April 13, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Six New White Wines for Summer

There are, in this world, some thought-provoking questions that will probably never be satisfactorily answered: Is light a particle or a wave? In a matchup between the 1927 Yankees and the 1986 Mets, who would win? What sort of wine is best drunk in the summer?

Regarding this last question, there are two major schools of thought among wine drinkers—those who believe that any good wine can be enjoyed just as much in June as in December; and those who believe that hot weather calls for white wine, just as cold weather calls for red. Not surprisingly, as the mercury starts to stay above 80 degrees, this age-old debate starts to heat up, and confusion abounds.

While it is true that the ubiquity of air-conditioning has somewhat tempered this debate, in my mind when dining alfresco on a hot and humid day almost nothing is more refreshing than a ice-cold glass of white wine.

Here are six recently released whites worth seeking out:

Bonnet-Ponson, Brut Primer Cru, Champagne, Kosher Edition, Non-Vintage: Just a few years ago the kosher champagne market had shrunk to only three wines, but as kosher French wine in general is making a comeback, so too is kosher champagne, and this new (and delightful) addition raises the number of kosher champagnes to seven. Made from a blend of 60 percent Pinot Noir and 40 percent Chardonnay all grown organically on 45-year-old vines in the Bonnet family’s vineyards in the North of Champagne, this full-bodied dry sparkler has a dark straw color and a thick mousse of tiny bubbles. The bouquet is redolent of apricots, apples, lemons, mangos, cream and hot croissants. Look for flavors of mango, apples and Meyer lemons at the front of the palate, moving towards a creamy, nutty middle, and notes of spice and freshly baked bread on the finish. Alas not distributed in New Jersey, it is good enough to schlep across a river or two for a bottle. Score A/A- ($59. 99. Available at Suhag Wines & Liquor, 69-30 Main St., Flushing, 718-793-6629)

Tzafona Cellars, Icewine, Vidal, Niagara Peninsula, 2014: While many don’t think of Canada as “wine country” our neighbors to the north actually produce about 50,000 metric tons of wine each year (about 10 times Israel’s annual production) and in recent decades Canada has become known for its icewines. Icewine is a type of dessert wine made from grapes that are harvested only after they have frozen on the vine, forcing the water from the grapes in the form of ice and leaving behind sugar-concentrated fruit. Made at Niagara’s Diamond Estates Winery from 100 percent Vidal (a winter-hardy hybrid grape), this full-bodied, golden-colored, super-sweet wine has flavors and aromas of honey, caramel, nectarines, peaches and apricots. Look for just the lightest touch of spice on the palate, and an intriguing, I-know-not-what, leathery note on the finish. While possessing just enough acid to balance the wine’s intense sweetness, it is lacking the additionally acidity necessary to make it truly vibrant and suitable for long-term ageing. Drink now until 2020 or perhaps a bit longer. Score A-/B+ ($30.00 for a 375 ml bottle. Available at FillerUp Kosher Wines, 174 West Englewood Ave, Teaneck, 201-862-1700)

Dalton, 20th Anniversary, White Table Wine, Galilee, 2014: Made to celebrate Dalton’s 20 years in the wine business, this medium-bodied, dry, straw-colored wine was made from an undisclosed cuvee, each component of which was barrel fermented with wild yeasts and aged sur lie until blending. The rich floral bouquet has elements of pineapple, grapefruit and melon. Look for flavors of Meyer lemon and grapefruit on the front of the palate, moving towards a bit of an apple-like note mid-palate and a note of spice on the finish. Well structured, with a crisp acidity, this win should drink well until the end of the decade. Score A-/B+ ($29.99. Available at Wine Country Bergenfield, 89 Newbridge Road, Bergenfield, NJ, 201-385-0106)

Tulip, White Tulip, Galilee, 2014: Light-straw in color and light bodied, this off-dry blend of Gewurztraminer and Sauvignon Blanc has flavors and aromas of nectarines, white peaches, lychees and guavas. Look for a light green undernote, and a touch of Gewurztraminer’s characteristic pepperiness on the back of the palate. Drink within the next year. Score B+ ($26.99. Available at Wine Country Bergenfield, 89 Newbridge Road, Bergenfield, NJ, 201-385-0106)

Chateau Bellerives Dubois, Cotes de Bordeaux, Blanc, 2014: Light bodied, with a light-straw color, this wine is everything a budget white Bordeaux should be. Crisp and bone-dry, the wine has flavors and aromas of apricots, lychees and honeysuckle. Drink now until 2018. Score B+ ($11.99. Available at Westchester Wine Warehouse, 53 Tarrytown Road, White Plains 914-824-1400)

Baron Herzog, Chenin Blanc-Viognier, Clarksburg, 2014: Simple but appealing, this semi-dry, light-bodied, straw-colored wine has flavors and aromas of nectarines and wild flowers, with just a hint of lychees. Drink within the next year. Score B. ($17.97 (sale price)/regularly $22.99. Available at Wine Country Bergenfield, 89 Newbridge Road, Bergenfield, NJ, 201-385-0106)

Please Note: Wines are scored on an “A”–“F” scale where “A” is excellent, “B” is good, “C” is flawed, “D” is very flawed, and “F” is undrinkable. Prices listed reflect the price at the retailer mentioned.

By Gamliel Kronemer

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