Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Summery White for Chilling and Grilling

We had a heat wave in LA recently, with temperatures well into the 90s. It was a not-so-gentle reminder of the high temperatures to come. Do you have your summer whites on hand for the first time the mercury climbs into the stratosphere?

If not, consider picking up the 2007 Big House Wine Company Big House White. (suggested retail $9.99; available for $7-$12 throughout the country) It's a blend of Muscat Canelli, Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc, Malvasia Bianca, Vermentino, and Muscat de Gaillo. And while some wines blended from this many grapes can be a bit mushy in the taste department and leave you wondering why they bothered to mix them all together, this blend works to produce a white wine that is perfect for chilling down and sipping on the patio while you grill up some fish or chicken. This may be the quintessential summer sipper with its aromas of peach, apricot, and blood orange lurking under a Stelvin closure. Flavors of blood orange and peach predominate, all wrapped up in a sweet and honeyed aftertaste. Even so, there's enough acidity to keep the wine lively and interesting. Excellent QPR given the wine's price and its well-balanced flavors.

This wine would be just as at home with spicy Asian food as it would be with grilled food, and it's a perfect partner for salads, too. We had ours with the cover recipe from a recent issue of Bon Appetit: a salad of grilled chicken, radish, cucumber, and tarragon pesto. I often pair tarragon with Sauvignon Blanc, but if you don't get it just right the tastes can sometimes be jarring. This wine was great with the strong flavors of the radish and tarragon, and had the right blend of softness and acidity to pair with the cucumbers and greens.

Full Disclosure: I received this wine as a sample.

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