It's hot! This is the time of the year when you want something cool; a nice chilled wine. You really don't want a heavy Cabernet Sauvignon or even a Merlot, do you? You want a light wine to quench your thirst and to pair with lighter foods such as salads, grilled fish, seafood, poultry and fresh vegetables just picked from the garden. Now, I don't have anything against Chardonnay, but think beyond it. Get adventurous! Two of the most recent wines I have tasted that fits your summer wine needs; such as BBQ, picnics and just plain ol' porch sippin' can be found at Cougar Crest Winery.
2007 Cougar Crest Walla Walla Valley Estate Grown Viognier: Winemaker, Deborah Hansen was one of the first winemakers in the valley to put Viognier on the map in Walla Walla. The key to this lush white wine is due to being fermented to dryness without oak barrels or malolactic fermentation. I have to wonder if just that little bit of age also adds to the fullness of this Viognier. I am a big fan of Viognier, but I can be a big stickler. For me, it is all about the nose. Viognier, if done well, usually shows off a fruity, yet floral nose. The floral notes of orange blossom and honeysuckle come through in the Cougar Crest Viognier, along with notes of stone fruit and pears. The palate shows off notes of honey, cotton candy, pear nectar with very balanced acids. I think of this Viognier and I think of sitting on the porch in the early evening and pairing this wine with a plate of French cheeses and fresh fruit picked from the valley.
2008 Cougar Crest: Walla Walla Valley Estate Grown Grenache Rosé: I wish more people would discover how wonderful rosés are, especially those produced in the Walla Walla Valley. This 100% Grenache Rosé from Cougar Crest is like the South of France in a bottle with its spicy notes and flavors of berry jam. I would pair it with the most freshest salads and seafood to even BBQ ribs or an oven-fired pizza topped with dried tomatoes and sweet 'n' spicy sausage! Actually, you could skip the food and just make it a "balcony and a book" kind of wine. I wouldn't wait too long to try this wine because it's moving quickly. So to all of you who are afraid of being seen with pink in your glass - man up! This ain't your grandmother's jug white zin.