Follow Julie Albin, a Wine and Spirits Professional, & Find Out What’s in Her Glass and Where She Sips
The summer season has sure been interesting for us in California. Between arctic chills in the north to heatwaves in the south, and of course the notorious wild fires, this is always a very complex time of year for those of us in the Golden State. But lucky for us, there is an incredibly wide range of wines to sip on this summer as we sit in our picnic chairs and brace ourselves for whatever this wacky season has in store for us.
Russian River Valley
This rosé is just so darn refreshing with its light body, crisp acidity and lots of finesse. But being from Russian River Valley, there’s no hiding its fruit forward aspect that offers juicy hints of watermelon, cherry, honeysuckle and even a little bay laurel. It has everything that you want and need in your delicious summer sipper. Drink it by the pool or with your al fresco lunch.
Arca Nova – Rosé 2015 – $10
Vinho Verde, Portugal
Straight from the cool climate region of Vinho Verde is this slightly spritzy rosé with its succulent fruit notes of strawberry, lemon zest, and subtle hints of cheddar cheese powder. It has the characteristic effervescence that’s typical of wines from this region that perfectly matches the wine’s brisk acidity, bright fruit and long saline finish.
Sta. Rita Hills
It’s hard to talk about the fantastic wines of Sta. Rita Hills without mentioning Brewer-Clifton. This coastal Pinot Noir is produced from a “Merry Edwards selection” clone and shows off its personality with nuances of ripe cherry, redcurrant, violet, fennel and crushed tobacco. It certainly isn’t shy about its flavor intensity, round body and firm, yet velvety tannic structure that will ensure this wine ages well. But don’t hesitate to open this now because it’s tasting pretty fabulous at this stage.
Santa Barbara County
From deep within the hills of Santa Barbara County is this Tempranillo that will make you want to fry up some chorizo as a delicious pairing for this smoky and spice driven wine. It offers zesty aromas of black plum, red cherry and charred bell peppers. On the palate it has a soft, plush body structure with vibrant acidity and notes of dark chocolate, savory spice and olive on the finish. Sip on this one at your next backyard BBQ.
This is a mighty fine example of Alsatian Grand Cru Riesling with sweet perfumes of kumquat, candied lemon and blood orange zest that are held together by a backbone of lanolin, petroleum and granite minerality. The wine’s lush texture, vibrant acidity and precision are joined by distinct flavors of iris, white pepper and a long citrus peel finish.
WHERE I’M DRINKING:
Hakkasan, San Francisco – Evolution of Ling Ling Cocktail Flight – $30
Hakkasan’s exclusive Ling Ling experience launched last year in Mykonos and the second is set to open in Marrakech this fall. So in celebration of it, Hakkasan locations around the world are featuring a limited version of this izakaya inspired concept from July 1st through August 31st.
Here in San Francisco, Hakkasan guests can experience this unique tasting flight of three cocktails paired with three dim sum dishes that are perfect for a little summertime pick-me-up. Stop by there throughout the month of August to get a taste of Ling Ling for $30.
Bitter Fortune – Tanqueray No. 10 gin, Aperol, rhubarb liqueur, pink grapefruit and peach bitters
Paired with: Venison Puff
Both the cocktail and dish are rather sweet on their own, yet when tasted side by side, together they minimize each other’s sweetness and bring out the pleasant savory characters.
Golden Mare – Tanqueray No. 10 gin, Aperol, rhubarb liqueur, pink grapefruit, peach bitters, Pernod, rosemary, basil and pineapple
Paired with: Crispy Duck Roll
These two together are an umami match made in heaven. Concentrated flavors of spices and herbs create a delectable synergy in this pairing that will leave you wanting more.
Chili Coupette – Tanqueray No. 10 gin, Aperol, rhubarb liqueur, pink grapefruit, peach bitters, chili, cardamom, peppermint and passion fruit
Paired with: Sesame Prawn Toast
Citrus and spice and everything nice. The zesty citrus and sweet ginger bring out the best side of the chili spice and makes for a mouthwatering pairing with this dish.