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New Orleans, LA, 70119
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swirl and savor

Perfect Summer Reds

Beth Ribblett


Imagine this scenario.  You are sitting in your neighbors backyard under a big umbrella, beads of perspiration accumulating on your forehead from the Saturday afternoon heat.  An overflowing platter of grilled steaks, burgers and Terranova sausages arrives at the table surrounded by traditional picnic fare.  Ready to dig in, all you need is a good glass of wine to wash it all down and you notice a bottle on the table.  Warm from the summer heat, out of the bottle pours a fumy, headachey, hot glass of a big red wine and you suddenly find yourself searching for the cooler full of cold beer instead...

While there is nothing wrong with this scenario for some, for many of us it's just too much to drink big reds in the hot summer months especially if you are outside.  But thankfully for red wine lovers there are great alternatives that are delicious with a slight chill and can hold up to your most of your grilled fare. Here are four great summer reds that we'll be featuring these at our Wednesday Nite Flites this week - a few very unique, hard to find wines and some traditional favorites that are all perfect for our climate and your picnics!

2012 Clos Cibonne Cuvée Spéciale Tibouren - Obscurity and drinkability from the South of France, this wine was a huge hit in our Provence tasting last week as we sold every bottle we had in stock!  The Roux family of Clos Cibonne are great fans of Tibouren, a native varietal and believed it to be the ideal grape for the region. As part of André Roux’s revitalization in the 1930s he replaced all of the estate’s Mourvèdre with Tibouren. The estate’s vineyards are located a mere 800 meters from the coast and are surrounded by hillsides in the base of a bowl that faces the Mediterranean Sea. This topography creates air circulation that allows for perfect maturation of the grapes. A truly unique wine,  The Cuvée Spéciale Tibouren is made from 90% Tibouren and 10% Grenache with a fairly rich layer of deeply savory notes and perfumed red fruits all backed by core of acidity and velvety tannins.  This is very good and you should try it before it is all gone...$24

2012 Ameztoi Stimatum - You've seen both the Ameztoi Rose' and white in the store and we've just  brought in the brand new to the market red!  From the Basque region of Spain, just five minutes down the coast from San Sebastian, Ameztoi’s vineyards overlook the Bay of Biscay. The Ameztoi family has been making txakolina in Getaria for seven generations, and in 2013 the estate introduced a new project: Ameztoi Stimatum. Made from 100% Hondarribi Beltza, this is red txakolina, sourced from their highest elevation vinyards and fermented with indigenous yeasts, the Stimatum shows bright and juicy flavors of boysenberry and other wild fruits with a refreshing acidity that holds it all together. $18

2010 Terres Dorees Cotes du Brouilly - Jean Paul Brun is located in Charnay, a village in the Southern Beaujolais just north of Lyons, in a beautiful area known as the "Region of Golden Stones". Brun is the owner and winemaker at this 40-acre family estate and has attracted the attention of the French and American press for the wonderfully fruity and delicate wines he produces. Brun wants to make "old-style" Beaujolais and his vinification differs from the prevailing practices in the region. He believes that the charm of Gamay's fruit is best expressed by the grapes' indigenous yeasts, rather than by adding industrial yeast. His wines are capable of aging, yet enjoyable young as well. The Côte de Brouilly is fresh, energetic and spicy, light but intense and very fine. $20

2008 J. Daan Willamette Valley Pinot Noir - There are very wines from this infamous vintage in Oregon still available so this is another that you should scoop up while you still can!  Justin and Megan Van Zanten own this small winery in the Yamhill County town of Carlton. J Daan Wine Cellars, currently housed at the Carlton Winemakers Studio, is the effort of Justin and Megan Van Zanten. Justin's "day job" is as assistant winemaker to Andrew Rich, and he worked previously at major Oregon wineries, including Adelsheim and Chehalem.  The wine is produced from the Croft-Williamson Vineyard and Apolloni Vineyard grapes. This vintage shows off the best of Willamette Valley Pinot-- lush flavors of raspberry and cherry with an elegant finish and silky mouthfeel. $24

You can taste all of these with Kimi and Walter at our Wednesday Nite Flites this week, $15 for four amazing wines and no reservations required!