Next wine tasting: Anything but Chardonnays'

By By Stan Torgerson / wine columnist
April 10, 2002
All winter, we treat our wines as serious business. What goes with steak or lamb or chicken or one of many meals you prepare after long hours in the kitchen? You worry about it because the proper wine has a different meaning in that part of the year.
But winter is over and now it's time to think about patio wines those lovely, but light, red or white wines that are made for warm spring days or hot summer nights on the patio with friends and neighbors. Call them sipping wines if you wish.
Serve them with cheese or tasty little hors d'oeuvres and leave the big cabernet sauvignons, the red zinfandels, even the merlots in the house with the scotch or bourbon highballs or martinis. There is nothing better for that time and that place than sipping wines.
There is a problem, however. We are all creatures of habit. When you read the above I can hear your mind saying, "What a nice idea, chardonnays on the patio."
If there is one thing our attendees at the wine tastings have learned, it is that there is a wide variety of wonderful wines that will spice up your food and entertainment ideas if you will only give them a chance. The Karly zinfandels. The Greg Norman Australian wines. The wines of Spain.
These, and so many others, have become best-sellers here in Meridian.
Our next tasting is April 25. I choose to call it "Anything but Chardonnays." That's what it shall feature. Anything but chardonnays.
Don't misunderstand. Chardonnays are wonderful and we will have a chardonnay tasting before summer comes. Only chardonnays. But for this tasting, we will serve anything but chardonnays in order for you to discover there are some wonderful patio wines waiting to be discovered, wines that will make your guests turn and say, "What is this lovely wine and where did you get it?"
Let me give you an idea of the wines we have selected. One is a Pascal-Jolivet Sancerre from France. A recent review in the Wine Spectator magazine said this: "Fresh, youthful and vivid, this white offers all the charms of the varietal, grass, citrus and earthy mineral notes in a charming yet lightweight presentation."
There will be a Bertani Veneto Le Lave from Italy. The review says "Delicious white. Aromas of lemon, lime and toasted almonds. Medium body with good fruit and an aftertaste of pear and peach."
The giant King Estate in Oregon contributes a pinot gris. "Round and generous with layers of spicy apple, pear and melon flavors on a polished frame," the reviewer said. "A bit more stylish than most."
Those who attended our recent wine and cheese tasting will remember that one of the most popular wines of the evening was the Sacred Hill chardonnay from New Zealand. This winery also makes a fine sauvignon blanc and we will serve it as part of the "Anything but Chardonnays" tasting.
We've chosen a $39 bottle of muscat from Alsace for the tasting and a Pinot Blanc from the same area of France, both of which come highly recommended.
And yes, we have not forgotten there are certain red wines that are warm weather wonderful. Many of them are made by Georges Duboeuf, the greatest producer of French beaujolais light red wines. His beaujolais villages is on our list.
We think you will enjoy most, if not all, of the wines to be served. We think you will broaden your wine-tasting horizon and learn there are other marvelous patio wines besides chardonnays. How many wines will we serve? I'm not sure yet, but I think perhaps eight. I'm having too much fun picking them out. By next week the list should be complete.
But call now and make your reservation. The number is 482-0930. A seat at the table is $25 and for that you get to taste each and every one. It will be held at Northwood Country club and will start at 6:30 p.m. as usual. You do not have to be a member of the club to attend, and you can have dinner there afterward if you choose.
I'm not going to tell you you're going to love every wine served. Most of them, yes, but some less than others. But if adventures in wine are fun and exciting to you, we promise you the April 25 tasting will be both.

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