As I think about the ideal wine to serve this Memorial day weekend, I am reminded that Memorial weekend signifies the time we start to light up the barbeque as we move from spring to summer weather. We switch from the big, bold, more moody wines of winter to brighter livelier wines of summer. Since Memorial Day honors those who died serving our country in the US Armed Services, anywhere in the world can pay tribute by toasting with a nice bottle of wine. Therefore, my selection of Memorial Day wine to enjoy features wine from various regions both in the United States and abroad.
Memorial Day Wine Whites:
From Salta, Argentina, the Amalaya White 2018, a blend of primarily Torrontés and Riesling, features a crisp, refreshing yet aromatic wine that exemplifies summer. On the nose, I found grapefruit and citrus, especially lemon, accented by florals. On the palate, grapefruit and tropical notes were enhanced by white florals.
Another Torrontés Colomé 2018, also from Salta, expressed a spicier finish. This wine displayed aromas of white flower, grapefruit, and lemon, while on the palate, the citrusy lemon flavors were enhanced by spice.
Taking a new approach to Pinot Grigio, Peter Zemmer Alto Adige Riserva Alpine Giatl 2016 reveals a very textural wine that, for a white, I consider full-bodied, rich, and viscous. This Pinot Grigio is the only Riserva in the Alto Adige DOC. As a debutante, this wine represents a class of its own, especially for a white. In this case, the DOC regulations for Riserva require the wine to age for a minimum of 24 months.
Giatl refers to a small village near the location where the grapes for this wine grow. Aromas of savory spices and pear followed by flavors of tropical fruits, including pineapple and pear.
I am not a lover of Sauvignon Blanc, that is overpowering with grapefruit and grass. Pleasantly surprised; this Sauvignon Blanc, Inurrieta Orchídea 2018 from Navarro blew me away. I found lots of spice and liveliness exuding from this wine. With aromas of tropical fruit and citrus, the wine had zing yet displayed a creamy quality accented with Pineapple and hints of chili pepper.
Memorial Day Wine Reds
I could jump into spring with the debut of Domaine Bousquet Virgen 2018. The floral label gives you the feel of what is inside each bottle of wine. For Domaine Bousquet, the wine signifies their philosophy of making wine. It represents their first wine with no-sulfites added and the first USDA-certified Organic. Combining Malbec with almost equal parts of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc to produce a nicely integrated blend. Earthy aromas of savory herbs are accentuated by a palate of dark fruit, especially blueberry and blackberry, with hints of pepper on the finish.
Lenné 2015 LeNez Pinot Noir represents a wine created from the entire Yamhill estate vineyards utilizing all five clones. It blends clones 777, 115, 114, 667, and Pommard. The wine’s smooth balance shows its red fruit, tart, and sour cherry and cola flavors. A bit fruit-forward, the aromas of mocha prevail. I found a pleasant sweetness on the finish.
One cannot go wrong with any wine from Michel Chapoutier’s Domaine de Bila-Haut. My current recommendation is the L’Esquerda, which combines Syrah, Grenache, and Carignan. L’Esquerda means Escarpment in French Catalan language. Esquerda best describes the rugged terrain where the vineyards lie. The wine delivers fruity aromas of blueberry accented with mocha and surprises us with dark fruit flavors and hints of pepper.
Finally, taking us back to Spain’s Navarra region for Castillo Monjardin La Cantera 2018, a Garnacha sourced from 70-year-old vines. This wine reflects a lighter texture and body yet displays a jammy and sweeter quality. Aromas of plums dominate the nose while the palate exudes flavors of blackberry with hints of pepper on the finish.
Common to the wine industry, this writer received hosted wine samples of these Memorial Day wines. While it has not influenced this review, the writer believes in full disclosure.