Sunny days and busy streets tell me that summer has arrived in Cannon Beach. This is my favorite time of the year as Maryann and I sit on our deck almost every evening and enjoy fresh fruit and greens from the Farmers Market with something off the grill. And wine of course! As the days get warmer, my wine picks tend to get lighter.
So much is made about pairing the proper wine with your food that we often forget that the wine has to pair with the temperature as well. If it’s 90 degrees outside and you’re already sweating, a big glass of cabernet sauvignon will only contribute to your discomfort. Instead, a crisp, cool glass of white wine or rosé is refreshing. But, as I write these words, I can almost feel them ricochet off the foreheads of readers who proudly exclaim they only drink red wine.
Here are a couple of local wines to get you and your friends happily through summer.
You know I like sparkling wine! What better way to say hello to sunny skies or a beautiful sunset than a crisp, cold glass of bubbly? Oregon wineries are starting to figure out Mother Nature has blessed them with perfect conditions to make sparkling wine. Sokol Blosser Sparkling Evolution is a Wine Shack favorite and a bottle of this should always be in your collection. This wine offers you flavors of apricot, apple and pear. Made from Sokol Blosser White Evolution wine, this sparkler goes nicely with shellfish, a cheese plate, desserts and a sunny beach. Personally, I chill sparkling wine as cold as I can get it. Also, the new thing for sparkling wine is to ditch the tall slender wine flute and instead, enjoy the bubbly in a regular wine glass. Whichever glass you use, bubbly is always welcome!
I know that pinot gris is a great summer wine, but I’m choosing a pinot blanc instead. J Scott pinot blanc delivers flavors of pineapple and pear, with a crisp minerality that has more structure than its pinot gris relative. Made by Jonathan Oberlander in Eugene, this wine is a favorite of mine and is a perfect seafood/shellfish wine. P.S., J Scott pinot blanc would be a perfect match with fish tacos.
My next summer pick is a rosé. This should come as no surprise if you’ve read this column over the past three years. “Drink Pink” is one of my summer mottos and I really try to live up to this. When it comes to rosé, my pick this summer is Puffin rosé. Yes, I know this is a shameless homer pick, but Puffin Rosé wine has won gold medals at both the Oregon Wine Awards and Savor Northwest Wine Competitions this year. Puffin rosé was named “Best of Class” at Savor Northwest and was just named a “Top Rosé” pick by the Oregon Wine Press. Puffin Rosé delivers delicious strawberry, citrus and rhubarb flavors with a crisp acidity. Rosé is a crowd pleaser and pairs with a wide variety of food, from salads and tacos to burgers and salmon.
My summer pinot noir pick is White Rose “Black Thorn.” White Rose, in the Dundee Hills, has established itself as one of the finest pinot noir producers in the state. Black Thorn, made from estate fruit, is a new release from White Rose. This medium-bodied wine is packed with cherry and black pepper flavors. If you enjoy grilled salmon or grilled pizza, this is a great wine for you.
My last summer wine pick is a red from Pudding River Wine Cellars in Salem. Sean Driggers is one of my favorite Oregon winemakers and The Wine Shack carries every wine we can get from Pudding River. If you enjoy a nice grilled rib eye, then Pudding River malbec is right for you. Released about a month ago, this malbec offers notes of blueberry, plum and pepper, with an earthiness that makes it a great wine for grilled foods, including barbecue. My employee, Lee Roberts, gave me the first review on this wine and told me that we had to put this wine on the shelves. He was right.
So there you go. Your summer wine list is set and all of the bases are covered. You can find all of these wines (and many more) at The Wine Shack. And, while you’re at The Shack, don’t forget to wander over to our new store, Provisions 124 to pick up a bottle of Joe’s Bigfoot Barbecue Sauce. This will spice up your pulled pork or your grilled chicken. If you’re really brave, try Joe’s Marionberry/Habanero sauce.
Have a great summer and drink responsibly.