To kick off our summer wine tasting season at Hatch’s, we started with some new and classic wines “great for the grill”. The craziness of Figawi weekend launches the start of our summer season. The warm sunshine on weather forecast means that you can soon break out your grill and start cooking up some fish, chicken, steaks, and veggies. On Friday, we sampled some new sauvignon blancs and pinot noirs, a chardonnay, and a malbec, a range of varietals all bringing something unique to the BBQ grilling experience. So what did our customers think?
A favorite at the tasting was a fresh arrival at the store: Undurraga Vineyards Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc (both only $9.99). A new sponsor of the Figawi races (and here we thought you were only allowed to drink Bud Lite and Dark & Stormy cocktails), this Chilean wine was a hit! The sauvignon blanc was crisp, refreshing, with a blend of lemongrass and light citrus flavors. The pinot noir also had a light taste, great for cocktail hour. The fruit on the pinot really popped, making this a terrific wine for a new red wine drinker, not sure how to break into the wine genre.
Mussel Bay Sauvignon Blanc, another recent arrival, also generated lots of buzz. From the Marlborough region in New Zealand, this wine has a classic “New Zealand” taste: lots of citrus and almost a grapefruit flavor. But, unlike many other Marlborough sauv blancs, this wine is only $10! Definitely a great bang for your buck!
For food pairings, we started with an un-oaked chardonnay from California, Acacia Un-Oaked ($12.99). The big flavor of the chardonnay grapes came forward, but since it is aged in stainless steel, the wine did not have the oak flavor that is traditional of California chardonnays, making this a great wine to pair with a mild white fish on the grill. To find a wine for grilled meats, we sampled the popular Layered Cake Malbec ($14.99). Malbecs from Argentina have become incredibly popular in the past few years because of their reasonable price and their versatility. When paired with meats off the grill, Malbecs really come alive, and it makes sense because Argentina is known for beef and malbecs. Aha! Winemakers make wine they want to drink with their food, so if you are thinking about how to pair a wine with a meal, think about where is comes from and what people eat there. More on this next week!
Lastly, who would have thought of pinot noirs for dessert? One of our customers, Ema Hudson did. While we wanted a classic California pinot noir to compare the to the Chilean pinot, we found that the two wines are incredibly different. As Ema tasted the Acacia pinot, she noted the flavors of cocoa in it, and when we pulled out some chocolate, wow, what a delicious combination! Definitely our “aha!” moment of the tasting.
What a terrific start to the summer! Lois Hutchinson found some fresh wines to fill up her wine fridge, and we got some Figawi partyers to stop for wine and food fuel on their way to the Chicken Box. Next week we will travel to France in our tastings, and see how terroir, style, and grape varietals can really make a difference.