Where to begin looking for a perfect summer wine among racks and racks of choices? Here at “Blast”, I consulted our knowledgable friends at Joe Canal’s Discount Liquor of Rio Grande. Greeted at the door by district manager for Kobrand Corporation and recipient of a Wine & Spirit Education Trust Diploma, Becky McNulty, I learned more than I could have ever imagined.
Spring and summer of 2012 have seen a considerable spike in the sales of Prosecco and sparkling wines. Prosecco can be considered a champagne-style choice at a more reasonable price. An Italian white and generally dry or extra dry sparkling, Prosecco is produced through the less expensive Charmat method. Its essential difference from champagne is the Glera grape from which it is derived. Prosecco does not continue to ferment in its bottle and should therefore be consumed at a young age. Served chilled as an aperitif, Prosecco is perfect to prepare the palate for an upcoming meal. The flavor of Prosecco can be described as aromatic and crisp with undertones of pear, white peach, and apricot.
Becky invited me to Joe Canal’s in-house wine tasting station where I sampled more of summer’s fine wines. I began with a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc known as “The Seeker”. The lively acidity of this true “summer white” leaves the palate craving food and pairs perfectly with appetizers. Fairly aromatic with strong undertones of grapefruit, peach, and other citrus fruits, a Sauvignon Blanc goes well with a large variety of cuisine. Becky recommends a glass of this summer white at a barbecue with a homemade tomato salad. Sauvignon Blanc is actually one of the only types of white wine that compliments the tomato taste. Very new to the market, The Seeker is imported from the prestigious Craggy Range Winery whose wines tend to be quite expensive. However, The Seeker is sold at Joe Canal’s at a reasonable price and affords wine-lovers the opportunity to enjoy a Craggy Range wine without breaking the bank.
When my next white sample hit my palate, I experienced an unexpected flavor explosion. This small sip tasted more like a refreshing juice than a wine. The ease with which I finished that small glass was unbelievable. In awe, I asked Becky what exactly this wonderful hybrid calls itself. “White Splash” is a blended wine that contains Pinot Grigio, Voignier, Gewurztraminer, and Malvasia. Produced by St. Francis winery in Sonoma, California, White Splash is referred to by Becky as a premium choice for “pool patio party fun”. She has also dubbed the delicious blend a “patio pounder” because of the complete ease with which drinkers can down glass after glass of this sweet, fruity yet floral white wine hybrid.
From here, Becky introduced a few reds that are “perfect for summer”. While wine enthusiasts tend to favor lighter white wines in the warm summer months, some reds complement summer dishes much more successfully than “safe choice” whites. Becky suggests a lighter, fruitier red such as the Foley Estates Vineyard 100% pure Pinot Noir. What sets this type of red wine aside from its heavier winter counterparts is its lower “tannin” content. While odorless, tannins can be perceived during wine tasting by the drying sensation and sense of bitterness that they tend to leave in the mouth. Pinot Noir does not contain too much tannin and contains the perfect fruity undertones to act as a drink of choice on a summer night. Next taste, for the second time in only twenty minutes, my palate experienced yet another flavor explosion. Slight fruity undertones contrasted with a hint of spice interacted. Becky explained that this was a blended red known as “Red Splash”. A marriage of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Zinfandel and Petite Sirah, Red Splash instantly evokes flavor memories of a backyard barbecue. Becky recommends pairing a glass of Red Splash with a hardy set of BBQ ribs. This blended red can be considered a perfect foil for grilled meats.
To sample these among hundreds of other premium wines, visit Joe Canal’s of Rio Grande and be sure to check out their monthly wine specials on http://www.joecanals.com/rio-grande/. Teeming with knowledge and wine world possibilities, Joe Canal’s offers a unique shopping experience.
1613 State Highway 47 South , Rio Grande, NJ, 08242
By Megan Kummer