Our Favorite Reds for Spring

The Wine Cognoscenti Recommend

 


While we may have doubted it would actually arrive, springtime weather has now descended on much of the country, forgiving for a moment that dump of snow Long island’s east end received yesterday. Much anticipate, and of course much appreciated after the brutal months long deep freeze we’ve endured, spring is of course a time of renewal.

We all have our sweet spot wines, and those we tend to fall back on with ease, but this spring let’s all look outside out boxes a bit. It’s too easy to simply drink the status quo so take a few tips from our intrepid wine writing friends and discover something new this year!


My heart and palate compel me to beat the drum for Cru Beaujolais. Served slightly chilled, it is still wildly under-appreciated. Also, a big 1L bottle of easy-drinking Zweigelt is a winner.

Jameson Fink


Photo courtesy Tobias Toft via Flickr/CC

Dezel Quillen

Cabernet Franc. As you can see, I enjoyed it w/ grilled dried aged burgers last year. 
 
"Fresh berries and violets are synonymous with spring. Add approachability, herbal nuances, balanced acidity, a dash of spice, and light tannins and you’re ready to fire up the pit and enjoy the day with friends and a good bottle of Cabernet Franc. On the next visit to your local wine shop, ask the salesperson if he or she can recommend a solid bottle of Cabernet Franc or Loire Valley Chinon (same grape just named after the French appellation). You should be able to find something for under $20 that’s both satisfying and marries well with grilled fare." 
 
Dezel Quillen
Wine Blog - myvinespot.com

Eric Guido

I'm not quite ready to give up my red wines in spring.  I know the summer will be on me soon and my desire to taste the big burly reds I love will diminish. However, there's something about the spring that makes the body crave lighter fare and juicer wines.  For me, it's a young Dolcetto that fits the bill.  These are juicy wines with blackberry fruit, a bitter twang and usually at a price that won't break the bank.
 
One of my favorites is the 2010 Pecchenino Dolcetto di Dogliani San Luigi - A fresh yet energetic expression of blackberry jam, toast (not oak) and hints of wild herbs. On the palate, it showed ripe, juicy blackberry and herbs, which lasted through the mouthwatering finish. This was easy drinking, yet pure beauty in simplicity. (91 points)
 
Eric Guido

 

Julia Crowley

Willamette Valley Vineyards Whole Cluster Pinot Noir. With Whole Cluster Pinot Noir, the stems are not removed and the entire cluster of grapes is placed right into a stainless steel fermentation tank – which takes thousands of clusters to fill. Yeast is added, and the tank is sealed and flooded with carbon dioxide. Within several weeks, the juice inside each grape has turned into wine. The juice is then captured from the bursting berries, filtered to remove impurities, and results in a fruity wine with low tannins. The entire process (from the vine to the bottle), takes just three months. This lighter and fruitier Pinot Noir is meant to be consumed within 1 to 2 years. Typical characteristics of Willamette Valley Vineyards Whole Cluster Pinot Noir include vibrant cherry and raspberry fruits highlighted by tobacco. The mouthfeel is juicy, soft and well rounded with super fresh acidity.  

Julia Crowley
 

Susannah Gold

Favorite red for spring is a Rosso Conero from Le Marche, made from Sangiovese and Montepulciano. I tasted some great examples of this wine from Umani Ronchi of late. These easy to drink but nicely acidic wines pair well with foods and remind me Summer is just around the corner, as is the beach and sailing - all good things.

Susannah Gold

Lenn Thompson

My favorite red wine for Spring: It's cliche, but I drink a ton of rose in the spring -- the fresher the better. Both the Finger Lakes and Long Island regions in New York make some terrific examples. I tend to like ones made with pinot noir or cab franc the most. 

Lenn Thompson
New York Cork Report

Clifford Brown

This is a tough one since "variety is the spice of life".  I like to vary my wine selections, but as the seasons change from our bitterly cold Wisconsin Winter to Spring, I  seem to open up a bit more lighter bodied Pinot Noirs.  The winery I'm sure I will be opening a fair amount of this Spring is a newer one, Helioterra.  Their owner/winemaker, Anne Ebenreiter Hubatch, is from here in Wisconsin.
 
Here is a note from a recent bottle.
 
 
The wine is a very light ruby red color.  The very enticing nose has cherries, strawberries, baking spices, some earthiness, and a nice herbal note.  This has light to medium body, great acidity, and some subtle tannins.  On the palate there is a very nice balance between the fruit and spice with the herbal note coming in late.  The finish has nice length and again shows very nice balance.  This isn't a big, ultra ripe, highly extracted Pinot, this is much more feminine and nuanced. This is tasting very nice but is still on the young side.  (92 pts)
 
Cliff Brown
 

Richard Jennings

Something light,fresh, flavorful and very food friendly. Occhipinti Frappatos fit the bill, as they’re juicy, complex enough for intellectual interest, but also light-medium bodied, very low in sulfur and imminently quaffable. Great with pastas and salads made with fresh Spring vegetables too.
 
2010 Arianna Occhipinti Il Frappato Sicilia: Very dark cherry red color; appealing, fresh, aromatic, dried rosehips, dried lavender nose; tasty, dried lavender, dried cherry, spicy, mineral palate; needs 2 years; medium-plus finish (12.5% alcohol) 92+ points
 
Richard Jennings
 
 

 

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Comments

  • Snooth User: rossmary00
    1049805 2

    Dear Snooth, I'm not certain where your wine cognescenti hang their hats, but I don't recognize the names from this vast area between East & West coasts, esp. Chicagoland. I'm the wine columnist for the Daily Herald, published in & around Chicago & would be happy to represent the Prairie Division in Snooth. Please contact me at Rossmary00@aol.com. Good wine & health 'til then, Mary Ross

    Apr 02, 2014 at 1:19 PM


  • Mary Ross, are you the same Master Sommelier I met years ago in Chicago when I worked at Four Farthings???? The daughter of a liquor distributor, one who told me that in order to learn wine when she was young that she forced herself to taste 6 wines a day, regardless of how she was feeling?--Lucy (then Francis) Rogers

    Apr 02, 2014 at 1:29 PM


  • Snooth User: intellmkt
    1418066 30

    Why would someone include a wine in "My Favorite Wines for Spring" and then, in the wine review, say "needs two years."?

    Apr 02, 2014 at 3:05 PM


  • Snooth User: Richard Jennings
    Hand of Snooth
    780161 112,968

    Fair point Intellmkt. The Occhipinti Frappato is usually ready to drink when released, but the 2010 was a little tighter than usual. That tasting note dates back to when it was released. I'd say you're in good shape reaching for this Frappato this Spring, any vintage you can find.

    Apr 02, 2014 at 6:42 PM


  • I don't know about Chicago but I'm in Milwaukee and the Helioterra Pinot Noir is available here.

    Cliff

    Apr 02, 2014 at 9:29 PM


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