This time of year, Minnesotans can experience just about any kind of weather. So, with a bit of planning, your wine rack can have something for every forecast. The old standards of chardonnay and light merlot apply, but add some new grapes to that repertoire. Oregon pinot gris has more body than its Alsatian sibling or pinot grigio. It’s refreshing by day and has rich flavor for cool nights. Discover white blends or rosé—the different grapes add complexity and body, but the wines are easy to drink and can be served as cold as you like. In the red world, grapes with bright fruit and depth include garnacha (grenache from Spain) and Italian sangiovese (Chianti, but not classico or reserva)—all are affordable, bright, and not overpowering.
This month’s selections are available at Chicago Lake Liquors, 825 E. Lake St., Mpls., 612-825-4401
Willamette Valley Vineyards Pinot Gris 2005 (Oregon), $14.99
Complex with mineral and spice, but balanced with crisp acid. Pinot gris and pinot grigio are the same grape, but the flavor of this one is a world apart from its Italian counterpart. A beautiful pairing with any white fish.
Domaine de Fondreche L'Instant Rose 2005 (Provence), $12.99
Syrah, grenache, cinsault. The Goldilocks of the wine world—not too big and not too small—rosé is a red you can serve at any temperature. It’s made like red wine, but the juice doesn’t sit on the skin as long, only picking up a little color and a bit of body. This one has medium body with a flowery rose petal nose, bright strawberry fruit on the palate, and a dry clean finish. Try it with Humboldt Fog goat cheese.
Conundrum 2005 (California), $24.99
Chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, semillon, viognier, muscat. It smells like fruit cocktail in a glass—peaches, melon, and pineapple, with a touch of vanilla. For white lovers, it goes with all sorts of food and can even hold up to grilled meats.
Torres Sangre de Toro 2005 (Catalonia, Spain), $7.99
Grenache, carinena. Deep brick red with an earthy nose, dark blackberry fruit, and a bit of nutmeg and chocolate on the tongue. It’s a lot of bang for the buck. Try with a steak off the grill, or it could hold up to something spicy. I would drink it around a fire on a cool September night with a s’more!