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End-of-summer refreshments
Refreshing wines to try before the season’s over

08/21/14
By Stefanie Phillips food@hippopress.com



 Summer always seems to go by too quickly, so while it’s here I try to savor it with some of my favorite wines. These are my picks when I want something well-chilled and refreshing.

 
I always pick up Portuguese wines when I can find them, and Broadbent Vinho Verde is one of my all-time favorites. I love it not only for its nice, citrus flavors, but for its slight effervescence. I feel like I’m drinking something fancy and expensive but unlike with some Champagnes, I actually enjoy this wine. The label is pretty too, so this is a great wine to give as a hostess or shower gift or bring along to a barbecue. It can also be enjoyed at brunch or used in a spritzer. Plus, it is very affordable. I think I have picked up this wine for around $10 a bottle. There is also a rose version that I have not tried, but fans of this kind of wine may like it.
 
SeaGlass Pinot Gris (think pinot grigio) from California showcases the coastal region where it’s made with aromas of grapefruit, honeysuckle and lemongrass, and flavors of apple, pear and tangerine. This wine is light and slightly tart with great acidity, bottled young to capture all of the grape’s best qualities. It pairs well with seafood, making it a great summer accompaniment to lobster, steamers and shrimp. It also pairs well with vacation!
 
I apologize to all of you California chardonnay lovers out there, but chardonnay is not one of my first choices unless it is unoaked. That is why I have to recommend Kim Crawford New Zealand Unoaked Chardonnay. Though Kim Crawford (who is a man, by the way) is known for sauvignon blanc, this chardonnay is very summer-worthy and the one that got it all started for this winemaker. The flavors of pineapple, white peach, grapefruit and melon showcase the best characteristics of the grape. Balanced acidity and a soft texture make it a great pairing with seafood and creamy pasta dishes like seafood alfredo. Try it and you may not miss the oaky, buttery characteristics of other chardonnays (I know I don’t!). 
 
One of my most affordable summer go-to wines is Barefoot Wine Sweet Red. I like to enjoy it chilled with plenty of ice. It reminds me of sangria, with fruit flavors of pomegranate, raspberry and cherry. Don’t let its dark red hue fool you: it’s a great choice for summer because it is fruity and refreshing. It is also very affordable, at less than $10 a bottle. You can even add some fruit to your glass. 
 
I love moscato, especially in the summer as an after-dinner drink. Try Naked Grape Moscato, which is made from organic grapes from California. This wine is sweet and has aromas of orange blossoms and peach that would pair well with summer desserts like strawberry shortcake.
 
My column wouldn’t be complete without mention of some New Hampshire wines from our own local wineries. It’s hard for me to pick just a few, but here are some favorites.
 
Hermit Woods Winery’s Heirloom Crabapple Wine has become its signature and the 2013 offering might be its best yet. This wine is an acidic and refreshing blend of 95 percent crabapple wine and 5 percent blueberry wine. If you like very sweet wines, this one is not for you, but if you enjoy apples fresh picked for their tartness and flavor, then this is a must try. I also like Hermit Woods’ 2013 Lake House White, a blend of peaches, rhubarb, quince and rosehips. All these ingredients come to the winery from local sources and are blended together to create a wine that mirrors a Chablis, but there are no grapes. This wine is dry and complex with subtle notes of its components. It’s great for summer because it’s light but not boring.
 
Sweet wine lovers should try Jewell Towne Vineyard’s Traminette or Valvin Muscat. Traminette is a relative to Gewurztraminer, so it has a similar profile with some sweetness, rose aromas and the flavors of citrus. Valvin Muscat, much like moscato, is a semi-sweet wine with orange blossom aromas and citrus flavors of lemon and lime. I like these wines when I want something sweet yet refreshing. They pair well with summer desserts, cheese and brunch foods.  

 






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