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2013 Summer Wine Reviews

Cool white wines and roses for summer



2012 Echo Bay Sauvignon Blanc
Marlborough, New Zealand
$13 Retail

The Marlborough region on the tip of New Zealand's south island possesses ideal conditions for sauvignon blanc. Ocean breezes and mineral-rich soils give this wine its distinctive expression. It is aged in barrels and undergoes malolactic fermentation. The wine is pleasing by itself, but when paired with food, its citrus and passion fruit flavors and herbaceous notes blossom. Drink it with shrimp remoulade, crab ravigote, raw oysters, artichoke and asparagus. Buy it at: Pearl Wine Co. Drink it at: Antoine's Restaurant.

2012 Hogwash Rose
$19-$20 Retail

Some frivolous wine names seem designed to mask otherwise unappealing wines, but that is not the case with this bottling. Winemaker Tuck Beckstoffer blends grenache grapes from two vineyards, one in cool Mendocino and the other in warmer Paso Robles. This copper-colored wine opens up with melon flavor and granite notes. The bouquet offers lemon curd, orange peel and flowers. Cold fermentation and the saignee method of exposing the wine to grape skins give the wine intense flavor but a low alcohol content. It has a bone-dry flavor profile and a clean, balanced finish. Drink it with egg salad sandwiches, fried chicken, barbecue and seafood. Buy it at: Swirl Wine Bar & Market and Whole Foods Market in Metairie.

2011 Marques de Caceres Deusa Nai Albarino
Rias Baixas, Spain
$15-$16 Retail

There's a hint of the sea on the nose of this albarino from Rias Baixas in northwestern Spain. Citrus notes combine elegantly with stone fruit character, and there are notes of orange, apricot, peach, green apple and tropical fruit. A strong chill doesn't numb its flavor, and it has a bracing acid finish. Albarino is made to be enjoyed young, when the fruit is at its freshest. Buy it at: Martin Wine Cellar, Dorignac's. Drink it at: Vega Tapas Cafe, Rue 127, Cafe Minh and Oak.

2010 Schloss Vollrads Kabinett Riesling
Rheingau, Germany
$20-$22 Retail

Some German wines pair well with New Orleans' spicy, heavy and rich cuisine, and this authentic riesling, which is dry, not sweet is one. Schloss Vollrads has been making wine for more than 800 years. The bouquet offers aromas of green apple, tropical fruits, peach and mango. On the palate, taste a faint hint of sugar and a prevalent acidity. Drink it with boiled seafood and Asian, Cajun and Mexican cuisines. Buy it at: Pearl Wine Co., Hopper's Carte des Vins and Dorignac's. Drink it at: Restaurant August, Root, Bourbon House, Red Maple, Lakeside Seafood and Hilton New Orleans Riverside.

2012 Feudi di San Gregorio Ros'Aura Rosato
Campania, Italy
$14-$15 Retail

This Italian wine is powerful yet graceful. The aglianico grape is mostly identified with big, bold red wines, but this is a more elegant expression. Although the Campania region in Southern Italy is not known for producing subtle wines, this is a classic rose. The deep pink wine has a bit of carbon dioxide, which the Italians refer to as frizzante. It is very dry but the bouquet includes aromas of cranberry, pomegranate and herbs. Its minerality leaves the senses clean and satisfied. Drink it with pasta, charcuterie plates, pizza, meatballs, cannelloni and bruschetta. Buy it at: Swirl Wine Bar & Market and Faubourg Wines. Drink it at: Iris, Borgne, Ancora Pizzeria, a Mano, Charcoal's Gourmet Burger Bar, Renaissance New Orleans Pere Marquette and Ristorante del Porto.

2011 Harlaftis Estate White
Attica, Greece
$13-$15 Retail

Harlaftis presents the proper Greek expression of savatiano, the most widely planted white wine grape in Greece. The region has been cultivated for grape growing for centuries, but this wine is produced with thoroughly modern processes, including trellising techniques. Vinification is done entirely in stainless steel, and the wine never touches wood. It exudes strong aromas of peach, pear and honeysuckle. On the palate, it offers a unique flavor not found in other white varietals. Drink it with dolmas, phyllo cheese triangles, spinach pie, smoked salmon, feta and leek pitas and other light fare. Buy it at: Faubourg Wines and Rouses in Uptown. Drink it at: Schiro's Cafe and Bar.

2012 Domaine de Triennes Rose
Provence, France
$16 Retail

Triennes was founded in 1989 and named for the ancient Roman festival held every three years to honor Bacchus. This wine is a blend of primarily cinsaut with grenache and merlot. On the palate, taste strawberry and bits of peach and watermelon. It is punctuated with strong acidity on the finish. Drink it with sushi, boiled crabs, fried soft-shell crabs, red beans and sausage, grilled vegetables and soft cheeses. Buy it at: Martin Wine Cellars in Uptown and Metairie. Drink it at: Rene Bistrot.

2010 Tangent Sauvignon Blanc
Edna Valley, California
$13 Retail

Winemaker Christian Roguenant coaxes everything he can from sauvignon blanc grapes. The vineyards are 4 miles from the Pacific Ocean, and the area enjoys one of the longest growing seasons in California. The vintner makes multiple passes through the vineyards during harvest, each time taking only fruit that is ripe. Early fruit provides citrus and herbal flavors and subsequent pickings add roundness and tropical notes. The approach also develops the grape's grassy character, as well as hints of passion fruit and citrus. The high acidity makes it a good companion to fresh seafood, especially oysters. Buy it at: Rouses on Tchoupitoulas Street.

2010 BlackSmith Chardonnay
>Columbia Valley, Washington
$18 Retail

This new label from Forgeron Cellars is a chardonnay-heavy blend of semillon, grenache blanc, orange muscat, Marsanne and viognier. In the glass, sense aromas of crisp pear, flowers and lemon basil. On the palate, taste pineapple, papaya, green apple and a bready character, indicating time spent aging on the lees. Drink it with chicken salad, roasted pork loin, grilled white fish and pasta bordelaise. Buy it at: Swirl Wine Bar & Market.

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