ADVERTISING: Advertorial — GEORGE BALLING: Mid-summer recommendations

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Summer arrived in full-force this past week and with it another surge in wine consumers pursuing crisp whites and lighter bodied reds. Our dining has moved outside, as has our cooking, opting for the grill over the oven. Gatherings have increased in size and frequency as friends and family look to enjoy the weather together. It is, after all, the best time of year in North Idaho. So here are some of what we have been drinking that we really enjoy. Full disclosure: some are repeats, but frankly the ones that are have just been tasting really good.

This past week we donated wine to a charity auction dinner for the Boys & Girls Clubs. We were there to get the evening started and talk a bit of the wines we chose. The first in the lineup as a bit of a palate cleanser was the non vintage Antech Emotion Cremant de Limoux ($20, $18 our wine club price). What a treat to try that wine again! Many think of “bubbly” as a holiday thing, but when you have one like this- bone dry, tight bubbles, lovely strawberry flavors- it goes great on a warm summer evening. Cool and refreshing!

We just tried, and immediately ordered for the shelf, the 2017 La Rocaliere Tavel Rosé ($18, our wine club price $16.20). Tavel is one of our favorite rosé regions. The dry, pink wines produced there are typically some combination of Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah and Mourvédre, although there are some bottled varietally too. The wine showed a bit more color than many, but it still had perfectly light palate weight. The aromas were of stony minerality and spring berries. Palate flavors were strawberry focused as well. It arrives in the shop this week and should not be missed.

Another wine that will be arriving soon, most likely in our Friday Night Flight program, is the 2016 Bull & Gine Nosis Priorat Blanc ($15, our wine club price $13.50). We have long been fans of Priorat in Spain. It is a tiny growing region that produces extraordinary wine that can be tough to find, they just don’t export much. The blend on this crisp and zippy white is not disclosed, it shows minerality and apple notes on the nose, leading to a crisp, clean palate that shows lovely texture throughout.

I know we have been talking about the 2016 Bonny Doon Grenache ($20, our wine club price $18) for a while now, but when it comes to summer reds it just doesn’t get any better than this! Light (if any) oak shows on the wine; it is all about the vibrant berry driven fruit and soft fruit tannins. It is just wonderful with food from the grill! The wine continues to be well received at tastings, and for a special trick with barbecued ribs, chill it in the refrigerator for just 15 minutes prior to serving.

Beaujolais is another light bodied red that shines when the weather gets toasty. The wines are typically treated very gently with oak (if at all) to keep all those great fruit flavors shining through. The acids tend to be more pronounced, making for a clean presentation on the palate. The 2016 Pierre Marie Chermette Origin from the leVissoux Cru ($20, our wine club price $18) has lovely earthy and dark cherry aromas and a light, clean palate loaded with ripe, rich fruit — perfect with grilled salmon.

A bit lighter take on Cabernet is always a good bet during summer, but with the caveat that it has the heft to hold up to your favorite grilled burger or steak. The 2015 Desert Wind Cabernet from the Wahluke Slope in Washington ($17, our wine club price $15.30) is just such a “Cab.” The wine has dense, rich plum and dark berry flavors on the palate, but it is framed by fairly high acid and the oak is limited in presentation, giving it a lighter touch for summer. It still has Cabernet aromatics and backbone, through and through, to make it perfect with grilled meat.

The choices are endless when it comes to wine to enjoy in the warmer weather, so stop by the shop or give us a call to take you through the options.

If there is a topic you would like to read about or 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 in Coeur d’Alene by Costco. George has also worked as a judge in many wine competitions. His articles are published around the country and he is the wine editor for Coeur d’Alene Magazine www.cdamagazine.com. You can learn more about the dinner party at www.thedinnerpartyshop.com. You can get all of these articles as well as other great wine tips by friending us on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/#!/dinnerpartyshop

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