Tony Eklof, originally from New England, has settled in Clonakilty after a career as a librarian at University College Dublin. His knowledge and passion for wine has been inspired by frequent visits to the wine growing regions of the continent, particularly Italy and France.
We had some good friends visiting from Cape Cod earlier this month.
As a reunion celebration we dined in Dillon’s of Timoleague, always a pleasant experience. Choosing from the wine list was easy; they import their own German wine including a lovely light red, which paired well with all our orders. It got me thinking how lighter wines suit our summer cuisine more than stronger varieties and, as we have just had the longest and hottest day of the year, it could be topical to consider wines that go particularly well with summertime.
There are always exceptions of course; if you are having a hardy barbeque with a grilled steak then you might want to pair with a robust Australian Cabernet or a California Zinfandel. Generally however, we tend to match our lighter more varied summer diet with lower alcohol wines, which we often shun during the long winter. I’m speaking of whites in general, rose wines, sparkling wines and lighter reds.
Speaking of barbeques and picnics, you might also consider wines with a screw top, as more and more producers switch to this less traditional but more practical way of closing a wine bottle. No chance of the wine being corked, and a better chance of the wine staying fresh for a few days. No need to bring your corkscrew for the picnic!
Another tip – chill your summer wines lightly. Too cold and you miss out on the subtle flavours of your drink. I like my rose, for example, cool rather than cold. Also certain red wines are suitable for light chilling, Beaujolais from France, Bardolino from Italy for example.
Looking at my Hugh Johnson Pocket Guide, I see some tempting summer pairings. Smoked salmon with Alsace Pinot Gris, warm goat’s cheese with Sancerre, risotto with white wine from Friuli in northern Italy, haddock with California Chardonnay, curry with a dry rose from Spain. I’m getting hungry!
SuperValu has a rose wine sale on at the moment. The La Petite Perriere Rose made from the Pinot Noir grape is both delicate and delicious and great value at €8.
Lidl have some new Italians in; I loved the Rosso Refosco from the Friuli region, a great example of how a red can be light in alcohol and in colour but full of ripe cherries flavour. €8.99
Back to SuperValu, the Picpoul de Pinet is a perfect seafood match. Similar to Muscadet, on special at €10.