I'm always amazed by how much the weather influences what I want to eat and drink. During these hot summer months there is nothing better than eating a fresh tomato and basil salad, sweet corn on the cob and juicy slices of watermelon. In addition to these simply wonderful summer foods, I also take great pleasure in coming home and enjoying a refreshing glass of crisp, cold wine. This is a list of a few of my favorite local selections. All but one hail from New York and all ring in at under $20 per bottle. Cheers!
Shinn Estate Vineyards 2009 Coalescense
Shinn Estate, a vineyard located in the North Fork of Long Island, offers many great wines, but one of my favorites for a warm summer night is their Coalescense. The modestly priced wine is a blend Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot Blanc and Riesling. It is aged completely in stainless steel and has a wonderfully crisp and fresh taste with a citrusy, bright finish. It's light and vibrant character make it an ideal wine to sip on while preparing dinner or relaxing on the patio (or stoop). Besides it being a great pre-dinner palate opener, it also pairs terrifically with light, fresh meals such as raw shellfish and summery salads. I pick it up at Brooklyn Wine Exchange in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, and it is also available on the Shinn Estate Vineyard website.
$15 per bottle
Ravines 2007 Dry Riesling
This particular Finger Lakes Riesling is produced in a dry style. It has lovely notes of pear and apricot with a long, minerally finish. This wine is very versatile and can be enjoyed with grilled fish and chicken, as well as with ethnic foods. It is a great wine to have on hand for those times when you have that situation when you say, "Now what wine would go with this chicken/sushi/Thai food delivery?". Available at Heights Chateau in Brooklyn Heights and on their website.
$15 per bottle
BOE Brooklyn Oenology 2009 Cabernet Franc Rose
The winemaking for Brooklyn Oenology wines takes place in New York State and the design, marketing, sales and distribution take place in a converted warehouse in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. This rose is make from Cabernet Franc grapes grown in the Finger Lakes. It is dry rose that has undertones of watermelon and grapefruit, with a touch of spiciness. This has been my go-to "stoop sipping" wine this summer. Plus, like all of the Brooklyn Oenology wines, the removable label features artwork from a local Brooklyn artist. Check out their website for a list of shops that sell this rose as well as other Brooklyn Oenology wines.
$13 per bottle
Treleaven 2006 Cabernet Franc
The Finger Lakes are most known for their Rieslings and Gewurtztaminers, however this upstate Cabernet Franc is nothing to scoff at. It comes out a small, family run vineyard in King Ferry, New York. It is fruity and light enough to enjoy on a hot summer day, yet has enough structure to hold up to grilled hamburgers and meats. It has a pleasantly earthy taste, with hints of cherry and black pepper. Don't be afraid to pop it into the refrigerator a few minutes before serving to help bring out the fruit and boost up the refreshment factor. Check out the Treleaven website to learn more about the winery and for a list of their retailers.
$17 per bottle
Farnum Hills Extra Dry Cider
Yes, this sparking cider is made from apples, not grapes, but it most certainly deserves a spot on this list. I first tried Farnum Hills Ciders, which are produced in central New Hampshire, at a tasting at Heights Chateau in Brooklyn Heights. Some of the ciders were on the sweet side, as I expected them to be, but this particular one was completely dry. It is elegant and complex and richly aromatic. As an alternative to Prosecco, serve this bubbly as an aperitif at your next dinner party. For a list of retailers that sell Farnum Hills Ciders, check out their website.
$16 per bottle