What is your staple white wine at home—or at your restaurant(s) this summer? What do you like about it and how are you using it?
Arthur Hon, Beverage Director, Sepia (Chicago). Niepoort Dry White Port. My staple whites at home this summer are from Portugal. My favorite, in particular, is a white from the Douro Valley: the 2011 Muxagat Branco Mux. The wine’s precise minerality and bright but round acidity really draw me in. Aside from that, Mux also has some body to it that makes it really versatile when it comes to food and wine pairings; it’s also a great middle-of-the-road white that can easily be a crowd-pleaser. I like to use it in the place of chardonnay. The overall flavors of Mux are on the more neutral side; the extended aging on the lees gives Mux a sexy texture. The most exciting character of Mux is the delightful salinity that lingers on the finish.
The white wine that I am promoting at Sepia this summer is a grüner veltliner from northeastern Italy: the 2012 Köfererhof Veltliner Alto Adige Valle Isarco.
Rachel Kerswell, Sommelier, The NoMad Hotel (New York City). Riesling is celebrated around the city of New York for the 90 days of “Summer of Riesling.” New York is the founding destination for Summer of Riesling so, aside from being a huge fanatic myself, riesling takes center stage for wine lovers and casual drinkers alike during the hot season.
For a wine rich in sophistication and diversity, it is approachable and relatively inexpensive—just a couple reasons why I am so passionate about this variety. I have at least one bottle of riesling in my fridge year-round, but in the summer it’s what I crave most, if not all, of the time. I love that it is agreeable with a range of foods and deliciously refreshing as a standalone beverage no matter the occasion.
One of the biggest misconceptions about riesling is that it’s always a sweet wine. So, as an incentive to demonstrate how German producers are moving toward a dryer winemaking style, the NoMad is featuring two trocken (dry) Mosel rieslings by the glass all summer. The first, a more classic example of this style with a sharp mineral edge and delicate fruit overtones, is the Von Shubert 2012 Maximin Grünhauser Riesling Trocken QbA. The second is 2012 Gunther Steinmetz 2012 Wintricher Geierslay Riesling Sur Lie. This riesling is mineral-driven, with a slightly more muscular body because of the lees contact it sees during fermentation.
In addition, we feature six other rieslings by the glass ranging from trocken (dry) to spätlese (semi-sweet).
Chuck Furuya, M.S., DK Restaurants (Honolulu). For this summer, there are several. The first is the Rudolf Fürst Pur Mineral Müller-Thurgau, which is a DRY, remarkably light white wine from Franconia, Germany. Fürst has but three-quarters of a hectare (red sandstone soil) planted to this grape variety, so it may not be so easy to find. In addition, because of the wine’s minerality and resulting etherealness, you will be surprised at how wide a scope of food preparations this wine can work magic with.
For more Mediterranean-styled foods, we have been enjoying the Kir-Yianni Paranga this summer, which is produced from the roditis and malagouzia grape varieties grown in the Florina area of northwestern Greece. Yes, it is tasty, invigorating, light and zippy. In addition, its quietly exotic perfume can really create some fascinating pairings with food.
For those especially hot days, we always have some Dr. F. Weins-Prüm Graacher Domprobst Riesling Feinherb well chilled and handy. It’s a really cooling, thirst-quenching drink.
Christopher P. Bates, M.S., Element Winery and F.L.X. Wienery (Dundee, NY). The Hermann J. Wiemer Semi-Dry Riesling—as much as I can drink, and as often as I can drink it. The wine is crisp, zingy, balanced and bright, and one heck of a value. With the interest in the Finger Lakes region booming, this wine exemplifies why.