WWMD – What would Margaret drink?
Margaret Pearman is a certified sommelier under the Court of Master Sommeliers and is responsible for curating the award-winning wine list at Charlie’s Coastal Bistro. Here are her sipping suggestions for July:
Grüner Veltliner can be one of those varietals you may shy away from picking off the shelf, but warm summer weather should be calling you toward this versatile white. Racy and refreshing, Grüner is the perfect alternative to sauvignon blanc. Hailing from Austria, the varietal excels in the loess soils made up of tiny crystal deposits that form sturdy high bluffs along rivers.
Flavors range from less ripe lime to round ripe peach. Undertones of herbs and spices like white pepper, tarragon, ginger and honey keep you guessing for more. Quality Grüner is often reminiscent of Chablis with a bountiful mid-palate and vibrant acidity on the finish. With low alcohol levels ranging from 11.5 to 12 percent, Grüner can take you through the cocktail hour to dining al fresco.
The No. 1 reason why Grüner should be on your summer drinking list is its affinity for pairing with vegetables. It holds up to salads with tangy dressing, salty capers and olives, oriental spices and the almost impossible asparagus. So if you’re like me, and finding a salad with some grilled fish is just what you need after a sweltering day in the South; add a glass of Grüner Veltliner to make it a meal.
My go-to Grüner is Nigl Freiheit for around $25 retail.
Wines made in the Deep South
Georgia: While Georgia may be more famously known for its peaches, the state has a growing wine industry, particularly in the northern part of the state in the Appalachian foothills. Georgia primarily produces muscadine wines, chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon and merlot.
South Carolina: The Palmetto State’s wine production primarily focuses on grape varieties that thrive in the region’s climate and soil conditions, resulting in muscadine wines, French hybrid varieties and Vinifera grape varieties. The main wine-producing region includes Greenville, Spartanburg, Anderson and Pickens counties.
Florida: The Sunshine State is best known for the production of wines made from muscadine grapes and tropical fruit wines made from fruits like strawberries, blueberries and even citrus.
Alabama: Similar to Florida, the Yellowhammer State has a long history of growing muscadine grapes. The main wine-producing area is located in the northeastern part of Alabama, known as the “North Alabama Wine Trail.”
Louisiana: The Pelican State’s hot, humid climate can make grape growing a challenge, but the state has found success with certain hybrid grape varieties. The state is also known for producing fruit wines, particularly those made from blackberries and blueberries.
Mississippi: The Magnolia State, like its neighboring states, primarily grows muscadine grapes. The primary wine-producing region is in the southern part of the state, where the climate is more favorable for grape cultivation