Summer 2011 Host's Guide: Summer Formal: Wine

  • Brett Anderson

Moët & Chandon 2002 Grand Vintage
This latest vintage release from Moët & Chandon is a stylish orchestration of texture and flavor. The wine is as light as cotton candy on the tongue—like frozen air infused with the scent of apple and lemon blossoms. On the mid-palate, flavors of baked pear, pastry, and lemon cream mingle with vivacious acidity, leading to a long, briny finish. This wine sparkles beside our selection of summer salads. ($70)

En Route 2009 Les Pommiers Pinot Noir
This superb Russian River Valley Pinot Noir from the partners of Far Niente has a rich yet translucent ruby color that excites the eye. Almost impossibly fragrant, the wine conjures clouds of cherry, pomegranate, and rose scents. Its many layers steep the taste buds in essences of red cherry, cranberry, pomegranate, lavender, and blood orange. The sweet and pungent flavors of the white corn agnolotti with summer truffles reveal this wine’s earthier characteristics. ($60)

Captûre 2009 Ma Vie Carol Chardonnay
This stellar white wine is fermented in 70 percent new oak barrels, which accounts for the depth and richness of its profile. Generously scented with deep notes of jasmine, lime blossom, and ripe peach, this creamy Chardonnay’s richness gradually gives way on the palate to a long finish of slatelike minerality. Try this vintage with the butter-poached Maine lobster. ($42)

Kenzo Estate 2007 Rindo
Though its first wines were only released a few years ago, the 4,000-acre Kenzo Estate in the southern portion of Napa Valley has been more than two decades in the making. Winemaker Heidi Peterson Barrett has achieved a sculptural balance of structure and beauty in this blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc, which is spiced with a touch of Petit Verdot. The wine’s heady scent of charred bread, clay, and spiced plum—as well as its flavors of cassis and coffee—meld magically with the bone-marrow flan. ($100)

Quinta do Vesuvio 2007 Vintage Port
This fortified wine from one of Portugal’s premier estates enlivens the palate with aromas of grapefruit and orange zest, violets, and dried fig, while the wine’s rich, chocolaty texture coats the mouth, revealing flavors of blueberry, pepper, soy, and cinnamon. This Port playfully mirrors the rich taste sensations of the financier cake with plums. ($75)