Note from the Artist: Wine and food are opportunities for pleasure and sharing. But wine can often be seen as daunting, making pairing it with food feel difficult. I draw illustrations about wine to express the fun and love for the experience that can also be found. In this series, I want to share a quick insight into wines that are great for the season and the foods they love to spend time with. Enjoy!
Summer's warmer temperatures are a great time to enjoy a wine with lighter body, fresh flavors, and lots of juiciness that makes your mouth water. In other words, a perfect wine to go with summer snacks. Albariño is often made without any aging in oak, and it tends to have tons of great acidity. The combination means it's flexible with food. The long zippy finish and playful nature of Albariño make it a natural flirt, happy to sidle up alongside a wide range of dishes.
The juiciness of the wine lends itself to cooling down the spiciness of Thai and Indian fare. Albariño's lighter weight and flavors complement shellfish and grilled fish. Its freshness accents fresh garden produce beautifully. Enjoy it with fresh sliced watermelon—my favorite!
There has been a new rush of Albariño from California in recent years, with nice wines coming out of Napa Valley, and the Lodi AVAs offering good quality fruit. This wine also has strong roots in Portugal (they call it Alvarinho.) Its most affordable center of quality comes from its home, Spain. Look for Rías Baixas for a whole lot of yum.
Producers to seek out: From Rias Baixas, Spain: Do Ferreiro. From Clement Hills in Lodi, California: Bokisch Vineyards Terra Alta Vineyard and Odisea Dream Terra Alta Vineyard. The Terra Alta Vineyard is farmed organically. For a harder-to-find treat look for Kongsgaard (Napa Valley, California).
About the Artist: Hawk Wakawaka is a wine drawing philosopher with a heart of gold. She also writes the website Hawk Wakawaka Wine Reviews.