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Fontanafredda, Barolo DOCG (Piedmont, Italy) Serralunga d’Alba 2013 ($39, Palm Bay International)
 Year in and year out, Fontanafredda’s Serralunga d’Alba Barolo is a superb value among Barolos.  The Fontanafredda estate was established in 1858 and is the largest in the Barolo appellation with over 210 acres of vineyard.  The wine reflects the pure fruit and vivid character of its origins.  The 2013 Serralunga d’Alba Barolo is an appealing and complex red.  While it shows the elegance of the 2013 harvest and the sleek spiciness of French oak, the greatness of the Nebbiolo grape takes center stage.  Layers of juicy cherry, raspberry and plum fruits are underlain by floral rose hints and elements of leather, sandalwood, smoke and spice.  The beautiful, long finish reveals the inherent delicacy and complexity of the wine.  Delicious now, it can cellar well for another 10 to 15 years. 
94 Wayne Belding


Posted by Robert Whitley on May 28, 2018 at 3:14 PM

Grilling Up a Thirst

Memorial Day officially kicks off the grilling season. I'm thirsty already.   Allow me to explain.

As the grillmeister at my humble abode, I am well-acquainted with the rigors of cooking over hot coals.  The proper way to grill, I have learned over the years, is to place a grilling tool in one hand and a glass of wine in the other.  For perfect steaks, chops, vegetables and fish, this is the correct technique, tried and true.  The best results are attained if the grillmeister remains cool under fire.  This requires a nicely chilled white or rose wine. I prefer something crisp.

My go-to grilling wine for years has been New Zealand sauvignon blanc.  The acidity is so refreshing and the alcohol levels so low that it is eminently quaffable.  Brancott Estate and Kim Crawford are personal favorites.  And there really is a Kim Crawford, though he sold his namesake winery years ago.  It's still a good brand that's reasonably priced, which allows me to stock it in the cellar by the case. I'm also a fan of the Dry Creek Vineyard fume blanc for many of the same reasons.  It's always refreshing, and if you can't find it for less than $15 a bottle, you're not trying very hard.

Lately I've experimented with dry rose, and I've found that my steaks haven't suffered much from the switch, although I'm a little more distracted because I'm fussy about dry rose.  I want them bone-dry with good aromatics and mouthwatering acidity.  One of my favorites at the moment is the Gerard Bertrand Cote de Roses from France's Languedoc region.  It's a little pricey, around $20 a bottle, but worth it.  From closer to home, I'm enjoying the Rodney Strong rose of pinot noir, which also runs close to $20.

So, take it from a grilling veteran:  Before you do anything else to get ready for the summer grilling season, pay a visit to your favorite wine shop.  This is the first rule of grilling.

Dr. Michael
This Issue's Reviews
Will Chinese Wine be as Successful as Chinese Food?
Michael Apstein

At the end of the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles, which was held this year in Beijing, I sat amazed at how extraordinarily efficient and smoothly run this wine competition was: A dedicated sommelier for each panel of judges, perfectly timed pouring, not a drop spilled or a glass broken, a bevy of technical support assistants for the tablets judges used to record their scores, even robots transporting bottled water to be delivered to the judges' tables. I commented about this to the Chinese judge sitting next to me. His response: 'We have a strong central government.' An understatement, to be sure, but it explains why I predict that within a decade China will be producing world class wines. When the Chinese government sets its mind to something, for better or for worse, it gets done. And it appears as though the government is intent on seeing top-notch wine come from its shores.
When New Zealand Wine Comes to Austin: 5 Takeaways from A Two-Day Wine Camp
Jessica Dupuy

Last week New Zealand Winegrowers hosted a veritable wine camp for a little more than a dozen industry buyers and influencers. The two-day event offered a snapshot of some of New Zealand's key topics in the wine industry. As a general overview, the seminar-focused event revealed a few basic stats about New Zealand wine. Namely that the country produces more than 285 million liters of wine from more than 37,000 hectares of vineyards, most of which (about 60%) is planted to Sauvignon Blanc. And while there are stellar Sauvignon Blancs with rich complexity and nuance being produced in this country, it soon became clear that there's quite a bit more to talk about with regard to other varieties.
Wine With
WINE WITH…Patty Melts

The origins of patty melts are somewhat murky, but most sources seem to agree that the genesis of this gastro-treat can be traced back to Southern California in the 1940s or 50s, possibly to Tiny Naylors, a drive-in on the corner of Sunset Boulevard and La Brea. Whatever its true history, if you love a good, juicy hamburger, and if grilled cheese sandwiches are another of your go-to comfort foods, you'll definitely find patty melts delicious. For classic patty melts, certain rules apply. The finished product should never, ever, include condiments such as ketchup, relish, sliced raw onion or mustard. All of these spices and flavors would dilute the lovely, rich essence of the caramelized onions--which are a must. For diners who must have lettuce and tomato with any kind of burger these additions are best served on the side, if at all. A pickle is a permissible, even standard, accompaniment (one of us likes the pickle, the other finds that the brine interferes too much with wine). Many recipes suggest using cheddar or American cheese, but Swiss is the tradition.
On My Table
Great Chardonnay from the Ground Up
Mary Ewing-Mulligan

When I first reviewed a wine from Ten Acre Winery five years ago, I wrote that I plan to keep my eyes on this winery. It's a fairly new operation, founded only in 2008, that specializes in making small-lot Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs from the grapes of respected growers in cool-climate sites in California. Currently, their wines include Pinot Noirs from three growers in Russian River Valley and one in the Sonoma Coast AVA, with production of generally less than 300 cases per wine, as well as a Russian River and a Sonoma Coast Pinot that are not vineyard-specific. Ten Acre Winery's Chardonnay production is similarly limited; it features two grower-specific Russian River Valley Chardonnays, one Sonoma Coast Chardonnay and a Santa Lucia Highlands (the wine that so impressed me five years ago), as well as a blended-source Russian River Valley Chardonnay.