Master Sommelier Virginia Philip
Summer barbecues, picnics and family days out on the water are an ideal time to serve whites and lighter reds. This chef ’s menu is a perfect complement to the season’s optimal style of wines. (For some perfect sips, serve the whites around 44 to 48 degrees Fahrenheit and the lighter reds at 55 to 58 degrees.)
The first course of octopus salad with diced potatoes, olives and celery is served alongside a mahi-mahi tartare with citrus skins, ginger and a pink salt citrus juice sauce. Both dishes will pair beautifully with a lively grüner veltliner, which is a white varietal popular in Austria, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Weingut Knoll’s Loibner Smaragd grüner veltliner, Austria, 2015, has the structure and herbaceous aromatics necessary to complement the seafood’s delicate flavors. This classic grüner veltliner has a light body bursting with grapefruit, freshly cut grass and a hint of white pepper spice on the palate.
The main course of homemade gnocchi, stir-fry zucchini and shrimp is a lovely match for Mommessin’s light, flavorful, Morgon Les Charmes Beaujolais, France, 2014. An elegant expression of the gamay grape, this light red wine has flavors of ripe cherries, dark plums and cranberries, and a lingering earthy finish. The wine has lighter tannins, a key accompaniment to this dish. Shrimp may have called for a lighter wine with other preparations, but the seasoning here will allow a lighter red to pleasantly pair.
Dessert’s fruit driven-flavor with a phyllowrapped grilled pineapple and almond cake calls for a natural pairing of the tropical flavors in Paul Jaboulet Aîné’s muscat de Beaumes de Venise Le Chant des Griolles, Southern Rhône Valley, France, 2011. This lusciously sweet wine has stunning flavors and aromas of orange blossom, candied ginger and ripe apricots.