Our Favorite Wines and How to Speed-Chill Them
We asked our friend David Skurnik of Skurnik Wines, who imports wines to top restaurants from around the world, to tell us what wines he’s been drinking. Here are his top wine picks along with a nifty trick for chilling sparkling or white wine in under 10 minutes.
New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc
Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand tends to have a light, refreshing flavor, sometimes even a little tang, which pairs well with summery dishes like ceviche and grilled fish (especially when served a little extra chilled). It also goes well with spicy Thai noodles on those nights when you just want to blast the AC and order takeout.
David’s Pick: MOUNT RILEY, Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2015, New Zealand
Tasting Notes: Mouthwatering and crisp with notes of passionfruit, grapefruit, and a hint of gooseberry
The Austrian white grape called Grüner Veltliner (or just Gruner for short) may not be a household name, but it probably should be. The terroir of Austria gives this white wine minerality, which balances nicely with the zesty crispness of the Grüner grape. Grüner has acid to cut through wonderfully greasy fried chicken and grilled corn at your summer picnics. For a healthier option, pair a glass with a watermelon, arugula, feta salad.
David’s Pick: GOBELSBURG, Grüner Veltliner “Schlosskellerei”, Austria
Tasting Notes: Crisp apple on the palate with notes of white pepper
Champagne doesn’t only have to be a special occasion wine. The delicious bubbly can be consumed all year long, and it’s especially enjoyable on a warm summer day. Most Champagne (like that yellow-label-that-must-not-be-named) is made in a large facility devoid of heart or soul that blends a motley of grapes from many vineyards. Grower Champagne, on the other hand, is made by people who pour their lives into their vineyards, thus capturing the terroir of those vineyards into the bottles themselves.
When shopping for Grower Champagne, also known as “Farmer Fizz,” look for a tiny “RM” on the label (RM stands for récoltant manipulant). This isn’t the cheapest wine out there (champagne will always cost a bit more) but if you’re going to spend the money, gulp down some Farmer Fizz and get the best bang for your champagne buck.
David’s Pick: GASTON CHIQUET, Champagne Brut “Tradition” NV, France
Tasting Notes: Green apple, pear, brioche, and a touch of lemon rind
American Sparkling Wine
Of course, you don’t have to spend more to enjoy awesome sparkling wine. There are many great sparkling wines made right here in the USA, and typically at a great value price. Pop a bottle with a grilled chicken sandwich, mix it in a cocktail, or just enjoy a glass poolside!
David’s Pick: GRUET, Blanc de Blancs NV, New Mexico, USA
Tasting Notes: High-toned with a sleek, chalky minerality and a dry, fresh finish
Quick Trick: How to Speed-Chill Wine
1. Place bottle in ice bucket.
2. Add ice, a handful or two of salt, and cold water. Why salt? As you may remember from science class, salt causes temperatures to drop. It lowers the temperature of the water, therefore making the water colder and slowing down the melting rate of the ice. (Remember that elementary school experiment where you made ice cream in a ziploc bag? And you shook the milk and sugar in one bag inside another bag with salt and ice? Same science trick applies here.)
3. Wait for about 10 minutes for the salty ice water mixture chill the bottle. Cheers to never serving a warm glass of wine again!