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Spring Isn’t Just for Flowers. Make Way for Some Wines!

As spring advances to summer, here are some wine recommendations to help with your seasonal wine cellar revamp!

The first signs of spring bring forth a burst of energy and color after winter that can cheer up just about everyone. And in the wine industry, we get excited about vine buds and green leaves, and all the events showcasing wine varietals and trends to get us through the upcoming spring and summer seasons.

With the help of the New Zealand Winegrowers Association, I sampled more than a dozen Sauvignon Blanc white wines with delicious, aromas and flavors reminding me of a springtime bouquet of flowers. There are many of these wines in the market today, but not always widely distributed, so browse online wine stores or go in person to check what your local wine store has stocked. The same goes for South Africa’s Chenin Blanc white wines which were presented by Wines of South Africa. Who doesn’t love a Chenin Blanc? Sophisticated, well balanced and drinkable as an aperitif or with a meal.

Planeta introduced new labels for its La Segreta wines inspired by the historical botanicals on its properties in Sicily. Among flowering trees and bushes at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, we were joined by Alessio Planeta and Dawn Petter, an herbalist, for a tasting of wines and herbs. Take note: the Grillo white wine is exceptional and budget friendly, but don’t forget their award-winning rose.

Frescobaldi Olive Oil and Alie Rose
The new Frescobaldi olive oil – Laudemio – with their Alie Rose.

Frescobaldi knows a lot about wine since the family has been in the business for 30 generations—more than one thousand years—in Italy’s Tuscany. In addition to its excellent wines, there is now an olive oil, Laudemio, and ancient grain pasta, Pasta Tirrena. It was a pleasure to prepare dinner with using these ingredients and following a recipe from their cookbook. Enjoy it with a chilled bottle of their Alie rose. Chin chin!

Trento DOC Institute was founded in 1984 to protect, regulate and promote the Trentino region’s production of sparkling wines using the Champagne method. Food & Wine magazine’s wine editor, Ray Isle, presented an in depth tasting seminar that explored the “Elegance at High Altitude”, so we could understand and taste how the unique limestone soil and climate gives these bubbly wines a taste profile that’s bone dry and astringent with overtones of minerals and orchard fruits.

Concha Y Toro Terryana Carmenere red wine from Chile
Concha Y Toro Terryuna Carmenere red wine from Chile

Concha Y Toro Chile, one of South America’s largest wine producers, hosted a dinner to showcase its prestige wine portfolio that includes Don Melchor and Terryana, both exceptional, delicious, red wines with subtle flavors of dark fruits and long finishes on the palate. Wines from Chile are organically grown without the use of pesticides due to the unique terrain and climate. Many of the red grape varieties and the growing conditions in Chile emulate Bordeaux and Bourgogne in France, producing astounding wines at a fraction of the cost.

Speaking of Bordeaux, there was a Bordeaux vs. Napa comparative tasting & dinner with winemaker Adam Casto and general manager Steven Folb of Ehlers Estate, a more than centuries-old winery located in Napa Valley’s acclaimed St. Helena appellation. Side by side tastings of four Ehlers Estate red wines and four French wines, each wine grown in similar soils, revealed some surprising sips and comments. My favorite was the 2018 Ehlers Estate Portrait which brings together Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot grapes into a harmoniously balanced wine to drink now.

Ehlers Estate red wines St Helena CA
Ehlers Estate wines, St. Helena, CA

Make room for Sweden’s free standing ASKO wine climate cabinet to store your beloved wines at home! Temperature settings can be regulated in different zones of the refrigerator with an app or on a control panel in the fridge. A sommelier took us through a series of New York State (shout out to Hermann J. Wiemer’s semi dry Riesling with Asian pear and mango flavors) and Long Island wines (Onabay Vineyards’ Blanc de Blanc Brut had me at first sip), paired with exquisite Scandinavian-inspired bites at Bjork Café inside the American Scandinavian Foundation cultural center in midtown Manhattan.

ASKO wine climate cabinet with bar shelf
ASKO wine climate cabinet.

And that’s a wrap for May, with more wine discoveries on the calendar for June. We hope that you enjoy a sip or two of wine from time to time and enjoy the discovery as much as we do. Cheers!