Chow Town

Take a peek at what’s in glasses of local wine experts this summer

A number of local wine experts are sipping Rosés this summer.
A number of local wine experts are sipping Rosés this summer.

In one of my previous blog posts, I was musing about summertime wine picks. Unlike many of my hard-core wine friends, I don’t often torture myself with high alcohol, high tannin, in-your-face red wines during the dog days of summer.

Sure, I’ll still pop open a Brunello, Bordeaux or Malbec if the occasion and the meal warrant, but you’re much more likely to find me sipping on a bone dry Rosé or a flinty Sauvignon Blanc.

I wanted to know what some of my wine-drinking friends planned to open. Last time, I shared the selections of my friends in California, Oregon and Chicago. Today, it’s all local.

“I like to have a few wines, depending on the mood,” sommelier Matthew Lee from the Dining Experience at Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts said. “Spring brings me to Rosé. Lucy Rosé from Pisoni to be exact. It’s absolutely bright and fruity with great acidity.

“For something with a bit more texture, I turn to the Viognier from Darioush in Napa. It has wonderful tropical fruit and lovely floral aromatics that make you want summer to last longer.”

Like me, Lee doesn’t totally turn off the red wine tap in the summer.

“I generally direct myself to Pinot Noir,” he said. “A great choice is something from a cooler climate such as Hoepler Pinot Noir from Austria. It has great red berry fruit notes while also being balanced by a nice crispness and minerality.”

From my buddy and longtime wine lover, George Vesel of Veselbev, there was this response.

“Probably some Sauvignon Blanc, Provencal Rosé, Pinot Grigio, Prosecco, some Alsatian bottlings and probably any red I get my hands on.”

Joyce Angelos Walsh checked in next. The director of fine wine for Lohr Distributing went straight to the heart of France with her summer wine picks.

“I am loving a nice little chill on Cru Beaujolais, one of my all-time favorites,” she said. “Chignard’s Fleurie is a particular favorite. It’s bit more structured and complex than you think of for Fleurie because his vineyards border Moulin-a-Vent.

“Also, Neyers Vista Luna Zinfandel. It’s old vine, heirloom Zin that tastes like it did in the ’70s, with moderate alcohol and bright berry fruits and aromas. It’s also great with a little chill.”

There’s always a bottle of wine or two open in the space that houses Table Ocho and Jude’s Rum Cakes. With Craig Adcock at the helm, I’d think nothing less.

“We drink some cool stuff, Verdejo and Verdicchio on the table recently, along with a ton of Rosé, both Californian and French,” Adcock said.

By far the most detailed and analytical response came from Barry Tunnel, general manager and “wine guru” at Tannin Wine Bar and Kitchen. Tunnel oversees arguably the best wine-by-the-glass program in the metro, and I respect his opinion and his palate.

No. 1 on Tunnel’s short list of summertime sippers: rosé.

“I’d thought that rosé growth might have been slowing down in the last two to three years, until this season,” he said. “Now, it seems stronger than ever, with many more guests choosing to drink pink throughout the meal and later into the evening.”

Tunnel also sees a growing interest in sparkling wines across the board.

“There’s more interest in bubbles than I’ve seen since the early days of grower Champagnes. Also, there’s a real interest in the regional, varietal and style diversity of sparkling wines,” Tunnel said.

Tunnel said his customers are paying more attention to the wines of Italy, and not just the “big boys” like Brunello di Montalcino, Barolo and Barbaresco.

“Wines from Piedmont, Alto Adige, Friuli-Delle Venezie and Sicily have been particularly popular, and some have been particularly difficult to keep in stock. Alto Adige has seemed very dynamic lately, especially wines from Elisabetta Foradori, Elena Walch and Alois Lageder.”

Dave Eckert is the producer and host of “Culinary Travels With Dave Eckert,” which aired on PBS-TV and Wealth TV for 12 seasons.