Now that we are knee deep in summer we will all invariably be invited to numerous BBQ’s, If you don’t get invited to any BBQ’s, well this article will still be relevant and useful when you host your solo BBQ and need something refreshing to drink with that lonely hot dog and frozen burger patty. If you have made the choice to not bring beer to your event then I have some interesting white wine choices that don’t involve the words Sauvignon Blanc (SB) and Pinot Grigio (PG). Not that these wines are bad, they most certainly are not, but I feel that they overshadow the array of affordable crisp white wines that exist out there in the world. SB and PG have been on the playing field for too long and need to take a rest. Don’t worry, they will always be there ready in a moments notice. Let’s be adventurous and move to opening our wine options out past the obvious.
Let’s start with the wildly aromatic grape called Godello (godayo). The grape is native to Galicia, Spain and can possess tropical aromas in the nose. It is always fresh on the palate with hints of green apple, and grapefruit, and like most of the wines I will be talking about it finishes with crisp palate cleansing acidity. Who wouldn’t want to drink a wine made with that grape on a hot summer day! Ok, onward and upward.
The next killer summer grape is from Austria…and no it is not sweet, I promise! Gruner Veltliner, this grape varietal is all about pleasure. At the high end it has beaten out top Chardonnays. In the mid-range that I’m talking about it can have an apple scent and spiciness not scene in many simple white wines and it can finish with exotic fruit and dry, crisp acidity. That’s it, I’m pouring a glass of Gruner Veltliner right now…I’m serious. Who cares if it’s Monday afternoon.
Let’s keep going here, no rest for the wicked. The Cortese grape (aka Gavi) is grown in Piedmont, Italy where Barolo and Barbaresco are made. Gavi is a typical Italian white in the sense that is has high acidity along with fairly neutral flavors that don’t get in the way of food but rather refresh and cleanse the palate. Being from Piedmont though does make this grape a few dollars more than the aforementioned grapes. Gavi makes a great alternative to PG.
Here we go, one of my favorite whites is the Albarino grape. Once again this is yet another wine from Galicia, Spain in the northwest. Once again like the Godello from Galicia this grape is wildly aromatic, Albarino can have a nose of pineapple and other tropical fruit. On the palate you can look forward to some lychee, and lemon zest all coming to a crisp crescendo of acidity. If that doesn’t get you excited then you should probably just bring Milwaukee’s Best Light to the next BBQ and call it an early summer.
With all of these great-white alternatives to SB and PG you should have plenty to drink this summer. Step out of your comfort zone, and liven-up your taste buds. Let ten other people bring the Santa Margherita. You can be the one who shows up with wine that will always get you invited back. And if you don’t have any BBQ invites just grab a couple of bottles of the adventurous whites and crash the party, they’ll be glad you came…if only to drink your great wine before they call the police.
As always if you have any questions or gripes, I’m always at my wine store. Don’t forget to try the recipe it goes great with all of the grapes mentioned. Have fun, be safe!
Sweet & Spicy Grilled Shrimp Soft Tacos with Mango Avocado Salsa
½ pound Raw cleaned shrimp
Package of soft round tortillas
½ Cup Olive Oil
1 Lime juiced
1 Jalepeno or favorite hot pepper
4 Scallions green part chopped
2-3 Garlic cloves
Pinch or so of Kosher Salt or Sea Salt
Mix in blender, add shrimp to marinade for an hour then skewer and grill shrimp for about 3 minutes or until done. Take shrimp off and chop. Take tortillas and put in tinfoil and put on grill for a few minutes to warm.
1 Mango, ripe & diced
½ Red onion finely diced
½ Red bell pepper, finely diced
1 Tbls Cilantro, chopped
1 Tbls Mint, chopped
1 Lime Juiced
Pinch of Kosher Salt or Sea Salt
Mix together and put in fridge.
When ready to serve put mango in a bowl and shrimp in a bowl. Put out some sour cream and let people make their own soft tacos.