Jim Beauregard's Tasting Notes: A toast to grill season's arrival
As spring gives way to summer, let's look at some beverages that might pair well with your next barebecue.Marchesi de'Frescobaldi Nipozzano Riserva Chianti DOCG, 13.5% alcohol by volume. Suggested retail $19. The blend is 90% Sangiovese, and the remaining 10% is Malvasia nera, Colorino, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. The recommended pairings are barbecued meat and beef stews, and aged cheeses. Here's the technical info: The grapes were grown in Chianti in dry, stony soil of clay and limestone that drains well. Harvested at the end of September/beginning of October of 2009, and fermented for 13 days in stainless steel vats. The varietals were fermented separately and blended before bottling. The wine was aged in barrels for 24 months and then three months in bottle before release.
Once poured, it's purple, looking young, and the aromas jump out of the glass. The rim is pink, to clear at the edge, again suggesting youth. The nose is red fruit with some black berry aromas mixed in, and on the palate it's dry, a little tart on opening, with good tannin, balanced alcohol, and medium-plus flavor intensity of red berry, sour cherry, and the dustiness that speaks of classic Chianti. Long finish that holds the flavors right to the end. Pasta, red sauce, chicken dishes in red sauce or with cheese, and cheese itself, on the intense end of the cheese flavor spectrum. 88 points. Luce della Vite Lucente 2009 IGT, 14.5% abv. SRP $29. Also a blend, this one is in the IGT category, which is Italian for, loosely, "Let's experiment!" The blend is almost reversed here, with Sangiovese in the minority: 75% Merlot, 25% Sangiovese. The wine was fermented in stainless steel vats for 12 days, and aged for 12 months in barrels, 55% French oak (new) and 40% in new American oak. Dark purple with an opaque dark core, slow thick legs and tears, the first aromas are plummy, then graphite comes to the fore, followed by some nice hints of oak smokiness. The palate is dry with remarkable high acidity. The tannin is noticeable but not out of balance, talc-like, and he flavor profile is a harmonious blend of ripe plum, sour cherry and some hints of ripe raspberry on the finish. 89 points.
Summer has arrived, and so has Sam Adams Summer Ale, or, more specifically, Samuel Adams Summer Ale, Seasonal Brew, Wheat Ale brewed with lemon peel and grains of paradise. It has a medium sized white head, yellow-gold beer with loads of bubbles, and a hoppy nose with citrus and some floral notes.
The palate is just off-dry, with medium-minus bitterness, reasonable acidity, well-balanced and –integrated 5.3% alcohol, flavors of citrus that are pleasing and not overpowering. Body is light to medium weight, with medium flavor intensity.
This could be had on its own on a warm summer night, and would pair well with a variety of dishes from salads to seafood.
Lastly for today, let's turn to the local scene for white wine, and take a look at Bob Dabrowski's Candia Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc, 12.5% abv. www.Candia Vineyards.com if you'd like to read more. Lemon, on the pale end of that spectrum, bright, the nose is immediately evident with green and stone fruit.
The palate is predominantly dry, with medium acidity, balanced and well-integrated alcohol, medium body and medium-plus flavor intensity. The gooseberry comes through clearly on the palate, along with green apple, and then pear that walks with you to the finish. Very good, refreshing, perfect for summer.
Contact local beer and wine writer Jim Beauregard at tastingnotesnh.com.