It has been fairly hot these past few days and wine may not be on many people’s mind right now. However, don’t give up on wines so fast! With the summer and its celebrations and other BBQ events, there are wines that are as delicious as they are refreshing to enjoy with or without food. Even more refreshing than, say, beer or cocktails.
As previously discussed in this column, white wines have the ability to pair with a very vast array of foods but can and should be also enjoyed on their own. Such is the case with rosé and sparkling wines as well. There are also red wines that can be drunk slightly chilled and aren’t too heavy, even when it’s hot and humid out.
Here are a couple of wines of differing price points that, while always enjoyable, are particularly well suited for the summer and its various outdoor activities and celebrations.
Champagne des Barons de Rothschild, Brut, N.V.
I repeat this so often I sound like a broken record: We do not drink enough sparkling wines. Sure, champagne isn’t cheap, but there are also great value options, such as Freixenet Cava. Having said that, this wine is high-end.
You may have noticed that we have quite a few wines coming from estates owned and operated by the Rothschild family: Flechas de Los Andes from Argentina, Château Parsac in Bordeaux’s right bank Montagne Saint-Emilion appellation, Les Lauriers de Rothschild Rosé, Château Malmaison and others, too.
Several branches of the Rothschild dynasty have been involved in the wine business for over 150 years, earning glory from the likes of iconic estates. For exampe, Château Lafite-Rothschild and Mouton-Rothschild, both being one of the Five First Growths of the Médoc, a prestigious group considered as “la crème de la crème” in Bordeaux. Even in the New World, the Rothschilds impress with the Argentinian Flechas de Los Andes, or the Chilean Almaviva Concha y Toro.
The numerous Rothschilds involved in the wine trade have often been in tough competition against one another. Despite a century-old reputation for excellence, Château Mouton-Rothschild was not a First Growth Pauillac until 1973. After literally decades of intense lobbying, Mouton was finally upgraded from Second Growth to the supreme distinction and joined its “cousin” Lafite at the top, one of only two modifications in the history of the sacrosanct 1855 Classification!
Why mention this story? The luxurious champagne we are discussing is the result of a cooperation between all the Rothschild branches. They gathered their common knowledge and devotion to excellence in the crafting of a champagne that will highlight all celebrations with class and reflect the family’s legacy. The Barons de Rothschild Champagne is relatively mellow, a gastronomic wine with moderate mousse and bubbles as well as a distinct mineral profile.
This first kosher batch is not just a good and interesting champagne, it is also mevushal (it has been heated to a certain temperature during its production and is allowed to be poured by non-Jews), which makes it one of the utmost celebratory wines for all the many wedding, bar/bat mitzvahs and celebrations of the summer, and the rest of the year as well.
A kosher champagne like no other – designed to impress!
Elvi, Herenza, Rioja, 2014
Elvi Wines is one of the two fully kosher wine producers in Spain, along with Ramon Cardova. Rioja wines crafted with the Tempranillo variety is one of their specialties. This wine is their entry-level Rioja, consistently a terrific value. Rioja wines have a remarkable cellaring ability, even the inexpensive ones.
I recently enjoyed a bottle of the 2011, it was drinking beautifully and was not showing any sign of decline whatsoever. This light- to medium-bodied wine features notes of black cherries, raspberries with hints of earth and roasted coffee beans. It is elegant on the palate and well balanced, without any over-extraction nor any strong oak influence. Served slightly chilled, it will go very well with a juicy burger, hot dogs and lamb chops on the grill this summer.
Photography by Tzvi Cohen.