by Jay Kitterman, consultant, LLCC Culinary Institute
More than during any other season, summer seems to require rethinking one’s approach to wine and beer. For my article today I am staying local with tasting notes from two Springfield wine stores, a Central Illinois winery and a brewery.
First, think outside of the bottle! Once considered a novelty, cans have burst into the mainstream, enticing wine drinkers to pop the tab with their easy-drinking style, convenient packaging and value.
Pink or rose wines are no longer just “White Zin” look-alikes. The new roses are not the sugary sweet wines of old, but rather sophisticated summer sisters of many red wine varietals. To offer even more incentive to “drink pink” the vast majority of rosé wines offer good value for the money.
Emily at the Corkscrew Wine Emporium has provided the following wine tasting notes:
Cascadian Rose, convenient for picnics and outdoor events, this is Washington State’s first canned rose. Vibrant aromas of flowers, strawberries, raspberries, peach and orange. This is the first canned rose receiving a “Wine Enthusiast Best Buy” rating.
Dievole Le Due Arbie Rosato has a lovely salmon color, a fruit forward bouquet with grapefruit and white peach aromas. It is beautiful with hors d ’oeuvres, shellfish and melon salads.
Robert Mondavi Maestro is an elegant Bordeaux blend from Napa Valley. A crescendo of dark, juicy plum and casis fruit, violet, cinnamon and unsweetened cocoa linger on sumptuous sips full of vibrant flavor and plush tannins. With 73% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Cabernet Franc, 2 % Merlot and 2% Petit Verdot, it is a perfect wine to pair with your summer grilled steaks and burgers.
VeRy Grapefruit Rose For those who like something sweeter, this is a thirst quenching rose. It is a perfect balance between rose wine and grapefruit. Mix it equally with a sparkling wine for a fun new drink, perfect for sipping by the pool.
In addition to wines, the Corkscrew carries a full line of Bunn Gourmet meat for the grill and a selection of cheeses you will not find anywhere else in Springfield. Visit their website at www.thecorkscrew.com for hours and sign up to receive emails with their weekly sales and events.
Kristopher Zander from It’s All About Wine has provided the following notes:
Rosé may be the ultimate summer wine. There are many different varietal blends of Rosé available today, ranging from light to dark, making it a versatile food pairing partner. The Banshee Rosé possesses the depth to pair with everything from a light salad to grilled meats.
Sauvignon Blanc is also a great choice for summer. Le Grand Ballon from the Loire Valley in France, with its zesty notes of grass, herbs, lemon and lime, makes for a refreshing summer sipper and also goes well with seafood.
Lighter reds can complement a backyard barbecue. Pinot Noir is light enough for delicate fish yet will stand up to grilled meats or just enjoyed on its own. Silky and well balanced, the Morgan 12 clones Pinot Noir and fits that description completely.
It’s All About Wine offers a wine school and tastings. For more information, visit their website at www.itsallaboutwine.net and sign up for their emails.
I recently attended an Illinois Grape Growers and Vintners Association event at Danenberger Family Vineyard in nearby New Berlin and continue to be amazed. Every time I visit Danenberger’s, Susan and Doug have added something new. Hard to believe, for what were once shipping containers are now converted into seating areas stacked on top of each other for their Wine Rocks concerts. Susan has provided notes on summer recommendations including upcoming bottlings. My personal favorite is the Carmin.
LaFemme 2018 made from a dry rosé grape: Chambourcin. The 2018 LaFemme rosé is delightfully dry; each sip is like biting into a melange of fresh picked wild berries and citrus fruit, tinged with granny smith apples, exotic spices, crushed-rock minerality and mouthwatering acidity.
PaperMoon 2017 made from dry, soft grapes: Chardonnay, Viognier, and Albarino. The silky, creamy mouthfeel of this blend draws you in. This graceful wine is dry and complex, but not intimidating. You will find hints of pear, nutty overtones, orange blossom, mango, mown hay and violets. It has two personalities: chilled and room temperature. Pairs with seafoods, Comté and Gruyere.
Clair de Lune 2017 a semi-sweet new release: Vidal Blanc and Traminette. Bask in the bright French moonlight. Clair de Lune is finished in Alsatian-style, enhancing the floral and citrus aromatic aspects of this grape. It is fresh and crisp with sweet, but balanced, fruity tartness. You will find orange peel, bright fruit, melon, rose and cinnamon notes with a crisp finish, which is toned down with some restrained sweetness on the mid palate and finishes with minerality and great acidity. It pairs with shellfish, savory chicken or veal dishes, Bleu cheese, Gruyere, Muenster
Carmin 2016, a dry, French oak grape: Cabernet Franc. It is so exceptional that it won a medal before it was officially released! It is balanced with a peppery finish that promotes the dark fruit, with intriguing notes of red fruits, mahogany, black pepper, dried currant, earthy spice with hints of vanilla. One dollar from every bottle is donated to Metavivor for Metastatic Breast Cancer Research.
This is more than just a winery! Danenberger’s is now a destination for entertainment, (see their website for this year’s lineup). There are numerous areas for couples or groups both inside and out, and now they offer great food. The vineyard recently partnered with Chef Chip Kennedy from 5flavors Catering & Finley’s fame and developed SAPORI ITALIA. Try the Fettuccini-Cibo meraviglioso! Visit their web site, www.danenbergerfamilyvineyards.com for hours, directions, information on group/event reservations and a list of upcoming events.
Rolling Meadow Farm Brewery www.rollingmeadowsfarmbrewery.com is located on a working 1400-acre farm in nearby Cantrall, Ill., just outside of Springfield. Rolling Meadows is located along the Sangamon River, which President Abraham Lincoln lived near and traveled along during his young adult life. In tribute to Springfield’s most famous former resident, two of the brewery’s first three beers were named for Lincoln: Lincoln’s Lager, a light-bodied lager, and Abe’s Ale, a maple syrup brown ale. The third is Springfield Wheat, a bottle-conditioned wheat. They produce beer as sustainably and locally as possible, using ingredients they source from their own backyard. From the hops to the malts, they are growing, picking and crafting with ingredients that are just steps away from their brewery.
If you enjoy craft beers I highly recommend a visit. They have a full range of beers and their website lists local bars, restaurants and markets that sell their beer. A couple of their beers are fruit based with grapes sourced from their neighbor Jeffries Orchard. Check out their website for hours and events at the brewery.
We are fortunate to have the above retailers, winery and brewery close by and my thanks to all of them for providing me notes for this article. Enjoy your summer and be sure to support our local retailers and venues.