château Nairac, Bordeaux, France– Bringing a Sauternes to a party – any party! – is always appreciated. This golden nectar is a real treat to oenophiles and a revelation to newbies. And although it is quite sweet, it is blessed with great acidity to balance it. With a rich, silky, viscous texture, it delights with flavours of mandarin, honey, and passion fruit, as well as notes of pineapple, kiwi and florals. LCBO# 302125 $41.85
Sommelier & Consultant
As co-owner of Chef & Somm, the GTA’s only Bespoke Private Dining and Sommelier service, Rebecca has acquired over a decade of experience in some of Canada’s – and the world’s – top dining rooms.
She earned her hospitality, service
and sommelier skills at top restaurants – Canoe, Luma, BLÜ Ristorante and Maple Leafs Sport & Entertainment – but Rebecca is always learning, tasting, and cultivating relationships with winemakers, local and abroad.
Her thirst for wine knowledge is a never-ending quest; Rebecca brings an unquenchable curiosity and authority to any dining experience. www.ChefSomm.ca