News From Terre Haute, Indiana

October 13, 2013

GRAPE SENSE: Mild days in October perfect to clear shelves of summer wines

Howard Hewitt
Special to the Tribune-Star

---- — Leaves are turning yellow and they’re soon to be glorious red and brown so can the frost on the pumpkin be far behind?

It’s a gloriously beautiful time in vineyards across the Midwest as grape harvest has been under way for three to four weeks with another week or two likely in some areas.

But don’t leave summer behind just yet. There will be mild and warm days in October perfect to clear the shelves of those summer wines. Here are a few easy-to-find lighter style white and Rosé wines I’ve enjoyed this summer.

Domaine Ott Rosé — The 2011 Les Domaniers was still on the shelves early this summer but the 2012 shouldn’t be hard to find. Wonderful floral scents with a well-rounded mouth feel that will hold up to BBQ and bigger meals or sip fine all alone. It’s a classic blend of Grenache, Cinsault, and Syrah. ($19)

Whispering Angel Rosé — My absolute favorite Rosé from Château d’Esclans of Provence represents Southern France’s best effort at pink wine. The 2012 is dry, light, and still delivers full flavor. It’s fabulous Rosé for the price point. ($16-$23)

David Hill 2011 Estate Pinot Gris — This has bright and pronounced acidity with aromas of stone fruit. Many of these white wines don’t offer much of a finish but David Hill delivers. Try this with some grill shrimp on the BBQ. It’s great white wine from Oregon’s Willamette Valley. ($18, Trade Sample)

Franciscan 2012 Equilibrium — Red blends are all the rage so why not a good California white blend. Franciscan makes great wines and reasonable prices. The blend is a mix of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Muscat. It’s a well-balanced glass of wine with a hit of peach. It would be a perfect match to a salad or spicy food. ($23, Trade Sample)

Joly Blanc 2011 — Okay, it’s pretty cool to say you have a friend, maybe acquaintance, who is a French winemaker. Virgile Joly’s Joly Blanc — Grenache Blanc — is consistently one of the best whites I taste from the land of fries and crepes. The wine is Grenache Blanc with a hint of Rousanne delivering great aromas and a hint of peach. It is delightful with grilled fish or lighter meats. ($13-$15)

Four Graces Pinot Blanc — This Willamette Valley winery makes small batches and highly-stylized wines. The Pinot Blanc is quite different than the valley’s Pinot Gris wines. This is a light bodied wine with hints of honey, banana, and perhaps apricot. It’s a great white for warm weather meals. (SRP, $24. I bought it in an Indiana shop for $16)

Matua 2011 Sauvignon Blanc — It’s impossible to write about warm weather wines and not have at least one Sauvignon Blanc on the list. If you like your whites with big citrus, big acid, and a crisp refreshing finish, you’ll love the Matua. This comes from New Zealand’s Marlborough region, known for its Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir. ($16)

Howard W. Hewitt, Crawfordsville, writes every other week about value wine for 23 Midwestern newspapers. Read his wine blog at: www.howardhewitt.net.