When Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazelwood muse on “Summer Wine” they sing of “Strawberries, cherries and an angel’s kiss in spring.” It sounds to me like they were enjoying some fine red Burgundy!
When it comes to collecting red Burgundy the outstanding vintages of 1999, 2002 and 2005 are what you’ll find resting in collectors’ cellars, and there they shall sit for many more years, joined soon by the 2009s. But Burgundy is known to be fickle; the Pinot Noir variety is notoriously prone to rot and has difficulty achieving optimum ripeness. As such, you’ll hear an awful lot about “drinking vintages” in the Cote d’Or filling the gaps between “classic” vintages. 2004 and 2007 are some such vintages, drinking beautifully in their youth as the 02s and 05s mature.
Of course, summer is also the season to indulge in white wines. Rias Biaxas in Spain has, of late, been churning out fantastically complex, elegant and downright delightful whites, full of citrus zest and sprinkled with peachy sweetness. I can think of no better wine for summer. White Burgundy and California Chardonnay are also wonderful, albeit a richer option.
After catching the Chablis tasting at Lower Falls Wine Co. the other night, featuring a portfolio of Dauvissat wines, oysters and shellfish are at the top of the summer menu — the 2009 La Forest, with its brine and limestone with a light kick at the end, drops you right in the ocean. Really, where else would you rather be?
While the finest Burgundies can cost you much more than “silver spurs, a dollar and a dime,” that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on all the pleasures of summer wine – there are plenty of options at wine auctions priced for drinking.