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Wines For Summer Solstice

Posted: 06/21/2013 12:03 pm

June 21 is the official start of summer -- summer solstice -- and also the longest day of the year. My grandfather used to joke that the days would be getting shorter now. I don't mind that as long as I have some terrific wines to toast summer evenings. Here are 10 to try.

Rosewood Estates Sémillon
V.Q.A., Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario

This single-vineyard, 100% Semillon is very pleasant with lovely notes of white peach and apricot. Soft acidity and medium-bodied. It's an amazingly lovely aperitif. Try it with seafood. Drink: 2013-2015. 177758 12.50% XD 750 mL $17.95 Score: 88/100.

Tramin Pinot Grigio
Südtirol-Alto Adige, Italy

Terrific refreshment! Limes, chives and lemon lift on the nose and palate. Great aperitif or food companion to many dishes. Clean and crisp right through to the finish. I can see a sunny patio now with this wine. Pair with: avocado and papaya salad, basil pesto, a salad featuring chopped apple and oranges. Drink: 2012-2015. 627059 13.50% XD 750 mL $16.95 Score: 88/100.

Famiglia Bianchi Chardonnay
Mendoza, Argentina

Lovely, especially for the price! Rich and round with green apple aromas and a toasty goodness. The grapes for this chardonnay were handpicked and then the wine was barrel-fermented for extra creaminess and texture. There's some golden lemon notes on the finish. Leaves you longing for more. Pair with: broccoli mornay, cheese fondue, planked salmon, sea bass in a cream sauce, turkey, vegetable stir-fry. Drink: 2013-2015. 1461 14.50% XD 750 mL $14.95 Score: 89/100.

Sebastiani Vineyards Chardonnay
Sonoma County, California,

A terrific Californian chardonnay with vibrant notes of green apple, butter and toasted almond. It's full-bodied, but not heavy. Here's your layered liquid sunshine in a bottle with finishes with a toffeed, butterscotch kiss. Perfect for games night. Pair with: basil pesto, prawn bisque, turkey. Drink: 2012-2015. 30791 13.50% D 750 mL $19.95 Score: 89/100.

Sileni Estates Pinot Gris
Hawkes Bay, North Island, New Zealand

Refreshing and crisp with white peach and green apple notes. Love the zesty goodness throughout this medium-bodied wine. The style of this wine makes it very versatile with a wide range of dishes and palates: great for your next party. Pair with: avocado and papaya salad, basil pesto, frittata, radicchio. Drink: 2013-2015. 32292 12.50% XD 750 mL $17.95 Score: 89/100.

L.A. Cetto Petite Sirah
Guadalupe Valley, Baja California, Mexico:

One of the best values year after year when you want straight-up black fruit pleasure. Trimmed with oak, but not too much.... But hey you're seriously not analyzing this at $11.95? Thought so. Fire up the grill. Pair with: spicy black bean dishes, grilled steaks. Drink: 2013-2015. 983742 14% XD 750 mL $11.95 Score: 87/100.

Goats do Roam The Goatfather
Coastal Region, South Africa

Juicy purple and black plum aromas with dark spice. Full-bodied, but not heavy. This wine is a non-traditional blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, Barbera and Nebbiolo grapes. Some terrific notes of cherry and blackberry on the finish. I love this producer's sense of humour as evident by the name of this wine and others. Pair with: meat lovers' pizza, chicken wings, grilled burgers, sausages. Drink: 2012-2015. 11072 14.60% D 750 mL $14.95 Score: 88/100.

Bonterra Zinfandel
Mendocino, Amador, Lake Counties, California

This organic wine is juicy and mouth-watering and full-bodied. Mocha, dark chocolate and black fleshy plum flavours. This is an amazing barbecue wine that will dance with hamburgers, steak and your tastebuds. Slather on the fixins and top up of your glass! Pair with: lamb shanks, chicken, pizza, barbecued spareribs, rustic Italian dishes, hearty stews. Drink: 2012-2015. 530139 14.50% XD 750 mL $19.95 Score: 89/100.

Cathedral Cellar Shiraz
Western Cape, South Africa

Terrific red for the money! Robust, juicy and savoury with attractive black plum aromas and flavours. Some grip on the palate is satisfying with steak. Decant 1 hour. Pair with: steak. Drink: 2013-2015. 561142 14.30% XD 750 mL $15.95 Score: 89/100.

3 Rings Shiraz
Barossa Valley, South Australia

Juicy and generous with flavours that keep on coming in layered pleasure. Bring on the plums, cue the blackberries! Full-bodied weight, yet this wine is also balanced and complex. It's priced very well for this quality. I'd drink it with a pepper steak. Top me up! Pair with: char-grilled beef, blackened chicken, black bean soup, blue cheese, peppercorn steak. Drink: 2012-2016. 15495 14.50% D 750 mL $19.95 Score: 90/100.

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  • A reveller greets the sun as it rises above Stonehenge on the day of the Summer Solstice June 21, 2003 in Wiltshire, England. More than 30,000 people danced as they greeted the sunrise on summer?s longest day at Stonehenge. Scholars believe the ring of 20-ton stones was built between 3,000 and 1,600 BC as a sacred temple.

  • The moon is seen on a rocky crest filled with astronomical markers at the megalithic observatory of Kokino, soon after sunrise, early on June 21, 2009 -- the day of the summer solstice. The ancient astronomic observatory, about 80 kms northeast of Skopje, is more than 4.000 years old. Kokino includes special stone markers used to track the movement of Sun and Moon on the eastern horizon.

  • A Solstice participant makes his way to Stonehenge on December 22, 2006 in Salisbury, England. Hundreds of people attended the Winter Solstice at Stonehenge, the cause for a pagan celebration, held on the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere.

  • Participants take part in a mass yoga class to mark the summer solstice on Times Square in New York, June 20, 2012. Thousands of yogis gathered on Times Square to celebrate the longest day of the year during the event which features four free mass yoga session at the heart of Manhattan.

  • Participants take part in a mass yoga class to mark the summer solstice on Times Square in New York, June 20, 2012. Thousands of yogis gathered on Times Square to celebrate the longest day of the year during the event which features four free mass yoga session at the heart of Manhattan.

  • The sun rises from a rocky crest filled with astronomical stone markers at the ancient megalithic observatory of Kokino, soon after sunrise, early morning on June 21, 2012 - the day of the Summer solstice. The ancient astronomic observatory, located about 100 km northeast of Skopje, the capital of the Republic of Macedonia, dates more than 4.000 years back in time. It is ranked by NASA as the fourth ancient observatory in the world.

  • A group of people look at the horizon standing on the rocky crest filled with astronomical markers at the megalithic observatory Kokino, soon after sunrise, early morning on June 21, 2012 - the day of the Summer solstice. The ancient astronomic observatory, located about 100 km northeast of Skopje, the capital of the Republic of Macedonia, dates more than 4.000 years back in time. It is ranked by NASA as the fourth ancient observatory in the world.

  • Boys shoot flaming arrows during celebrations for Ivan Kupala, the feast of St John the Baptist, a traditional Slavic orthodox holiday celebrating the summer solstice, 270 kilometers south from Minsk in Turov early on July 7, 2010.

  • Girls jump over a fire during celebrations for Ivan Kupala, the feast of St John the Baptist, a traditional Slavic orthodox holiday celebrating the summer solstice, 270 kilometers south from Minsk in Turov early on July 7, 2010.

  • A Belarussian in traditional clothing jumps over a fire while celebrating Ivan Kupala Night, a traditional Slavic holiday, marking midsummer, outside the town of Dobrush on June 24, 2010. During the celebration, originating in pagan times, people plait wreaths, jump over fires, and swim.

  • A group of people stand on the rocky crest filled with astronomical markers at the megalithic observatory Kokino, soon after sunrise, early morning on June 21, 2011 - the day of the Summer solstice. The ancient astronomic observatory, located about 100 km northeast of Skopje, the capital of the Republic of Macedonia, dates more than 4.000 years back in time. It is ranked by the NASA as the fourth ancient observatory in the world.

  • Elliott, 12, jumps of the Banksy 'Stonehenge' installation near to the stone circle at Worthy Farm, Pilton near Glastonbury, on June 20 2007 in Somerset, England. The festival, that was started by dairy farmer Michael Eavis in 1970, has grown into the largest music festival in Europe. This year's festival is the biggest yet and will have headline acts including The Who, The Artic Monkeys and The Killers.

  • A man jumps in the air from the top of one of the stones to celebrate the midsummer sun as it rises over the megalithic monument of Stonehenge on June 21, 2005 on Salisbury Plain, England. Crowds gathered at the ancient stone circle to celebrate the Summer Solstice; the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere.

  • A man climbs onto the stones as the sun rises on the Summer Solstice at Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England, 21 June, 2005. Stonehenge is probably one of the most recognisable monuments in the world. The 5000 year old monument became a World Heritage Site in 1986 and despite years of research and study the reason behind the construction of Stonehenge remains a mystery.

  • People watch the midsummer sun as it rises over the megalithic monument of Stonehenge on June 21, 2005 on Salisbury Plain, England. Crowds gathered at the ancient stone circle to celebrate the Summer Solstice; the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere.

  • A bubble floats past as revellers watch as the midsummer sun rises just after dawn over the megalithic monument of Stonehenge on June 21, 2010 on Salisbury Plain, England. Thousands of revellers gathered at the 5,000 year old stone circle to see the sunrise on the Summer Solstice, which is the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere.

  • Bubbles float past as revellers watch as the midsummer sun rises just after dawn over the megalithic monument of Stonehenge on June 21, 2010 on Salisbury Plain, England. Thousands of revellers gathered at the 5,000 year old stone circle to see the sunrise on the Summer Solstice, which is the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere.

  • Bubbles float past as revellers watch as the midsummer sun rises just after dawn over the megalithic monument of Stonehenge on June 21, 2010 on Salisbury Plain, England. Thousands of revellers gathered at the 5,000 year old stone circle to see the sunrise on the Summer Solstice, which is the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere.

  • A group of people look at the horizon standing on the rocky crest filled with astronomical markers at the megalithic observatory Kokino, soon after sunrise, early morning on June 21, 2012 - the day of the Summer solstice. The ancient astronomic observatory, located about 100 km northeast of Skopje, the capital of the Republic of Macedonia, dates more than 4.000 years back in time. It is ranked by NASA as the fourth ancient observatory in the world.

  • Gleu Sunpooja stands in front of Stonehenge as solstice revellers celebrate the arrival of the midsummer sunrise at the megalithic monument on June 21, 2012 near Salisbury, England. Cloudy skies and a Met Office weather warning for heavy rain meant the numbers of revellers who annually gather at the 5,000 year old stone circle to see the sunrise on the Summer Solstice was down on previous years. The solstice sunrise marks the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere.

  • A reveller greets the sun as it rises above Stonehenge on the day of the Summer Solstice June 21, 2003 in Wiltshire, England. More than 30,000 people danced as they greeted the sunrise on summer's longest day at Stonehenge. Scholars believe the ring of 20-ton stones was built between 3,000 and 1,600 BC as a sacred temple.

  • Solstice revellers celebrate the arrival of the midsummer dawn at the megalithic monument of Stonehenge on June 21, 2012 near Salisbury, England. Cloudy skies and a Met Office weather warning for heavy rain meant the numbers of revellers who annually gather at the 5,000 year old stone circle to see the sunrise on the Summer Solstice was down on previous years. The solstice sunrise marks the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere.

  • Solstice revellers celebrate the arrival of the midsummer sunrise at the megalithic monument of Stonehenge on June 21, 2012 near Salisbury, England. Cloudy skies and a Met Office weather warning for heavy rain meant the numbers of revellers who annually gather at the 5,000 year old stone circle to see the sunrise on the Summer Solstice was down on previous years. The solstice sunrise marks the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere.

  • People gather around the Ancestor monument as revellers celebrate the arrival of the midsummer dawn at the megalithic monument of Stonehenge on June 21, 2012 near Salisbury, England. Cloudy skies and a Met Office weather warning for heavy rain meant the numbers of revellers who annually gather at the 5,000 year old stone circle to see the sunrise on the Summer Solstice was down on previous years. The solstice sunrise marks the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere.

  • Revellers celebrate the pagan festival of 'Summer Solstice' at Stonehenge in Wiltshire in southern England, on June 21, 2010. The festival, which dates back thousands of years, celebrates the longest day of the year when the sun is at its maximum elevation. Modern druids and people gather at the landmark Stonehenge every year to see the sun rise on the first morning of summer.

  • The sun rises behind Stonehenge as revellers celebrate the pagan festival of 'Summer Solstice' in Wiltshire in southern England, on June 21, 2010. The festival, which dates back thousands of years, celebrates the longest day of the year when the sun is at its maximum elevation. Modern druids and people gather at the landmark Stonehenge every year to see the sun rise on the first morning of summer.

  • People practice yoga on a rocky crest filled with astronomical markers at the megalithic observatory of Kokino, soon after sunrise, early on June 21, 2009 -- the day of the summer solstice. The ancient astronomic observatory, about 80 kms northeast of Skopje, is more than 4.000 years old. Kokino includes special stone markers used to track the movement of Sun and Moon on the eastern horizon.

  • A picture taken on June 21, 2007 shows the stone circle of Stonehenge at sunrise during the pagan festival, Summer Solstice, in Avebury, Wiltshire. Archeologists have started excavating on Stonehenge on Monday March 31, 2008 hoping to explain the mystery of the alignment of the five thousand years old stones. These latest excavations are the first ones in 44 years and they aim at dating precisely 'the double circle of blue stones'.

  • The sun attempts to break through heavy clouds on the summer solstice at Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England, 21 June, 2006. Stonehenge, a 5,000-year-old monument, became a World Heritage Site in 1986 and despite years of research and study the reason behind the construction of Stonehenge remains a mystery.

  • A man stands on one of the stones as he celebrates the midsummer sun as it rises over the megalithic monument of Stonehenge on June 21, 2005 on Salisbury Plain, England. Crowds gathered at the ancient stone circle to celebrate the Summer Solstice; the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere.

  • The midsummer sun rises over the megalithic monument of Stonehenge on June 21, 2004 in Salisbury Plain, England. Thousands of people gathered at the ancient site to witness the Summer Solstice on the longest day of the year in the Northern hemisphere.

 

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