Opti ng for Al­fresco

Wynn Magazine - - VINE ARTS - By Amy Za­vatto

What to sip when the mer­cury climbs? Wynn Di­rec­tor of Wine Mark Thomas shares his ul­ti­mate pa­tio picks.

Whether indulging in a sunny pool­side perch be­neath a shady um­brella at Tableau, sit­ting be­neath the twinkly lights on Botero’s pa­tio on a starry night, or din­ing on Si­na­tra’s se­cluded gar­den pa­tio, Wynn’s wide-open op­tions for great out­door am­bi­ence are as el­e­gant as they are plen­ti­ful—as are the bot­tles that en­hance them. “When I think about out­door wines,” says Wynn Di­rec­tor of Wine Mark Thomas, “the ones that quickly come to mind are dry rosés from the South of France and un­oaked whites like sauvi­gnon blanc, grüner velt­liner, and dry ries­ling.” Each, of course, is guar­an­teed to make you feel as cool as a sum­mer breeze, but what is it about these wines that make us crave them in the warmer weather? The key, in a word, is bal­ance. “Wines high in acid­ity, like a sauvi­gnon blanc or a grüner, leave you with a tac­tile sense, like eat­ing cit­rus fruit or a ripe, raw tomato, with a feel­ing of leftover mois­ture and acid­ity in your mouth. Wines with that bal­ance of acid­ity, although still re­main­ing not too as­trin­gent, are key,” says Thomas. That struc­tural scaf­fold­ing of acid­ity, if you will, is the ba­sis of mak­ing these wines din­ing mul­ti­taskers. “For sum­mery dishes, you’re look­ing at lighter fla­vors and in­gre­di­ents, so you re­ally want to look for food­friendly wines that will not over­power the dish,” Thomas ad­vises. “Oaked whites can over­power a light salad or chilled seafood. Look for wines with more of that qual­ity we call min­er­al­ity, more acid­ity, and lighter, fruitier aro­mat­ics.” One of his pre­ferred pair­ings at Botero is a Washington State–based Bordeaux-style blend of sauvi­gnon blanc and sémil­lon from Delille Cel­lars with the lunchtime of­fer­ing of Dun­geness crab slid­ers. White wines from Pied­mont are great for sum­mer, Thomas says—the very same re­gion from which Si­na­tra Ex­ec­u­tive Chef Theo Schoeneg­ger

“Look for wines with min­er­al­ity, acid­ity, and lighter, fruitier aro­mat­ics.”­— mark thomas

hails. Thomas pairs Si­na­tra’s grilled branzino with La Scolca’s Gavi dei Gavi 2011, a flinty, com­plex wine made from the Pied­mont-ex­clu­sive Cortese grapes, sourced from the es­tate’s 60-year-old vines. But pink is per­haps the sum­mer sip­per’s truest com­pan­ion. Let the depth of color be your cue. Lighter styles are bet­ter with lighter foods; deeper col­ors go with heartier foods. “I would go back to rosés for grilled meats—heartier ones, though, like from the Rhône Val­ley in France in­stead of Langue­doc or Provence,” says Thomas. “They still have tan­nins and give you that body and weight, as well as a lit­tle higher al­co­hol level, which means your food won’t over­power your wine.” Light, sum­mer­time sip­ping is all about en­joy­ing your sur­round­ings, af­ter all. “Re­ally, I think it’s a mat­ter of hav­ing some fla­vor there,” Thomas says. “Cock­tails are great, but with wine, there’s an ex­pe­ri­ence that goes along with it. l can sip a rosé and think about sit­ting out on a pa­tio in the South of France and en­joy­ing the warm weather.” But, Thomas of­fers, a pretty pa­tio in Las Ve­gas is aw­fully nice, too. n

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