August: Rosé's Last Stand
Summer’s last wave of warm temperatures is a great time to turn to rosé and sultry red wines that are a solid match with grilled and barbecued meats. California sparkling wines are a prelude to the meal, too, with tinges of sweetness to open up the palate.
2016 Planeta Winery Rosé, Sicily, Italy
In the glass, this rosé (50% Syrah and 50% Nero d’Avola) is a pale pink hue, with strawberry notes on the palate and a light, fresh profile. Although the estate’s vines date back to the 1600s, it wasn’t until the mid-1980s that the Planeta family delved into winemaking, launching in the U.S. in the late 1990s.
2014 Charles Smith Wines “The Velvet Devil” Merlot, Columbia Valley, Washington
This isn’t your typical Merlot, as there’s a surprising softness throughout along with barely there, very smooth tannins. A raspberry pie aroma and notes of blackberries and mushrooms complete the picture. A trace of tobacco and cedar make this a fine wine to sip with grilled meats or easily hold the weight of spicy foods.
2015 Ravage Cabernet Sauvignon, California
Inky purple in the glass, this deeply intense style of Cabernet Sauvignon (76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 10% Zinfandel, 3% Syrah, and 1% other reds) might be confused for a Petite Sirah in a blind tasting. Notes of mocha and black cherries, and subtle spices for a little bit of heat, lend this wine to dessert pairings, too.
2013 Duckhorn Vineyards Merlot, Napa Valley, California
From a storied Merlot producer in Napa Valley and blended from a mix of estate vineyards and prized growers, the 2013 vintage translates to dense black raspberries and plums that wind into soft tannins. Accented by vanilla, orange peel, and cocoa, this Merlot is truly outstanding.
2015 Jordan Vineyard & Winery Chardonnay, Russian River Valley, Sonoma County, California
Historically, Jordan’s Chardonnay, a blend from 20 vineyard blocks, has shown viscosity and effervescence—and the 2015 vintage is no exception. Bright and fresh, with pineapple notes, there’s a crispness and richness, with ample minerals to pair well with raw bar items.
Mezza di Mezzacorona Italian Glacial Bubbly Extra Dry Sparkling Wine, Trentino, Italy
New to market this year and an ideal by-the-glass offering, the off-dry profile on this sparkling wine from Northern Italy easily pleases differing palates. A blend of 60% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Bianco, and 10% Müller-Thurgau results in white peach notes and floral aromas, with a fun Art Deco–like packaging.
2016 Les Vignes de Bila-Haut Pays d’Oc Rosé, Côtes du Roussillon, France
This blend of 78% Grenache, 14% Cinsault, and 8% Syrah—aged in stainless steel and culled from 40-year-old vines—evolves into a style of rosé with intense citrus notes and bright fresh cherries. Mineralities throughout and a long, soft finish are other hallmarks of this rosé.
Domaine Chandon Brut Classic, California
Clean, crisp, and snappy, this sparkling wine is produced using méthode traditionnelle, techniques developed in Champagne, France, and a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier. The results are golden apple notes and a slightly sweet profile, with a spicy backbone that’s perfect for drinking with food.