Once again, I have to state the obvious: A wine guru’s life is a tough one. Receiving samples often reminds me of my childhood in London waiting for a red double-decker bus on a rainy day. You waited for ages and then 3 came along at the same time.
So I recently received samples galore. Let’s get down to the Best Of The Bunch nifty quaffs ideally suited to the summer months ahead.
■ Azienda Agricola Angelini is located in San Lorenzo in Campo, within the Marche region of Italy. All of the grapes are grown on their estate. The 200-acre farm has been in the family for three generations with 7.5 acres of vineyards of specially selected varietals; Sangiovese, Vernaccia (Pergola Rosso) & Merlot. The 100 percent Pergola Rosso is deep red with summer red berry flavors and I would chill it for 10 minutes to compliment anything you cook on the barbecue. Azienda Agricola Angelini Pergolo Rosso (a grape also known as Vernaccia Nero) is a relatively light yet full fruit delight at approximately $15.
■ Avalon Winery, located in Sonoma County, Calif., has released the sexiest label I’ve seen in many a year (and that’s a HUGE statement coming from me!) The 2012 California AVA designated Cabernet Sauvignon, known as CAB is produced from grapes grown in vineyards throughout California and is a blend of 76 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 13 percent Syrah, 7 percent Zinfandel and 4 percent Merlot. Avalon CAB was aged for eight months in a combination of French and American Oak barrels. The perfume is full of breakfast-time jams, and the flavor, like the previous wine, has all those lovely summertime berries we all drool over. This wine (to quote a comment about another wine on my current radio show) is “A Smooth Operator”). Avalon CAB is approximately $12.
■ Harry & David, as we all know, ship the most exquisite fruit hampers known to mankind. And now they have taken a giant step into the world of wine. I just tasted their 2011 Royal Crest Red (Southern Oregon) another smooth, fruit forward gem which I assume contains some Cabernet given the prominence of cedar. Another contender for the summer-berry loving wine buyer’s shopping cart. Royal Crest Red has a medium body and a bright future. Approximate price: $19.95. http://www.harryanddavid.com.
■ Summertime is also rum time and Mount Gay Rum is the product of over 300 years of knowledge, experience and refinement applied to the process of making rum. Mount Gay Black Barrel Rum is a small batch, handcrafted blend matured for a second time in deeply charred Bourbon oak barrels. This unique process releases spicy aromas that are at once balanced, and bold. The taste is full of vanilla, caramel and toastiness. No other rum comes anywhere close to this product. Mount Gay Black Barrel Rum (approximately $30) rocks!
Try this recipe (courtesy of Mount Gay Rum)
1.5 ounces Mount Gay Black Barrel Rum
.75 ounce Sweet Vermouth
.75 ounce Remy VSOP
2 dashes of bitters
Stir all ingredients together. Fine-strain into iced rocks glass. Garnish with orange peel. The name which means “old link” pays homage to the long history between Mount Gay Rum and sister brand Remy Martin. The dark cherry notes in the vermouth help pull out the bold finish in the Black Barrel, while the light aromatic cognac notes brighten up the drink.”
Listen to “Time Out With Phillip Silverstone” on Tunein Radio. On their app search: Phillip Silverstone or on the web at http://bit.ly/1kqcRmk. Check www.thesilverstonecollection.com for more.