When it comes to wines, most Albertan prefer red wines over whites. Perhaps it is the long, cold, dark winters that make one want to cozy up inside with a simmering beef stew and bottle of red. Or, maybe the fact that Alberta beef and bison, barbecued ribs and hamburgers seem to win out over succulent fish, chicken or shrimp during the short summer season in our northern region. Regardless of the reason, if you are one of those “I only drink red” types, go out on a limb this summer, try some nice whites or roses for a change.
Summer is the best time to experience cool, refreshing, thirst quenching puckers of a crisp, chilled white wine while basking in the sunshine on a patio deck. Roses are a delightful alternative too, ranging from crisp and dry to off dry and nice and fruity. Most can be enjoyed alone, (we mean without food, not friends!) not all of them are “bitter”; lots can be paired with meats and some will utterly surprise you with their delicate flavours. Roses are a perfect accompaniment for salads and are the quaff of choice for many during the hot weather.
Here’s some ways to lighten up this summer and experiment with a few delicious wines and introduce your guests to a whole new range of tastes at your next gathering.
First, you’ll need ice buckets. Use anything from a proper one used to chill champagne to a child’s sand pail, large ceramic flower pot, or a great big colourful bowl. Have fun and use something that works with the theme of your event.
Fill the ice bucket with cold water, just a couple of inches will do. Then fill the top 2/3 up to the rim with ice. Plunge the bottles of wine into the bucket so that the bottle is covered to keep it chilled.
A great way to start any party is with an aperitif, a beverage that will quench thirst and get the gastric juices and taste buds primed for the delicious dinner to follow without filling you up.
Champagne or sparkling wine is a wonderful way to add some pizzazz to any function and is a perfect summer sipper. Sauvignon Blanc is a great choice too, as this wine contain high acidity and medium to high alcohol. Depending on where the wine comes from – it might be a tropical fruit style flavour from Chile or a grassy, gooseberry style from New Zealand for example – they will awaken your mouth and tickle your tongue. Sample a couple to know which ones you prefer.
For a fun change of pace, offer your guests a selection of wines in different coloured ice buckets and label them with the name and a few tasting notes. They might be a crisp, acidic Sauvignon Blanc, a fragrant, floral, lychee-style Gewurztraminer (“Gewurtz” for short) and a sweeter style apricot, honey, lemony Riesling, to name but a few.
Light appetizers ranging from salty chips to succulent shrimp and light cheeses, vegetarian options or spicy selections would all work well with these wines.
Then, if your main course at the event is steak or ribs or even burgers and dogs, you can still fall back on your favourite reds to go with the meal knowing that you have at least tried to expand your wine repertoire. Oh and by the way, next time you are barbequing pork ribs, try pairing them with a crisp semi dry Riesling. You will be amazed!
Want to try more amazing white wines? Come to our “Great Whites” Summer White Wine Tasting at Aligra Wine & Spirits on July 10, 2019. It’s a drop in open house-style from 5-8 pm. As it’s a fundraiser for The Bissell Centre, please register online at www.aligrawineandspirits.com/events . The $10 fee goes to the charity.
Alison Phillips is co owner of Aligra Wine & Spirits at West Edmonton Mall, located at Entrance 58 Lower level below Simons and Scotiabank Theatre. Mention you read this article and receive 10% off your purchase!