What I will drink this spring

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The most common question from readers and customers alike is “What is your favorite wine to drink?” A variation on the question is “If you only had one bottle to drink what would it be?” Both are unanswerable for me. The truth of the matter is there are many wines I enjoy so to narrow down to a bottle or even a varietal, or for that matter even a color is nearly impossible. Here are some of my favorites so far this spring though.

The new 2016 vintage of Skylark Pink Belly ($22, wine club price $19.80) is spectacular again. This dry rosè of Grenache is our most popular every year with our allocation of just over 50 cases typically selling out in just a matter of weeks. Owner/winemaker John Lancaster does a superb job and in my opinion saves his best work for this perfect spring and summer wine. Bone dry lovely strawberry flavors on the palate and a crisp light finish it just does not get any better.

My white choices this spring are admittedly sentimental. When we lived in Sonoma we were very close to Kenwood winery. Our summer afternoons many times involved a bottle of their Sauvignon Blanc ($12, wine club price $10.80). It is loaded with pink grapefruit flavors on the palate and broiled citrus aromatics. Light and crisp with no oak the wine speaks to summer for me.

The 2014 Truchard Chardonnay ($35, wine club price $31.50) is another pick that is dear to my heart. Joann and Tony Truchard were in North Idaho for a wine dinner a bit over a year ago and what a treat that was, a true trip down memory lane. The Truchard Chardonnay is a wine that dates back to the earliest days of my wine journey and the 2014 is every bit as good as I remember. Lovely apple and citrus flavors, balanced oak and butter notes typical of California Chardonnay but presented in such an elegant fashion it is simply the best.

My palate turns to lighter bodied wines come this time of year. The 2014 Failla Pinot Noir ($45, wine club price $40.50) is a wine I really get excited about drinking. The Sonoma Coast fruit takes me right back to my time in the Russian River Valley with its vibrant cherry flavors and mild earthiness. Good acid balances the fruit and the wine is silky smooth in the mouth. Clearly priced more for a special occasion the wine is worth every penny.

Ruggeri Corsini is one of our favorite wineries from Italy. Their 2013 Armujan bottling of Barbera d’Alba ($29, wine club price $26.10) is another stunning success. Barbera is referred to as the Pinot Noir of Italy and for good reason; it is lighter bodied, lower alcohol and rich with ripe fruit flavors. The wine with its mild integrated tannins and lovely fruit will be perfect for dining alfresco with a dinner of cold pasta salad and grilled salmon.

Even during the spring and summer months I will still want a Cabernet from time to time, albeit less frequently. I am always impressed with how much wine Sean Minor gets in the bottle for the money. His 2014 Napa Valley Cabernet ($25, wine club price $22.50) is no exception, the wine could easily command a price in the $40s. Rich dark fruit flavors along with a bit of the dusty tannin the Rutherford Bench is known for and you have a spectacular Cabernet that will hold up to the best steak you can put on the grill. It should not be missed.

There no doubt will be more wines we taste in the coming weeks that will become part of our “go to” selection for spring and the warmer summer months ahead. Stopping by the shop is the one sure way to stay up to date on our favorites, or give us a call or drop a note on email if you need help tracking down your own special choices. There are so many great wines to discover we look forward to your recommendations as well.

If there is a topic you would like to read about or if you have questions on wine, you can email George@thedinnerpartyshop.com, or make suggestions by contacting the Healthy Community section at the Coeur d’Alene Press.

• • •

George Balling is co-owner (with his wife Mary Lancaster) of the dinner party, a wine and table top décor shop located by Costco in Coeur d’Alene. George worked as a judge in many wine competitions, and his articles are published around the country. You can learn more about the dinner party at www.thedinnerpartyshop.com. Be sure and check out our weekly blog at www.thedinnerpartyshop.com/home/blog-2. You can get all of these articles as well as other great wine tips by friending us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/#!/dinnerpartyshop.

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