Posted by: Dallas Lawrence | June 2, 2010

The Perfect Budget Summer Trifecta (plus free shipping)!

Ever find yourself starring into the abyss at your local wine retailer, hopelessly confused as to how best pair wines for your summer evening? It’s warm outside, and you know you want a light, crisp wine but so many people these days have turned against the mainstay California chardonnays and budget Italian whites you’re not sure what to get for your guests. You know the juicy flavor-filled meats you just picked up to toss on the grill cry out for a glass of red – not a cab or a hefty zinfandel, but something lighter with enough character to compliment the meal.  Lastly, and perhaps most difficult of all, what do you grab to pair with your dessert of fresh picked berries and shortcake to ensure the continuation of the evening imbibing well into the night?

Stop gazing endlessly down the wine isle. Put back the mix-matched collection of wine you placed into your cart and keep reading – I have the perfect summer trifecta for your next gathering.

The folks from Oregon winemaker R. Stuart & Co sent along three bottles of their latest vintages earlier this week for the Cork Scrooge to review, and I thought our Memorial Day family BBQ the perfect setting to crack open each unique varietal they shipped.  I was impressed with each and whether purchased together for a meal or separately for individual enjoyment, the value and quality of these locally handcrafted wines is to be assured.

The 2009 Big Fire Oregon Pinot Gris was the first bottle to fill our wine glasses on the hot DC summer afternoon. It was approaching 92 degrees outside and I served the wine extremely chilled, direct from the ice bucket into the awaiting glasses I I cant stand lukewarm whites).  The vibrant pear flavors paired perfectly with our cheese and fruit appetizer spread.  Somewhere between a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and a French White Bordeaux would you find this refreshing, steel barrel fermented (no oak thank god) organic white wine perfect for just about any white drinker. Regardless of where you fall along the panoply of white wine connoisseurs, you will enjoy the Big Fire Oregon Pinot Gris.

As my father-in-law completed his barbequing mastery and laid out a feast of pork loin and Italian sausages, we shifted gears to the Big Fire 2008 Oregon Pinot Noir.  Given the summer heat, I chilled the wine in the refrigerator for 15 minutes before serving it with our meal (remember “room temperature” is not meant to be 90 degrees!)  The Big Fire Pinot Noir is a light, crisp pinot with delicious accents of dark cherry and chocolate that coalesce into a perfectly delicious summer red. Of the three, this was clearly the family favorite.

As we finished dinner and prepared to bring out a dessert of fresh strawberries and shortcake, I hesitated to bring out the third and final bottle the good folks at R Stuart had sent along for tasting. So far I had served two nice bottles and everyone seemed happy. Why risk oenophile ruin by serving a third oddly colored wine I had never tasted before I thought to myself?

Well, the wine glasses were empty, the desserts were served and the natives were getting restless so I pulled the 2008 Big Fire Oregon Dry Rose out from the refrigerator and filled the glasses around the table.  “Was this a rose?” they asked, surprised at the light and refreshingly fruit filled pink wine flowing from their glasses.  To be clear, the 2008 is not your grandmother’s bland rose. The winemaker’s at R Stuart blend Pinot noir, Syrah and Pinot gris to make this interesting pink blend that served as a perfect pairing to an equally light and refreshing summer dessert.

These three great wines, a Pinot gris, Pinot noir and a Rose are all on sale now and available online ( . The folks at R Stuart are even offering free shipping for Cork Scrooge readers that pick up 3 bottles or more. Be sure to use “thecorkscrooge” as the coupon code to have shipping waived for the next two weeks.


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