The Sip: Summer Wines


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Certified Advanced Sommelier Jesse Rodriguez, wine director at The Grand Del Mar, shares his picks for warm weather wines. Rodriguez—who previously worked at The French Laundry—oversees The Grand Del Mar’s 35,000-bottle wine collection and maintains the wine lists for the resort’s five eateries.

What are some delicious summer wine and food pairings? Dr. Loosen, Riesling, ┼░rziger WÜrtzgarten, Mosel, Germany 2009. This is a private bottling that we had made for the resort and for Addison. It’s low in alcohol, refreshing, clean, and crisp; a fantastic friend to shrimp, summer salads, and anything prepared with some spice.

Schloss Gobelsburg, GrÜner Veltliner, Kamptal, Austria 2009. High tones of daikon radish and sweet pea make this wine a great summer food companion. We have a summer chicken salad that it goes great with—the chicken is marinated with miso paste and garlic mojo, and served on a salad composed of peas, arugula, and homemade breadcrumbs.

Domaine Barat, Chablis, A.C., 2009. This wine has bright acidity, lean mouthfeel, and is rich in minerality. This is Chardonnay on the light side, so for those looking for buttery tones with oak this might not work, but I think that it’s perfectly fine to drink outside of your comfort zone! It’s light but full of flavor and pairs well with fish.

Since rosé is such a popular summertime wine, do you have a favorite label? One of my favorite rosé producers is from the Sonoma Coast: Peay Vineyards. Their second label, called Cep, makes a Pinot Noir Rosé that’s very good, a must-try.

Which local wine bar do you like most these days? I like Gaffney’s in Encinitas. It’s a small family-owned spot filled with great people.
Do you have a favorite local wine shop? My favorite is The Wine Connection in Del Mar—with (aptly named) Morewine Bishar and his crew. The staff is top-notch, and they have great selections. I send a lot of people their way since they carry some of the same selections that we have on our lists.

Are any local wineries producing good wine? For my money, it does not get any better locally than Fallbrook Winery. What owner Ira Gourvitz and his team do is top-tier. I like their BDX Bordeaux-style red blend for fall and winter, but since we’re talking about summer, I recommend that people try their Chardonnay. It’s a good choice for those who like one that’s a little richer.

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