What single wine are you particularly enjoying during these warm weeks of summer? What dishes do you pair it with at your restaurant, and how do you use this personal favorite at home?
Jeff Porter, Wine Director, Del Posto (New York City). Here at Del Posto we are excited about our Insalata Primavera (though we know it is past spring). The salad is a mélange of the best our green market has to offer. The plate has a sweet pea puree on the bottom, then the roasted, raw and sauteed veggies are piled on top with a crumble of Castelmagno cheese. The dressing is a citron vinaigrette. I’m currently serving this with the Kofererhof 2011 Riesling from Alto Adige. The wine is dry but has ample fleshy fruit notes with vibrant hints of herbs and a crisp, clean finish.
As for my favorite wines these days at home, it’s riesling in all its glory: from the Mosel, Rheinhessen, Rheingau, Pfalz and Nahe, Aussie riesling from Clare and Eden Valley, and some Alsatian riesling as well. My wife and I love spicy dishes: we enjoy grilled shrimp with mango salsa, Thai steak with red chilies and lemongrass. We try to keep our palates cool and our souls spicy.
Chuck Furuya, Master Sommelier, DK Restaurants (Honolulu). Right now, we are enjoying the Cantine Valenti Etna Bianco Enrico IV, a very light-bodied, pretty, pure and delicately aromatic white wine from Sicily. It’s made from 100% carricante grown near the base of Mt. Etna; this wine is absolutely delicious, lipsmackin’ and thirst-quenching. We served it the other night with our VINO restaurant’s Home-Made Seafood Sausage with caramelized fennel, roasted tomatoes, Kahuku corn and orzo and will serve it tomorrow night with our VINO Niçoise Salad with Kalamata olives, fingerling tomatoes, sliced egg and seared ahi. It really does just uplift the flavors of each dish and wonderfully cleanses the palate between bites.
For red wine lovers, we recommend the Domaine Fontsainte Corbières Les Demoiselles. The core of this wonderfully delicious, interesting, gulpable red wine is 100-year carignane vines, which give the wine a very sublime vinosity that certainly keeps things interesting from your first glass to your last. I was taken aback a few years ago when tasting so many southern French red country-styled wines dominated by syrah. Thankfully carignane is not dominating or showy. And it really can add deliciousness to blends. I really like the way some winemakers tinker with their red wine blends, so that no one grape variety stands out among. In these wines the terroir is then more transparent. We typically serve this with our Home-made Fettucine Pasta with smoked Big Island pork, “Small Kine’” Farms mushrooms, sun dried tomatoes and a sunny-side egg.
Today being the 4th of July, I was once again reminded of how handy and apropos a well-chilled bottle of Italian Lambrusco can be. I am not sure if Lambrusco will ever be a “go-to wine” for the masses, but I think it certainly has niches where other wines simply do not fit in as well. On a hot summer’s day, for instance, just as the sun is winding down looking to set, try a well-chilled glass of the light, delicious, fizzy De Medici Lambrusco Quercioli. It just makes things seem right. In between sips, a little cheese and salumi. Again, this wine just seems right.
They just started the barbecue. There is marinated chicken, New York steak which has been marinated in olive oil, garlic and herbs, Portuguese sausage, dry-rub ribs, and a host of fixings to be cooked. I just stuck a bottle of Fattoria Moretto Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro in the ice. It has a little more stuffing than the De Medici without sacrificing any of its delicious-ness, refreshing-ness or thirstquenching-ness. Sounds good to me! Maybe I should put another bottle on ice just to be safe.
Sara Kavanaugh, Director, The Grill Room, Windsor Court Hotel (New Orleans). I can’t live without the Kruger-Rumpf 2011 Trocken Riesling from the Nahe. The wine is super-clean, pure and understated. I can drink it all day and all night long. It pairs great with vinaigrette or citrus-driven dishes, and/or dishes with high acidity. It really goes with just about anything, in my opinion. I tasted the 2012 of this wine a few weeks ago and I am eagerly awaiting its release.For the price it is truly a delicious wine all around.