There’s no greater feeling than when the first warm days of summer hit New England. Car windows are finally set free from their six-month-long upright position, the age-old Mr. Lemon versus Del’s lemonade debate ensues and, best of all, stoop and porch drinking become a thing again! It’s the time of year when everyone and everything exists with that subtle glisten of summer sweat, even our wine glasses. Here’s a list of summer crushers to help keep your thirsts quenched this season.
Ruth Lewandowski Naomi (Natural) is the brainchild of winemaker Evan Lewandowski who, after spending years working at wineries around the globe, decided one day he was going to make wines his way … in urban Utah. Evan’s plan of sourcing the best grapes from some of the greatest up-and-coming vineyards all over California has been paying off, especially once he hooked up with brothers Scot and Jake Bilbro, whose California vineyard produces some of the greatest tasting old vine Rhone varietals. The Bilbro brothers stayed true to the vineyard’s heritage, forgoing the option of ripping out the vines to plant more mainstream varietals, and boy, you’ll be glad they did. The Naomi consists of 100% grenache gris that is completely unfined, unfiltered and unfettered with, except for a measly bit of SO2 at bottling. This beauty pours cloudy and golden, like a hazy summer day in your glass. Aromatic notes of white peach and apricots give off ripe notes of a summer harvest. Medium bodied with excellent structure, the perfectly balanced acidity allows the flavors of tropical pineapple, ripe peaches and undertones of slightly under-ripened strawberries and rhubarb to shine through the wine’s natural unctuous qualities. Do yourself a favor and slather some Brie on crusty bread, add a drizzle of good honey and wash it all down with the Lewandowski Naomi. It’s better than any Puff Daddy Hampton’s party could ever be.
Keeping in the theme of off-the-beaten-path wineries, Southold Farm + Cellar’s I Want To Be Stereotyped Carbonic Cab Franc (Natural) is a stunning example of the funky, quaffable wines coming out of the North Fork of Long Island. The color alone will have you pulling out your camera to try and capture its almost neon-hued magenta tones on this #nofilterneeded stunner. The winemaking couple, Regan and Carey Meador, really captured the depth and complexity of cab franc in this not quite red, yet not quite rosé offering. Red-berried with a bit of funk, the I Want To Be Stereotyped is like biting into a piece of tart and juicy strawberry rhubarb pie that’s laced with a bit of moss from the forest. Of course, given the fact the folks over at SF+C made this super small-production wine under a tent in the fields of another local winery, we wouldn’t be surprised to hear of other herbs making an appearance in the brainstorming session that led to the wine’s existence in the first place.
Rosé is definitely reppin hard this season and the Broc Cellars Cassia Grenache Rosé is a must-have for those of you who only think pink for the summer season. The mastermind behind the wine, Chris Brocway, nailed it again with yet another insane wine offering under his Broc wine label. Medium bodied with a rose color that is so delicately light it’s almost copper in your glass, this old vine grenache gris is done in a style that has you going back, sip after sip, trying to sort through the wine’s complex flavors. Red berries and orange zest play off of undertones of caraway and herbs all tied together with a minerality that keeps all of these moving parts perfectly balanced. Scoop this one up fast because, while Brocway knows how to absolutely crush any style of wine he makes, he unfortunately doesn’t make a lot of it.
I was originally going to write a bit about a good summer sparkling wine, because trust me there’s a lot of them, but then quickly realized nothing can compete with the savage obsession we’re all feeling about Polar Seltzer’s summer flavors. So instead I’ll give you a cocktail suggestion, mix up 2oz Oola Rosemary Vodka, 4oz pf Polar Tangerine Limeade Seltzer and a splash of simple syrup. Serve over ice and don’t worry about a schmancy garnish, your hand can act as a stand-in because you’re not going to want to put this one down!