Five Fun Summer Red Wines

 
On a recent trip from South to North, we had the pleasure to stop at one of our favorite airport oasis – Vino Volo.  They have this uncanny ability to surprise us with fun, interesting wine – which is hard to do for Dr. & Dr. Serious Foodie.
 

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Domodimonti Picens

We had a glass of the Domondimonti Picens 2008 red blend (a Montepulciano, Sangiovese, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon blend from the Marche region of Italy) and the Coriole Vineyards Sangiovese-Shiraz (from the McLaren Vale of Australia).
The Domondimonti (organic certified) was well balanced and juicy, with mocha, spice and earthy accents (tobacco, leather) hints that were highlighted by the ripe flavors of black cherry and other red berries.  We would definitely use this wine again to serve in the summer months – light enough to drink on its own, but would stand up to smoky flavors from the grill.
Coriole Sangiovese Shiraz
Coriole Sangiovese Shiraz

We were particularly impressed with the Coriole Vineyards Sangiovese-Shiraz – we typically will not drink any Sangiovese wine from anywhere but Italy.  This Sangiovese-Shiraz blend was a very refreshing style, with very soft tannins matched with a nice amount of acidity – making this a very food friendly wine.  It was slightly earthly, with a nice aroma and flavor of red berries – predominately cherry and raspberry. The last time Wine Spectator reviewed this wine, they gave it an 86 rating for the 2001 vintage.  We think they would rate this higher
now, and in fact it will be on our “20 under $25” red wine list, which will be released in September.  As of now, both wines will make our list.
We matched both wines with their charcuterie plate – they worked especially well with the strong cheeses and fatty meats – gently cutting the richness of the textures and flavors.  We would recommend both of these wines with grilled meats, especially pork with a bit of spice.
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Baracchi Toscana O’lillo 2012

Baracchi Toscana O’lillo 2012.  Although we reviewed this wine recently, we served it again at an “all smoker” party, when we served various meat and fish that were dry rubbed and smoked with apple wood.  It was so tremendous with the strong flavors of the meat, with its ripe red fruit, licorice, and spice flavors, matched with very well-balanced tannins and acid.  See our Baracchi review from our May wine tasting event.
The Prisoner
The Prisoner

The Prisoner 2011.  We were happy that our friend FlyGirl-R brought over a bottle of our favorite go-to restaurant wine to our smoked salmon party recently.  We almost forgot how versatile this wine can be, with its wild blend of 51% Zinfandel, 19% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Syrah, 12% Petite Sirah,  2% Charbono, and 1% Grenache.  We would never call this a subtle wine, especially at over 15% alcohol content – but it somehow worked well with the spicy, smoky salmon.  This wine constantly gets high ratings from Wine Spectator, and for good reason – it remains a rock solid choice for summer time eating.
Hofsatter Lagrein
Hofsatter Lagrein

 
J. Hofstatter Lagrein 2011.  Lagrein is one of those Italian varietals, primarily grown in Alto Adige, that you won’t see in any other part of the world.  Lagrein can be traced to other grapes, such as Teroldego, Syrah, and Pinot Noir – and has flavors of each of these grapes.  There are some great versions of this varietal, but we think the most accessible is from the producer J. Hofstatter.  The wines from this winemaker are consistent, and some are outstanding.  The 2011 Lagrein is a lot of fun – bright tastes of blackberry, plum, and a bit of tobacco, with flavors that last long on the palate.  It is well-balanced, can be sipped on its own, but works well with fatty, smoky meats.

One of our other go-to wines for summer drinking is made from another fringe Italian red grape – Marzemino, that is primarily grown around Isera, south of Trentino.  Our favorite is made by Pratello – but after buying a case of the 2006, we haven’t been able to find it anywhere.  So, it would be unfair to list this as a fun summertime wine – if you get frustrated when you can’t find it.

As always, let us know what you think!  We appreciate the feedback.

Doctor Serious Foodie

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