While the first day of summer isn't officially for a few more weeks, summertime is definitely upon us here in Charleston. In an effort to be proactive rather than reactive, we've put together a Tasting for you of wines that are a perfect pairing for a summer gathering; be it a barbeque, an oyster roast, going out on the boat or just a casual, friendly get-together. We've put in the work so you don't have to - all you need to do is enjoy the Tasting itself and then you've got a variety pack selection of wines to choose from to get you through the dog days of the coming months.
Each of the four wines we'll be enjoying are completely versatile. You need something to pair with shrimp or lighter-style seafood? We got you covered. Lowcountry cuisine? We got you. Burgers and hotdogs? Yup. BBQ? Done. Just hanging out on the porch or in the backyard and not eating at all? Absolutely!
We've got two sparkling wines, both from Burgundy France. And you know us, we just LOVE our side-by-side comparisons around here! So for this face-off, we're going wicked nerdy, so please indulge us! One is from Chablis in Northern Burgundy and the other is from the Cote de Beaune in Southern Burgundy. Each selection is made from Chardonnay (the White of Burgundy), but this is where the similarities pretty much end. The French are masters at winemaking, this is an undeniable fact. When it comes to sparkling wine, Champagne is from the Champagne region way up in Northern France. Sparkling wine made anywhere else in France, outside of Champagne, is called Crémant. Well, more often than not anyway. But not necessarily always. At the risk of tumbling even further down this rabbit hole, let's just suffice it to say that there's significantly more to making Champagne than just making sparkling wine in Champagne. [If you'd like to get deeper into this, buy Justin a glass or two on a quiet day and you can listen to him stumble along with the specifics]. The easy answer is that the vignerons of Champagne use what is called Méthode Champenoise (insert Science and painstaking things to think about here). Anyway, Crémant is also made in that Champagne Method. But then every once in a while someone wants to make something more economical (Lazy? Easy way out? Don't tell anyone we said that! Because making Sparkling wine, even when in the not painstaking Champagne Method is still super hard). So, when making Sparkling wine in France, not in the Champagne Region or Méthode Champenoise, the wine is called Vins Mousseaux.
Thank you for hanging in there through all of that. (Insert exasperated emoji here).
Next let's talk about Sacha Lichine. Mr. Lichine is a vigneron from Provence who, once upon a time, was the creator of a little rosé you may have heard of called Whispering Angel. While he is no longer affiliated with that brand, he does have a new project that he put out last year for the first time called The Pale. 2020 was his inaugural vintage and we have both 2020 and the current 2021 in house. We're all Rosé lovers, but sometimes our styles are different. The Pale is Provence through and through, beautiful, and whether you prefer your rosé young and fresh or with a touch of age on it like we do, either way we're certain you're going to love this wine. And even if you are the former, it's always cool to be able to have the inaugural vintage of something!
And finally. A Pinot Gris from Alsace, France.Tucked between the Vosges Mountains separating them from France to the west and the Rhine River separating them from Germany to the east, Alsace is a place all its own. In that valley they take their cuisine and wine very seriously. It's not just pairings but an entire way of life for them. They consider Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris and Muscat the Four Noble Varietals. The way they make their wines is meant to be Food-Friendly. As stated, of the Four Noble Varietals, we'll be enjoying the Pinot Gris from Hugel & Fils. In classic fashion, this is an excellent representation of Alsatian Pinot Gris. In an uncharacteristically French move, they decided to have some serious fun with the label. Meet Alsatian Man with Corkscrew by Ralph Steadman. If the artwork seems familiar, that's because Mr. Steadman was a co-conspirator and fellow compatriot of Hunter S Thompson and is responsible for all of his Gonzo artistry. If you do indeed want to hear more about Méthode Champenoise and are intending to buy Justin a drink to hear it, if you bring this character along to sit in on the conversation you'll definitely be improving your chances!
Summer wine options are a must here in Charleston thanks to our heat and humidity. Our selection is sure to appeal to every palate and occasion. So come on out and have some fun with us and get your coolers ready for the sunny season!
See you there!
The Wine Shop Team