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Queens Chronicle

Wines for Every Summer Celebration

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Posted: Monday, July 14, 2014 1:00 am | Updated: 4:34 am, Mon Jul 14, 2014.

(Family Features) The summer forecast calls for delightful weather and a calendar full of casual, fun-filled gatherings with family and friends. Make sure you're prepared for all the seasonal soirees with delicious wines that enhance the mood and the good times.

A Perfect Picnic Pairing

Celebrate the summer sun with the ultimate in al fresco dining - a picnic with friends and the perfect pairing of wine. Kendall-Jackson Grand Reserve Chardonnay is a winemaker's blend from hillside vineyards along California's cool, coastal appellations. Made from hand selected grapes from the best estate vineyards, each lot is kept separate, barrel-aged and handcrafted - boutique winery style. With rich, tropical flavors accompanied by clean acidity and finesse, this elegantly layered wine exhibits a rich texture with a hint of vanilla and spice. It pairs deliciously with picnic foods like creamy goat cheese, garlic roasted hummus and crudites. For more information, visit www.kj.com.


Refreshing Anytime Pick

From crunchy, cool salads to succulent seafood, warmer weather inspires its own impressive menu. If hosting a summer gathering or you need to bring a wine to enjoy and share as a guest, consider the bright, fresh and crisp flavors of La Crema's Monterey Pinot Gris. The winery has dedicated more than 30 years to exploring California's finest cool-climate vineyards, and chose Monterey as the perfect region for growing its new Pinot Gris. Cool winds and fog help the wine develop a natural, juicy palate with notable complexity and minerality. With aromas of white peach and subtle floral hints, it pairs beautifully with all the flavors of summer. For more information, visit www.lacrema.com.


Great for Grilled Fare

Based in Sonoma County, Murphy-Goode Winery is all about good wine, good times and good deeds. The wine producer is a partner with Operation Homefront, a national nonprofit organization that provides emergency financial assistance to military families and wounded warriors. The winery's red blend wine, Homefront Red, launched in 2013 to support veterans and military families in need, with 50 cents from each bottle sold benefitting the organization. To date, Murphy-Goode has raised more than $400,000 for the cause. A blend of Syrah, Merlot, Petite Sirah and Zinfandel, the wine boasts juicy black cherry and raspberry flavors complemented by toasty vanilla notes. Each glass ends in a long finish, making for a food-friendly wine that pairs well with grilled dishes. Available nationwide, this robust red will be a hit at your next barbecue or outdoor event. For more information, visit www.murphygoodewinery.com.


A Happy, Summer Hostess Gift

When you've been invited to a joyful, warm-weather gathering, it's only right to show the hostess your gratitude. Thank them properly with a distinctive wine, such as Julia's Pinot Noir from Cambria Estate Winery, a family-owned winery located on the famed Santa Maria bench in Santa Barbara County. Known for stylistically distinct bottlings, the winery focuses on small-lot practices, highlighting individual vineyard parcels, clones and soil types, as well as winemaking techniques. The namesake of proprietor Barbara Banke's youngest daughter, Julia's Pinot Noir is richly-textured, with aromatics of dark fruit and spice. It's a lush Pinot Noir any hostess would be happy to receive. For more information, visit www.cambriawines.com.


Savor Seafood Pairings

A coastal inspired menu is a great way to please guests and showcase the fresh flavors of the season. Be sure to pair your favorite shellfish, shrimp and other seafood dishes with a wine that's as equally pleasing, such as the Matanzas Creek Sauvignon Blanc. With a storied history in Sonoma County, the winery has established a reputation for producing Sauvignon Blanc that is crisp, vibrant and bursting with fruit. With flavors strongly influenced by the coastal influence of the Pacific Ocean, this Sonoma County wine is a nod to the region's extraordinary volcanic soils and wide daily temperature range. Heighten your dining experience with a harmonizing glass of Matanzas Creek Sauvignon Blanc, which serves up a sense of delicacy, naturally mouthwatering fruit and balanced acidity. For more information, visit www.matanzascreek.com.


Flavorful Pairing Partners

No matter what ingredients you use, there's a perfect wine to complement every meal. This helpful pairing guide features three popular varietals for your next summer soiree:

Sauvignon Blanc

  • Meats and fish
    Lighter entrees such as shellfish, sushi, sole and chicken
  • Fruits and vegetables
    Citrus fruits, melons, green apples and asparagus
  • Sauces
    All light sauces, such as citrus sauce
  • Desserts
    Light, fruity sweets such as sorbet and key lime pie

Chardonnay

  • Meats and fish
    Pork loin, chicken, veal, shrimp, crab and lobster
  • Fruits and vegetables
    Avocado, potato, butternut squash, apples and peaches
  • Sauces
    Creamy, mild and buttery sauces, pesto and tropical salsas
  • Desserts
    Apple, pecan and key lime pie; yellow and pound cake

Pinot Noir

  • Meats and fish
    Roasted chicken, tuna, filet mignon, lamb and mild sausages
  • Fruits and vegetables
    Roasted tomatoes, mushrooms, figs, cherries and dried fruit
  • Sauces
    Mushroom sauces, light or medium red sauces
  • Desserts
    Vanilla pudding, milk chocolate, strawberries and cream or white chocolate
Photo courtesy of Getty Images

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