Summer's end merits exceptional wine and grill pairings
With summer slipping away, the only sensible course lies in firing up the grill and opening tasty bottles of wine.
To assist in the effort, the PLCB's Premium Collection inventory couldn't be better heading into the Labor Day weekend. Pick up both white and red wines and consider trying the following tasty combinations:
No country surpassed Portugal over the last 20 years for sustained improvement in delivering terrific, value-laden wines. Portuguese vinho branco — that is, white wines — have become especially notable.
For example, the 2012 Cortes de Cima Chaminé Vinho Branco, Alentejano, Portugal (Luxury 43173; $13.99) has marvelous aromas, rich texture and superb balance to create a beautiful pairing with grilled fish. It blends antão vaz and verdelho — traditional Portuguese varieties — with the international varieties of sauvignon blanc and viognier. All the grapes grow near coastal southern Portugal bathed by cooling maritime breezes.
After harvest in the cool early morning, the fruit ferments in temperature-control stainless steel to preserve freshness and aromatic complexity, qualities notably lacking in Portuguese wines of preceding generations. Aging the wine on the lees — spent yeast cells — added creamy texture to balance the grapes' inherent tart acidity.
The golden-colored wine unleashes pear, quince and honeysuckle aromas. Ripe apple, pear and tart grapefruit flavors balance with a lovely vein of acidity carrying through the dry finish. Recommended.
For delicious barbecued chicken legs and thighs, cook the pieces over indirect, low heat for about an hour. By avoiding the direct heat and flames, the chicken remains juicy and tender on the inside, while the crisp skin becomes caramelized with the generous application of your favorite sweet and spicy brown sauce.
Pair the chicken with a slightly chilled bottle of the very tasty 2010 Domaine Bruno Dufeu Bourgeuil “Grand Mont,” France (Luxury 46245; $14.99). Yes, it is a red.
Monsieur Dufeu's Grand Mont Vineyard lies in high slopes along the Loire River's right bank. He has the good fortune to work with low-yielding 50-year-old Breton — that is, cabernet franc — vines growing in clay, limestone and chalky tuffeau soils.
Labor-intensive, severe pruning reduces yields further and concentrates the vines' energies into ripening the few remaining grapes. The harvested crop delivers complex aromas, ample fruitiness, refreshing acidity and elegant tannins.
Fermentation and maturation of the wine in stainless steel also extenuate the lovely fruit-forward personality. On the nose, black-raspberry and violet aromas mix with hints of smoky graphite. In the glass, classic tart raspberry and plum flavors with light herbal notes unfold completely unaffected by oak. Bright acidity and fresh mineral traits carry through the smooth tannins and dry, but fruity finish. Highly recommended.
For a special treat, grill veal chops briefly over high heat. The exterior should be well cooked and smoky while inside the meat remains moist and juicy. Pair the veal with the tasty 2012 Fattoria del Cerro Chianti Colli Sensi, Italy (Luxury 46263; $11.99), an Italian classic produced near the medieval city of Sienna.
In an effort to attract international attention and high numerical ratings, some modern Chianti producers fall prey to blending in international varieties such as merlot. They also resort to aging the wine in new, small oak barrels.
Such wines betray traditional Chianti and undermine this noble wine's deep roots and classic, distinctive personality. Not so with Fattoria del Cerro's Chianti Colli Sensi, which uses a classic blend of Sangiovese (90 percent) and canaiolo nero.
The ruddy, ruby-colored wine offers black-cherry aromas with light herbal notes. Aging in large, Slavonian oak casks for about three months adds just a hint of tannic structure while the fruit's natural freshness and acidity shine. Highly recommended.
Dave DeSimone writes about wine for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Founder of Z&M Cycle Sales in Hempfield killed in Florida motorcycle crash
- Starkey: Tomlin lived in his fears
- Slain St. Clair officer walked into ‘worst nightmare’ for police
- Increasing player salaries pinch financial flexibility of Pirates
- 7 percent in Allegheny County able to carry concealed gun
- Film session: Long shots dotted Steelers’ passing game
- 2,200 union employees of ATI lose coverage
- Steelers receiver Wheaton takes advantage of opportunity in breakout game
- Penguins’ reshuffled top line of Crosby, Dupuis, Kunitz looks familiar
- Pa. Supreme Court: Highmark Medicare Advantage members to retain access to UPMC
- Steelers notebook: Bryant confident in backup Jones if Big Ben can’t play