Summer 2011 Host’s Guide: Fête Champêtre: Wine

  • Brett Anderson

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Diatom 2009 Huber Vineyard Santa Rita Hills Chardonnay
Greg Brewer, cofounder of Brewer-Clifton, one of Santa Barbara County’s most respected and collectible producers, has developed a style of California Chardonnay all his own under the Diatom label. In this release, flashes of lime, pear, and lemon dance like reflected light on a cool, bracing stream of mineral. The wine’s crisp acidity provides the perfect foil to the tamago dofu appetizer. ($48)

Krug Rosé NV
The pink-and-bronze color of Krug Rosé tantalizes the imagination, while aromas of graham cracker, ginger, orange zest, and vanilla prepare the palate for a rich array of savory, sweet, and slightly smoky flavors wrapped in a creamy texture. The wine’s power and grace enhance the olive oil–poached salmon. ($280)

Merry Edwards 2009 Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc
Since Merry Edwards established her own label in 1997, she has turned out some of California’s most captivating Pinot Noirs. Yet her 2009 Sauvignon Blanc is stellar; perfumed with honeysuckle, green apple, and honeydew essences, its ripe palate is awash with citrus acidity and mouthwatering mint. These characteristics brighten the soup’s tomato flavors. ($30)

Joseph Drouhin 2008 Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru
The Drouhin family’s intense red wines from the Côte de Nuits rank among the region’s finest, as this 2008 Charmes-Chambertin attests. Here, heady aromas of rose petal and red cherry rise from the glass. The wine’s soft, supple texture enfolds flavors of cherry, vanilla, red currant, cranberry, and mild cardamom spice. This intricately wrought red melds melodically with the smoky pungency and sweetness of the black truffle and corn risotto. ($165)

Darioush 2009 Signature Napa Valley Viognier
Flavors of nectarine, apricot, honeycomb, and lemon-lime accent Darioush Viognier’s decadently rich, nectarlike texture and fresh acidity. This white is sublime with the whipped goat cheese with buckwheat honey and grilled walnut bread. ($39)

Donnafugata 2008 Passito di Pantelleria Ben Ryé
Sicilian wine producer Donna-fugata’s founder Giacomo Rallo, and his wife, Gabriella, focus their efforts on indigenous Sicilian varietals, including Nero d’Avola, Ansonica, Catarratto, and Zibibbo. The latter grape is used to make Passito, a seductively dense and aromatic dessert wine. The 2008 vintage possesses an oleaginous texture with a rich complement of dried fruit, orange peel, wild honey, and hazelnut flavors. This luscious dessert wine is the ideal accompaniment to the blueberry, peach, and ginger crumble. ($40)