Star-Bulletin Features

Wednesday, August 25, 1999

By Kathryn Bender, Star-Bulletin
Richard Field recommends the Caves Alianca Vinho
Verde and Zilliken Estate Riesling, served chilled.

Chilled wine helps
beat the heat

Art Star-Bulletin columnist Dave Donnelly recently reported comedian David Spade dubbed summer in Hawaii a "Humidity Festival."

If you're looking for ways to beat the heat, our expert wine panel has a few suggestions.

We can't do anything to make your commute shorter, or the afternoons cooler, but your core temperature may drop a little faster if you can come home to a chilled glass of wine. All of this month's recommendations are refrigerator friendly.


From Richard Field
R. Field Wine Co.

When it's hot and sticky, what beverages do you normally reach for? Iced tea, soda or fruit juices? They're cool; they usually have a little zing and a little bit of bitterness. The combination makes for an idea refreshment. What does any of this have to do with wine? The ideal type of wine to beat the heat would share similar characteristics. Another crucial element is moderate-to-low alcohol. The higher the alcohol, the hotter the wine feels and you will feel.

Zilliken Estate Riesling, 1991 and 1996, Germany, $15.33

Zilliken is one of the great winemakers of the world. This wine combines purity of riesling fruit with classic flavors, crisp and fresh yet creamy and deep. The two vintages offer unique textures and varying amounts of apple and pear flavors. The '91 offers less upfront fruit but noticeably more creaminess, while the '96 retains much of its youthful fruit-driven flavors with crispness.

Caves Alianca Vinho Verde, Portugal, $7.14

Vinho verde is the famous "green wine" of Portugal. This is a common wine in Europe but not as easy to find here. Lemony and minty with a touch of spritz; talk about bracingly refreshing!


From Lyle Fujioka
Fujioka's Wine Merchants

Falesco Poggio dei Gelsi Est! Est! Est! 1998, Italy, $8.95

While our store has always had a love affair with everything Italian, we were a little shy about promoting Italian white wines. Now that they're coming into our state fresh and correct, we're on a mission to spread the gospel about how fitting many of these wines are for our hot and humid days. With Poggio dei Gelsi, wine maestro Riccardo Cotarella has elevated this formerly nondescript "Est!!!" to a new level of quality. Coming home after a long day, a cold glass of "Est!!!" will revive the stressed senses. Nurturing aromatics of ripe stonefruit spun with floral and spice notes begin the process. The palate is then zapped with fresh, full flavors of peach, pear and honeydew delivered sans wood and without overbearing alcoholic weight.

Terre Di Dora Fiano di Avellino 1998, Italy, $15.95

For relief from days on the edge of road rage, broken auto a/c and searing afternoon heat, you'll need more than the everyday plop, plop, fizz, fizz solution. This fiano is a godsend. The price may have you pausing, but don't we all deserve a break today? On the nose, it entices with honeysuckle floral notes, baskets of fruit and drifting hints of hazelnut. Full-bodied and intensely packed, this wine will center your wellness zone immediately. The aftertaste lingers with a flavorful almondy finish. Bella!


From Chuck Furuya
Fine Wine Imports

Recently, I saw a picture in a popular wine magazine that showed a young couple enjoying a glass of wine while shaded by a large umbrella at a cafe somewhere along the Mediterranean. What would I drink?

Domaine de la Gautiere Blanc de Blancs, France, $12.99

Looks like a lot of French mumbo jumbo doesn't it? Let me simplify things for you. This is southern French chardonnay. A very different approach to chardonnay, it is organically grown, dry, light-bodied and lemon-edged. The lemon edge is ideal for warm weather sipping and for fresh seafood and light pastas. I love this wine's intriguingly rustic edge, which is so thankfully different from California versions. Just watch out for floaters. Because of its au naturale approach to winemaking, there may be a few pulp-like floaters. They don't bother me in my wine, or my orange juice for that matter, but they may bother some.

Kermit Lynch Beaujolais, France, $14.25

For the red-wine drinker, here is a real beaujolais the way it should be -- completely fruity, zesty, even a little fizzy. I recommend you serve it chilled and serve it often. As you may know, Kermit Lynch has made a name for himself searching out and importing high quality, "boutique" wines from France. The beaujolais is one of them. Organically minded and 50-year-old vines result in very interesting character. Just remember though, this is a wine to enjoy simply. Thirst quenching, completely refreshing. Beat the heat!

From Jay Kam Vintage Wine Cellar

Hogue Johannisburg Riesling 1998, Washington State, $9.99

Last month I recommended the 1997 Schloss Schonborn Johannisberger Klaus Riesling Kabinett from Germany for a picnic wine. Rieslings are perfect for warm weather because they are light, fruity, refreshing and low in alcohol, which is great if you are in the sun. Although German rieslings are the most famous, areas such as Washington state are capable of producing good rieslings as well. Hogue produces a well-balanced and refreshing version that will be great on a hot summer night.

Danzante Pinot Grigio 1998, Italy, $9.99

This is the premier vintage of this wine produced by two titans of the wine industry: Robert Mondavi and Marchesi de Frescobaldi. The vineyards are in northwest Italy (Friuli and Trentino), which with it's cool climate produces some of the best pinot grigio in the world. Pinot grigio is a light, fruity and slightly spicy wine that is crisp and refreshing. At a recent tasting our whole staff was very impressed with this wine. Try a bottle the next time you are watching the sun set and snacking on some poke.

Values on the Vine runs the last Wednesday of each month. The Star-Bulletin asks each expert on its panel to recommend a pair of wines, at least one of which must retail for about $10.

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