I’ve been invited this week to appear on the fun daytime show “South Florida Today” on NBC in Miami. Trina Robinson and I will be talking about summer wines that taste great out of a plastic cup – a subject I love to address each summer. Bonus that my picks this week are all under $15, so these are great options for your next party when you’ve got to entertain a crowd. If you’re in Miami tune in to NBC for the segment on Thursday, June 10th! Here is my plastic cup wine advice for Summer 2010.
What happens in summer? We have BBQs, there are lots of people over and everyone gathers outside. You sip wine in a backyard, at a beach or by a pool. Sometimes on a boat! And these types of gatherings often happen without glassware, hence the plastic cup reference.
When choosing a wine for such a gathering, what you want to aim for is a wine that has big aromatics and refreshing acidity. Remember, the reason wines are drunk from pretty tulip shaped glasses is because that shape concentrates the aromas to your nose. A plastic cup, without that shape, dissipates those aromas. But wines that are intense and aromatic can overcome this obstacle.
For Torrontes, try the Crios de Susana Balbo – this is a value bottle that is a great example of the grape. Torrontes is unique to Argentina. We love it because it has the aromatics of a grape like Viognier but the crisp acidity of Sauvignon Blanc. It gives you lots of stone fruits – peach, pear, even apple, with a floral backbone as well. It's just pretty in the nose. Then on the palate, you get this zippy acidity that is so refreshing next to the fruity, floral flavors. A perfect combination.
In the Sauvignon Blanc realm, I'm a huge fan of the Montes Leyda Sauvignon Blanc. It is a very aromatic example of Sauvignon Blanc – definitely cool-climate in style – grassy, with citrus-notes and a touch of herbal character. Crisp and refreshing and a perfect summer wine for the heat. The Leyda region in Chile is very cool and this wine shows how great the region is at Sauvignon Blanc.
Then there is Rose… you can't think of summer without thinking of Rose! A current favorite is definitely the Mulderbosch from South Africa. It's a bit different than many rose wines as it is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. But we love this part of it – it's bold enough to match up to some spicy summer foods and yet crisp enough to get you through the heat! And… perfect in a plastic cupFor reds, stick to Cotes-du-Rhone reds and Zinfandel. They have great fruit, usually mild tannins and are great with a number of foods (particularly BBQ)!
If you’re like me, you may feel bad about the environmental impact of plastic, or you may just love stemware. If you don't want to use real wine glasses but also don't want plastic, invest in some stemless wine glasses. I love my Riedel O's and we use those almost every since they easily fit in the dishwasher. If Riedel isn’t in the budget, there are now biodegradable cups being made out there, which should help you feel better about using disposables when your guest count is large.
Welcome to Summer!