NEW YORK – Food and wine, like fashion, are seasonal – there are different weights, textures and layers to suit the climate. Now that summer is officially here, long, bright, warm days are best enjoyed in lightweight, airy clothes; and are similarly best paired with chilled whites, versatile rosés and juicy reds in your glass. By the way, it’s not only pink and white wine that can be cooling. Reds, especially lighter weight ones, can show wonderfully with a chill on them. It makes them all the more refreshing when the air is heavy with heat.
Summertime also calls for versatility in wine selection. There are wines for picnics and beach vacations; wines for lunch by a pool, and for dinners by the barbecue. All of it best enjoyed with friends and family, usually en plein air. This sort of variety requires a healthy mix of options, so after careful consideration, we curated the perfect summer case from Sotheby’s Wine to cover all of your warm-weather drinking needs.
SOTHEBY'S WINE SUMMER CASE SELECTIONS. PHOTO: JULIAN CASSADY.
Clos de Lunes: Lune d’Argent 2015 ($19.95)
Olivier Bernard’s Domaine de Chevalier in the Pessac-Leognan region of Bordeaux is renowned as one of the best châteaux in the region, but is unique in that its white wine has historically drawn the most attention. A wonderful blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, their white is unlike any other Sauvignon Blanc in the world. Bernard and his Domaine de Chevalier team also manage the Clos des Lunes vineyards, located in the heart of Sauternes, but instead of producing the quintessential sweet wines of Sauternes from old vine Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc, they are in search of brilliant, dry whites. This is a terrific example of their mastery of white grape varieties, producing a wine both citrusy and lip-smacking, and also deeply scented and textured.
J-P & Benoit Droin: Chablis 2014 ($24.95)
Chablis legally belongs to the greater region of Burgundy, but often is compared more closely with Champagne, since the two regions sit atop similar chalky soil that lifts the Chardonnay grape to do marvellous things. Jean-Paul and Benoit Droins form a father-and-son team and can trace their winemaking family history back to the 17th century. They invariably stay true to their traditional roots and produce wines of great transparency that reflect the stony, lemon-lime characteristics of classic Chablis. One of our favourites.
Groth: Chardonnay 2014 ($29.95)
Family owned and operated since its 1981 inception in the heart of Oakville in the Napa Valley, Groth has been a consistent name on the quality list of Napa’s greats. We love this Chardonnay for its restraint – they’re not trying to do too much. There’s creaminess and a toasty note, but all is underpinned by crystalline balance and bright freshness. A terrific Napa value.
Héretiers du Comte Lafon: Mâcon-Chardonnay, Clos de la Crochette 2015 ($34.95)
The Mâconnais at the southern reaches of Burgundy was historically recognised as the territory of industrially farmed, commercial wines. Dominique Lafon, one of France’s white wine masters based in Meursault, was among the first of the great winemakers to take in interest in the region, purchasing vineyards and converting them to complete organic and biodynamic farming. As the vines have aged the wines continue to develop increased nuance and depth. “Clos de la Crochette” has consistently been one of Dominique’s Mâcon cuvées of terrific quality, with the ability to age. 100% Chardonnay.
HÉRETIERS DU COMTE LAFON: MÂCON-CHARDONNAY, CLOS DE LA CROCHETTE 2015 ($34.95).CHÂTEAU D'ESCLANS: ROCK ANGEL 2016 ($32.95). ANDRÉ DEZAT: SANCERRE ROSÉ 2016 ($22.95). DOMAINE OTT: CHÂTEAU DE SELLE 2015 ($49.95). J-P & BENOIT DROIN: CHABLIS 2014 ($24.95). GROTH: CHARDONNAY 2014 ($29.95). PHOTO: JULIAN CASSADY.
Jean-Noel Gagnard: Chassagne Montrachet, Champ Derriere 2013 ($49.95)
Caroline Lestimé knows what she’s doing with the Chardonnay growing on her vines. We are drawn to the reliable minerality and concentration in her wines. From legendary vineyard sites, Caroline’s wines can be so charming and utterly drinkable when young, but their dimension and richness also allow for great capacity for ageing.
Champs Libres 2014 ($74.95)
Produced by the Guinaudeau Family of Pomerol’s famed Château Lafleur, Champs Libres was created out of their desire to produce a great wine. Made from 100% Sauvignon Blanc from vines brought in from Sancerre in the Loire Valley, 2013 was the first vintage of the wine, and it is already a complex, long and fine wine, with excellent definition and purity. A serious Sauvignon Blanc, but a fun wine.
André Dezat: Sancerre Rosé 2016 ($22.95)
The world knows most Sancerre is white wine made from Sauvignon Blanc, but there is a small tradition of wonderful Sancerre reds and rosés produced from 100% Loire Valley Pinot Noir. Dezat’s rosé is a summer classic that we wait for all year. In the glass the wine is a gentle pink, mandarin colour, with a bone-dry, focused, fresh, strawberry charm on the palate.
PETIT FIGEAC 2012 ($44.95). JEAN-NOEL GAGNARD: CHASSAGNE MONTRACHET, CHAMP DERRIERE 2013 ($49.95). CLOS DE LUNES: LUNE D'ARGENT 2015 ($19.95). PHOTO: JULIAN CASSADY.
Château d’Esclans: Rock Angel 2016 ($32.95)
Sacha Lichine is a man dedicated to rosé, and he created his Provençal estate, Château d’Esclans, to follow the dream of only producing the world’s finest rosés. He’s probably best known for his “Whispering Angel,” but in his pursuit of the perfect rosé, Lichine produces a range of pinks in varying styles. The next step up in quality across the range is this Rock Angel, made primarily from Grenache. The wine is extremely well made, very pure and balanced, with a great deal of complexity. It’s an elegant rosé, and a joy to drink.
Domaine Ott: Château de Selle 2015 ($49.95)
The Côte d’Azur classic that needs no introduction! Ott’s de Selle is so well crafted, and with great structure, that a bit of time in bottle does a wine body good. The Grenache and Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend add luxurious texture and roundness to the finish. Believe the hype, it is delicious and is a wonderful food wine.
Passopisciaro: Scinniri, Etna Rosso 2014 ($19.95)
Wines of great personality always seem to be the products of major human personalities. Andrea Franchetti and his wines are no exception. The Passopisciaro vineyards are high on the slopes of Mt. Etna in harsh growing conditions. At high altitudes, the weather is quite unpredictable and quite cool, even in the summer. The native red grape variety Nerello Mascalese produces highly aromatic wines, with high-toned berry notes, not dissimilar to Pinot Noir in Burgundy. The wines are juicy and friendly. In the hands of Franchetti the wine takes on added elements, darker and fuller. The addition of some non-native grape varieties, like Petit Verdot in the case of this Scinniri, give the wine some added heft and weight. Ideal for anything off the grill.
CHAMPS LIBRES 2014 ($74.95). PASSOPISCIARO: SCINNIRI, ETNA ROSSO 2014 ($19.95). MICHEL GROS: BOURGOGNE ROUGE 2014 ($26.95). PHOTO: JULIAN CASSADY.
Michel Gros: Bourgogne Rouge 2014 ($26.95)
Michel Gros makes wines that are pure, precise and pretty. The intoxicating, alluring elements of Pinot Noir are laid bare in his hands. At the entry point of his range, Bourgogne Rouge is a terrific way to acquaint yourself with his particular touch. Not a heavyweight wine at all, this can be enjoyed on its own (slightly chilled, of course) or with lighter fare. The scents are of warm wild strawberry, and that flavour and freshness carries through on the palate.
Petit Figeac 2012 ($44.95)
The second wine of Château Figeac in Bordeaux’s St Emilion. This is a lighter, juicier, more immediately accessible rendition of the estate’s top wine, making it ideal for this summer. Primarily Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend with the rest made up of Merlot, Petit Figeac is classic, elegant and savoury. A delicious mouthful.
The summer case and all the wines in it are available for immediate purchase at Sotheby’s Wine retail shop. For more information, visit sothebys.com/wine or call +1 212 894 1990.