Summer 2011 Host's Guide: Tapas Under the Stars: Wine

  • Brett Anderson

Prête à Boire 2010 Napa Valley Rosé
Heidi Peterson Barrett’s mouthwatering, full-bodied Rosé—composed of 70 percent Syrah and 30 percent Grenache—tantalizes the nose with scents of rose petals and strawberry before a panoply of refreshing flavors, including plum and dried herbs, emerges. The perfect complement to the gazpacho. ($75)

Longoria 2008 Clover Creek Vineyard Tempranillo
Vintner Rick Longoria became so enamored of the Tempranillo grape during a family vacation to Spain that he decided to experiment with this varietal in Santa Barbara County’s wine country. This soft, fruity, deliciously ripe red is redolent of vanilla bean and cherry and possesses an earthy core and lively tannins. Its slight smokiness is a tasty match for the piquillo peppers with chorizo. ($36)

Two Hands 2008 Aerope Barossa Valley
This dark-hued, Grenache-based blend startles the nose with an intense medley of scents that includes ripe plum, smoke, sassafras, and wildflowers. Concentrated flavors of raspberry, red plum, and currant dominate and deliver a pronounced mineral finish. Try this with the skewers of grilled artichokes and snails. ($120)

Jonata 2007 La Sangre de Jonata Syrah
The color of this Syrah from Santa Barbara County is indeed sanguine, yet winemaker Matt Dees also manages to coax subtlety from the inklike juice. Lovely notes of violet and tropical blooms rise from the glass, while gamy flavors of cured meat, blueberry, pepper, anise, and pine sap are revealed in a sip. A savory complement to the Serrano ham with fava beans on toast crisps. ($125)

Paul Hobbs 2008 Sonoma Mountain Cuvée Agustina Richard Dinner Vineyard Chardonnay
Large in flavor but small in production, this limited-edition Chardonnay from winemaker extraordinaire Paul Hobbs is sourced from a diminutive hillside vineyard with gravel soils. Its pale, iridescent color belies its concentrated scents and flavors of honeysuckle, orange, crystallized ginger, and green apple. The wine’s cool acidity and mineral finish beautifully accent the tempura of squash blossoms. ($100)

La Sirena 2009 Moscato Azul
Most of us think of Moscato as a sweet wine, but winemaker Heidi Peterson Barrett’s expression is alluringly dry, precise, and slightly exotic. The nose is laced with scents of jasmine, orange blossom, and fresh mint, while a procession of apricot, peach, and white strawberry culminates in a clean, refreshing finish on the palate. This fragrant white wine’s lively acidity highlights the earthy essences and exotic spice of the beets with blue cheese. ($30)