WINES WITH A SPRING IN THEIR STEP
By Patrick Evans-Hylton
It’s April, and spring is here.
Like food, our tastes take a lighter turn with wine this time of year. Good news: there are lots of great crisp vintages to enjoy. We sampled five “Wines with a Spring in Their Step” at the recent Bottles & Bites food/wine pairing class I instruct for TASTE. But rather than just serve all of the wines directly from the bottle, we had a little fun and made some wine cocktails. These drinks are quick and easy, and showcase the vino in action. They are also great for springtime gatherings with family and friends out on the porch, perhaps paired with some of the dishes I recommended at the class.
SPARKLING SPRING SANGRIA
This is a gorgeous, refreshing drink where the lightness of the Vinho Verde really shines.
The day before serving, place three grapes each on a wooden skewers and lay side-by-side on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the freezer.
For service, fill a wine glass about three-fourths full Las Lilas Vinho Verde and add a splash of white grape juice and a splash of club soda. Garnish with skewered, frozen grapes.
Pair with BLT Deviled Eggs
STRAWBERRY FLUTES FOREVER
In class, we served the Lorenza Rose’ on it’s own, but you can create a delightful cocktail with the wine; we like using local, freshly-picked strawberries (maybe from Pungo) with this recipe.
Cap, hull and finely chop strawberries. Add a teaspoon in the bottom of a champagne flute, then fill about halfway with the Lorenza Rose’. Top off the drink with a sparkling wine, such as champagne, cava or prosecco.
Pair with Fig-Almond with Brie Canapes
JUST PEACHY, THANKS
In class, we served the Jax Y3 Sauvignon Blanc on it’s own, but you can create a fresh, fruity drink with the wine by using peach nectar. Peach nectar is readily available in the juice section of most grocery stores; our favorite brand is Goya.
The day before serving, place two wedges of fresh peach each on a wooden skewers and lay side-by-side on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the freezer.
For service, fill a wine glass about one-fourth full of peach nectar and then top off with the Sauvignon Blanc and a splash of club soda. Garnish with skewered, frozen peach wedges.
Pair with Sweet Corn Griddle Cakes topped with Pulled Pork Barbecue
KRAZY FOR KALIMOTXCO
Kalimotxco (pronounced cali-mot-cho) is a wine cocktail readily available in the Basque region of Spain. Although the combination of red wine and cola sounds odd, it’s really pretty awesome and very refreshing on a warm spring day.
In a tall iced tea glass, add a few cubes of ice and fill a bit more than halfway full with Velvet Devil Merlot. Fill almost all the way to the top with cola (I prefer Coca-Cola) and a splash of club soda. Garnish with an orange peel.
Pair with Surry Porksicles
SASSY CIDER JULEP
Traditionally made with bourbon, our take on the mint julep is a bit lighter and slightly effervescent when made with Virginia’s Castle Hill Cider.
In a tall iced tea glass, add torn mint leaves in the bottom and fill three-fourths of the way up with cider. Fill the rest of the glass with champagne/sparkling wine and garnish with fresh mint.
Pair with Marble Brownies
Patrick Evans-Hylton is TASTE’s resident foodie, hosting a number of delicious events throughout the year. The Johnson & Wales-trained chef and wine and cheese expert is an award-winning food journalist, covering tasty trends since 1995 in print, broadcast and electronic media. He is publisher of Virginia Eats + Drinks Magazine; subscribe free at www.VaEatsAndDrinksMag.com