5 New Wines to Try this Summer!

Jul 14, 2023by Andrew Lowry

by Andrew Lowry

From Tokaj, Hungary: Serpens Tokaj Dry 2021
From Northern Rhone, France: Yves Cuilleron Saint-Joseph 'Lyseras' 2021
From Drama, Greece: Wine Art Estate 'Idisma Drios' Assyrtiko 2021
From Provence, France: Clos Sainte Magdeleine Cassis Blanc 2020
From Languedoc-Roussillon, France: La Domitienne 'Pique Poul' Picpoul de Pinet 2022

*all wines purchased at our favorite wine store, Vintage Wines!

Serpens Tokaj Dry 2021

This wine comes from the Tokaj-Hejyalja region of North Eastern Hungary.

This Tokaj Dry is a delicious medley of 65% Furmint, 25% Hárslevelű, and 10% Sárgamuskotály (aka Muscat à Petits Grains) — ever heard of those grapes? Probably not as they are local to Hungary and aren't really popular on the American market — but they should be!

Of note, Furmint is an ancient grape that has been grown for millennia in the Austro-Hungarian region. It is a late-ripening grape so it enjoys a long growing season to get all the acids and sugars and fruit flavors balanced right out. This grape is the principal grape that makes the famous sweet wine of the same region, Tokaji aszú. Tokaji aszú was so praised by kings and queens around the world that entire vineyards were designated to go to royal families only!

If you haven't heard of Tokaji aszú before, it is definitely worth a try, but the good stuff will always come in a small 500ml bottle and will cost twice as much as most dry reds and whites!

Anyways, back to Tokaj Dry! Any Tokaj Dry will probably be similar to your favorite Riesling, and maybe can take the spot of your New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, although this doesn't have that distinct vegetal taste/scent of Sauvy B. 

This wine was slightly sweet but balanced with high, refreshing acidity, with notes of Meyer lemon, green apple, and maybe a little peach in there.

(We'll be the first to admit that we aren't the best at pulling flavors and notes out of wine — it's hard! We sometimes think the act is kind of ridiculous, but it can be fun if you get into it (it helps if you've had a few glasses to drink already!))

Essentially, this is a perfect summer wine. While you could drink this by the pool, there is no better wine for that than sparkling wine or rosé. We recommend this to be had at the beginning of a summer dinner party or backyard BBQ when all the appetizers are going around, but before the grilled meats come out demanding a big red of some sort.

Next we fly over to the Northern Rhone Valley!

 Yves Cuilleron Saint-Joseph 'Lyseras' 2021

 

First off, when reading this label, you might be confused about what's going on here. We definitely were.

Saint-Joseph is the appellation within the larger Northern Rhone appellation. It is one of the most Northerly appellations alongside Cote Rotie, Cotes du Rhone, Condrieu, and Chateau Grillet.

Next, Lyseras is the name that the vigneron, or winemaker, Yves Cuilleron from the town of Chavanay, chose to place on this particular wine.

Now, to be honest, we aren't the biggest fan of Northern Rhone wines. Something about the labeling and the predominantly big red Syrahs, just throw us off. We seem to never be in the mood for a Syrah from the Northern Rhone. There aren't many examples of wine from here that speak, I'm a fun wine and I like to party.

However, we decided to give the wine above a shot because we wanted to taste a wine that we wouldn't usually pick up with grapes in it that we haven't really tried before.

So, Yves Cuilleron's 'Lyseras' is a white wine made from 50% Roussanne and 50% Marsanne, which are two of the three permitted grape varieties that can be used to make whites in this appellation (the other being Viognier). This wine pours like gold. One of the most golden colored liquids we've ever seen.

This wine spent 8 months in the barrel with standard lees stirring (lees are the dead yeasts that are floating around after sacrificing their lives for the sake of making ethanol).

What does this mean? The wine has a nice sweet honey note and a pleasurable oily/waxy mouthfeel thanks to the prolonged contact with the dead yeasts.

Additionally, look for ripe yellow fruit flavors, with peaches, citrus, and yes, honey. Also, you will taste a little bit of that familiar buttery Chardonnay flavor in here as the winemaker chose to let this wine see a bit of malolactic fermentation — we'll talk more about this another time.

We would recommend this wine be chilled to about 50 degrees and poured into a room temp glass. This will bring the wine right to the ideal drinking temperature! Definitely have this on a summer night with a buttery pasta dish! Wishbone Kitchen's Spaghetti al Limon with pan-grilled chicken would be absolutely perfect for this wine! Then move on to a nice chilled red to round out the night.

Wine Art Estate 'Idisma Drios' Assyrtiko 2021

'Idisma Drios' means "sweetly oaked" and is the name of this wine made by Wine Art Estate in the IGP zone of Drama, Greece. Wine Art Estate is one of the more modern winemakers in all of Greece, supporting the international grape varieties, while still making great wines from the traditional Greek grape varieties.

This wine is made from the Assyrtiko grape, native to Greece, specifically indigenous to the island of Santorini! Drama for one reason or another, is the only other region in Greece that can compete with the wines from Santorini. 

The Drama region is located in the far North East of Greece in Macedonia and near the border of Bulgaria. The climate is hot hot in the summer and quite cold in the winter, but the summer heat is moderated by the Mediterranean ocean breezes. 

This wine is absolutely delicious. It is solidly in between the Tokaj Dry and the Lyseras above. Not quite as acidic as the first, and not as buttery and thick as the second. 

The flavor profile is lemon, grapefruit, white peach, nectarine, and some notes of hazelnut, and oak from the time spent in the barrel. You might taste a little butter from the malolactic fermentation, but you'll notice a definite creaminess.

Honestly, if you didn't know this wine was Assyrtiko, you would think it was new world Chardonnay made in the reminiscent way of Old World Chardonnay like the Côte West Chardonnay we love so much.

We love this wine. Of course, if it's Greek wine in the glass, it is probably seafood on the plate. Try this with tuna, smoked salmon, or some grilled octopus, and a nice fatty Greek salad as a side. 

Clos Sainte Magdeleine Cassis Blanc 2020

Okay, first, we want to trash the wine label before we praise literally everything else about this wine!

Would you pick this up in a wine store?? We wouldn't. We were only so lucky that our favorite wine store recommended this to us when we noted that we wanted to try some wines with non-mainstream grapes.

I mean it's attractive and gold and pretty and highlights the wine and all but would you believe that the wine came from a winery and estate that looked like this?!

and region that looked like this (from Google Earth)?!

Cassis is a small fishing village in the South of France near Marseille and all the other cool South of France towns. Cassis is an AOC located within the larger AOC of Provence. Provence is, of course, known for its rosé, so here is a cool region that is known for its whites instead — just 13% of Provencal wine is white or red with an obvious 87% being rosé.

Okay, now we can talk about the wine. It's fantastic.

Made from 40% Marsanne, 30% Ugni Blanc, 25% Clairette, and 5% Bourboulenc. You probably haven't heard of most of those grapes either. We didn't even know Bourboulenc was a thing, but it reminds us of Bourbon and we like Bourbon.

These 4 grapes are all the permitted grapes that can go into Cassis Blanc, which is what the region is known for, although it makes red, white, rosé, and sparkling wine too.

This is a clean, bright, moderately acidic wine meant to be had with some food, but it isn't hard to have it alone. Trust us.

This winery estate dates back to 1850 and this bottle claims it is their 101st vintage of this wine so that's pretty cool. They probably learned a thing or two over 101 vintages.

Farmed 100% organically and fermented with only indigenous yeasts, this wine truly captures the essence of the Cassis terroir. 

La Domitienne 'Pique Poul' Picpoul de Pinet 2022

The region of Picpoul de Pinet is unique because it is one of France's few wine regions where only 1 single grape variety is permitted to be grown and sold and that's Picpoul

Picpoul is a full-bodied, high-acid grape. This wine is just so easy to quaff down on a hot summer evening as an aperitif before the main course or even with the main course. 

These wines are simple, and that is exactly why you would drink them. Kind of like a beer, really not too much thinking needs to happen when chugging it, it's just damn good. We like the contrast of high acidity and a fuller body because we are so used to high-acid wines being medium to lighter in body.

Well, we hope you liked this blog post. The aim of it was to expose you to new grapes you may have never heard of before. These wines aren't very mainstream on the American market, so usually, that means they can be found at a great value (maybe minus the Cassis and the Northern Rhone wine.)

Cheers!

Madi and Andy


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