Celebrate all moms and look forward to summer wines

May 8, 2021

Don’t forget Mother’s Day this Sunday. This past week, I was reflecting on my mom and grandmothers, all four of whom are deceased. As much as I loved my grandfathers, their memories were outstripped by those of the four “Moms” in my life. I realize I’m primarily preaching to the choir, but for those who have been remiss, open your hearts and minds, and show your “Moms” how important they’ve been toward shaping you. No regrets. 

Recent news from Europe, especially France and Germany, indicates this year’s harvest will be severely diminished by a late frost and long duration of well-below-average temperatures, plus hail which trashed the vines. Those who are fans of wine from the upper regions of Euroland would be well served to lay in a small supply before this extreme cold weather conditions and incipient inflation in USA become more widely known and price increases take effect. The weather news out of Australia and Cali is equally grim, only heat and drought. Don’t overdo your preparations, though. In many cases these dire warnings early on fail to cause dire consequences. Longtimers know there is often a huge upside to early freezing or drought. Plant stress, resulting in smaller quantities but more concentration, can provide some wonderful wines. I’ll keep you apprised as the info stream progresses. 

Spring has sprung, so let’s start looking at some summer wines. Justin 2020 Sauvignon Blanc is a fair buy under $16. From Paso Robles and depending on vintage may be labeled Central Coast, blended juice from a diverse selection of terroir, a winemakers’ art wine. Look for citrus, tropical fruit and herbal nose on a bright acidity/mineral frame. Wonderful with our local fluke, sea bass and crab cakes. Recommended with warm brie but not my cup of tea; consistently rates McD 87-88 since 2017. How about a Chardonnay to enjoy with artichoke and lemon aioli? I was sent this suggestion by Samantha St. John. My family loves artichokes and creamy Chardonnay, so we took a look at Erik Cramer’s WillaKenzie 2018 Willamette Valley Chardonnay. A solid 89 McD under $33. For the most part, I’m a drinker of big, buttery Chards as standalones. Not so much with food, other than lobster, of course. This combo of chokes, aioli and chardonnay was delicious, and I’m adding it to my repertoire. Props to Erik for a job well done. 

I truly enjoyed the 2016 Sullivan Vineyard Coeur de Vigne Estate Red Blend 2016. From Rutherford in Napa. Made in the traditional Bordeaux style with 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot, 19% Cabernet Franc, 5% Malbec and 2% Petit Verdot sourced from their own vines. The 2017 was a tad better, blended of 75% Cab, 22% Merlot and Malbec. I thought the color and tannin from the Malbec was a nice addition and gave lift to the softer merlot. For $90, you will get a bottle that competes with most of the better Bordeaux you can find on shelves at the beach. Sullivan sends them aged, so 2017 is the new release, 91 McD. Can be enjoyed now but it will cellar well.

Observant newshawks will have noted the Cape Gazette is getting thicker. I’m hoping the optimism this reflects is a harbinger of a busy summer. A recent piece from Diana Polk,,  doesn’t reflect well on Delaware’s efforts to gear up the economy, ranking us No. 47 of 50. Diane publishes weekly, and she is evenhanded. She is not an ideologue and is normally accurate. The data includes COVID-19, leisure & travel, and economy and labor market categories as well as methods. What concerns me is that we aren’t gaining much traction, as large swaths of the country are recovering. I’m including the link in hopes that Pres. Biden’s peeps or the guv, Pete or even the mayor and council will take notice and lift the C19 restrictive yoke of business suppression from our collective backs. Coupled with the president, his large entourage and the attending press coverage spending time here, opening up our capacity would likely bring on a banner year and have the added bonus of helping our struggling business community out of last season’s financial doldrums.

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