Summer Wines: Our Sommelier’s Picks for May
This month, I’ve been thinking about summer wines and want you to consider drinking some nice sparkling and some reds with a little less meat to them. I've combed the Westgarth offerings and found some yummy gems that make sense for warm weather drinking. Sunny isn't just the way the weather is changing. It's the general mood, at least here. Things are on the right track back to normalcy. We'll keep our fingers crossed here, and continue drinking as much Champagne as we can lay our hands on. Without further ado, here's our May Somm Picks by yours truly.
Jackson's Somm Picks
Heidsieck isn't often mentioned in the same breath as great Champagne houses like Krug and Bollinger. Why not? It's criminal. For me, these wines deliver the luxe goods pound for pound as good as any of the highest-regarded houses. This cuvée was once known as Champagne Charlie, but turned into 'Blanc des Millenaires' in the mid-80s. The same quality has remained and if you like buttery, luscious, refined Champagne, this 2004 Blanc des Millenaires is a perfect match for you. This would be a perfect pairing with crab, lobster, or seared Black Cod.
Chablis is a perfect summer wine and Billaud's Chablis are a great study in classic texture and brightness. Leaving his family's domaine in 2009, Samuel Billaud struck out to produce wine with character, varietal correctness and power. This 2018 Vaillons is a Premier Cru with a good balance between weight, fruit, richness and earth. Pair this with oysters, vegetable soups, or chilled noodle dishes.
Billecart-Salmon's most identifiable cuvée is its Brut Rosé and even its Elizabeth Salmon Rosé… But don't sleep on its other offerings. The Cuvée Louis is their expression of Côtes des Blancs fruit. It's their love letter to Chardonnay. Now 2007 may seem like a strange year in Champagne. It wasn’t declared by every house. But it did by the one that counts. If Salon declares a vintage and they very much did in 2007, you can assume it was a good year for the Chardonnay grape. This was fermented partially in oak, partially in stainless steel. The 2007 was only recently released, having been aged for ten full years on the lees. That much lees aging contributes lovely richness, complexity and length of finish to the final product. You can pair this on the winery's suggestion with scallop carpaccio, but I think it'd be equally at home with veal blanquette or caviar.
Aldo Conterno's best wines come from the Bussia vineyard. It's the "Granbussia" wine that has made Conterno a press darling, but these Bussia wines are wonderful examples of the vineyard as well and exhibit all the grace, richness and complexity that make us fall in love with Barolo. The 2013s are already shaping up beautifully. This critically acclaimed vintage is going to lay down nicely and provide lots of delicious drinking in the near and far term. Pair this one with beef tenderloin, herbed roasted chicken and all kinds of pasta (hint hint, sage butter Tajarin will be the knockout you're looking for).
We hope you'll find something here from our summer wines that's to your liking! Remember, we have many other cuvées from similar producers, so don't hesitate to get in touch, we are happy to help you find wines that work nicely for you. Enjoy the rapidly warming weather and the blue skies we're all beginning to see more of.
View more of our Master Sommelier’s hand-picked wine selections here: