White Blends for Summer Sipping
What kind of wine should you take to share with friends at a summer gathering? Avoid those tiring big reds that warm you in winter and pair so neatly on cold evenings with big meaty stews. Take something crisp, light and refreshing, something that goes with any kind of food. Consider taking something unexpected. There all kinds of amazing and affordable whites available, blends, and grapes you’ve never heard of, from strange and quiet little corners of the world. Ask your wine steward what’s up in the wine world. They are sure to find something for you. I tapped our Team of Wine Stewards to find out what yummy gems and sleepers they suggest. Here you go!
Jack Measley loves swapping recipes and ideas with his customers in the Casacde D&W on28th St. He earned his wine world stripes working wine, beer, and spirits at crazy busy Forest Hills Foods. He is an avid foodie and loves finding “perfect” pairings. He suggests the lovely off-dry Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc Viognier blend to sip on its own or to serve with grilled meaty fish. This wine deserves the 90+ points it receives year after year
Penny Ross holds down the wine fort in the Parkview D&W in Kalamazoo where she acquired the wine bug while running the specialty food department. It was a natural transition for her to take over the wine, beer, and liquor nearly 15years ago. Penny’s idea of a vacation is a trip to Chicago’s fabulous Specialty Food and Wine Trade Show. The Sokol Blosser Evolution is a lush and aromatic white blend of nine different grapes, a blend that changes every year depending on the quality of the grape harvest. It is unoaked, but smooth and easy to drink. Chill it and serve it with a summery chicken salad, or with any spicy or oriental food.
Cortney Powell came to Williamston D&W’s from the world of bartending with a wealth of knowledge and passion for wine, beer, and spirits. She has that wonderful bartender’s warm hospitality and welcomes her customers seeking wine recommendations, pairing suggestions, and recipes. She recommends Tenshen Santa Barbara White, a 92 point Rhône-style blend acclaimed by the critics for its depth of stone fruit—apricot and peach—heady honeysuckle aroma and nutty finish, summer sipper to finish off the evening after a hot day.
At the end of a hard day of managing the Wine, Beer, and Liquor Departments at Forest Hills Foods, Wine Steward, Cindy Chambers, who has been in the food and wine biz for the last 30 plus years, likes to unwind with a refreshing sparkling wine cocktail. Her fave right now is a popular Italian cocktail made with LaMarca Prosecco, the popular and affordable sparkling Italian “champagne,” and Apérol, like Campari, a fruity and bitter Italian aperitif. Proportions? 1/3 Aperol to 2/3 Prosecco. Pour 1/3 Aperol over a glass of ice, then 2/3 Prosecco, then top with just a splash of soda water and garnish with a slice of orange.
Scott Campbell is our Steward Team point man for beer. But that doesn’t distract him from his long time commitment to the wine and the culture of food and wine. Scott came to D&W from the Grand Rapids restaurant world where he worked for many years as a food and beverage manager. He served a stint in wine distribution and as someone who has been with the D&W tam for over 15 years; he could be called the elder statesman of the Team. For those who don’t want to venture far out of familiar territory, he suggests the tried and very, very true Geyser Peak Sauvignon Blanc. It is crisp and clean, but with moderate acidity and plenty of citrusy fresh fruit and a pleasant aroma of fresh cut grass. This has been our #1 selling domestic Sauvignon Blanc for the last 20 years. Good with summer picnic fare, grilled fish or munchies.
Having once owned and managed his own wine shop in Saugutuck MI, Tom McCarthy, was more than prepared to take on the large wine department in the Holland D&W. His knowledge of the business as well as of the wine, beer, and spirits helps us all. He is particularly passionate about the delicious wines of small old world vineyards in France, Spain, Italy and Germany. His take along gem is a perfect example. An super easy to drink white with a long complicated name Colli dei Tigli Bianco del Veneto, from the region of Venice, “very much like Soave in Style, Garganega main grape I believe, crisp, refreshing with a touch of almond, great as a porch pounder or with salads or lighter fare,” says Tom.
George Walker in Grand Haven’s D&W, the newest member of our Steward Team, brings loads of passion and knowledge to his customers. After his studies at the Culinary Institute of Michigan, he passed his first level Sommelier as well as his Cicerone (beer expert) exam. He got his wine feet wet working at a working vineyard and then for a local wine distributor. George is wild about the well-priced Pike Road Pinot Gris from Willamette Valley in Oregon. He loves its medium body and crisp apple and tropical fruit flavors. He has the Grand Haven customers clamoring for it.
David Mulder Wine Steward at S. Washington Family Fare in Holland jumped right in when he joined our team and found the perfect outlet for his passion for food and drink and his professional experience in hospitality. He loves this little easy drinking, delicious, fresh, crisp and fruity little Sauvignon Blanc/Viognier blend from Southern France, Little James Basket Press Blanc. Chill and serve it with chilled cubes of cantaloupe wrapped in prosciutto and a handful of fruity oil cured black olives.
Pam Koeze, has been at D&W for 15 years after a stint on the distributor side, and has always been a foodie and a caterer. She was in charge of several D&W wine departments before she came to open and run the wine, beer, and liquor department at the Knapp Crossing D&W on the Beltline. Pam and her husband are wine adventurers and have taken several trips to Italy. Trip before last, they went to Portugal where they visited the Warres Port house as well as the Famega winery where our popular Vino Verde is made. Pam recommends that wine as a take along bottle—on second thought, take 2 bottles, as it goes down easy. Famega Vinho Verde is light, crisp, low alcohol, and slightly effervescent. You can cocktail by pouring it over ice and adding a wedge of lime.
Former restauranteur and chef, Gaslight Village D&W Steward Bob Goehring, is an incredible asset to our team for his years of experience, his knowledge and, his rich sense of humor, and, of course, the amazing meals he cooks for the group so we can sample wines we are choosing for our customers. Bob takes along a bottle of Domaine St. Lannes from Gascony in the Southwest of France, a blend of Colombard and Gros Manseng grapes, all sustainably farmed. The tropical fruit, peach, and citrus flavors and hint of mineral make it a great surprise for $10. I’d sip it all day long, right through a dinner of charcoal grilled scallops and vegetables. It has become a top seller in all our stores, even though people can’t pronounce it. Say Saint Lehn. That will do just fine.
Holly Cousineau, new Wine Steward in Fenton VGs, suggests Michigan’s own Bowers Harbor Cooper, a medium-sweet white blend, wonderful to chill and serve with a light lunch of cheese and fruit. D&W has a long standing relationship with our colleagues at Bowers Harbor and recommend that you get up to Old Mission Peninsula for a visit to see what a working Winery is like. The setting is beautiful and the vineyard is dog friendly outside…to well-behaved canines!
And here is my little white secret: Terracos do Tejo White from Portugal, a fresh and delicious guzzling summer white, or in the words of the Steward Team, a “patio pounder.” It is fresh and fruity, with a hint of minerals, perfect for grilled fish, salads, or a charcuterie platter.
About Roz: During her distinguished career, Roz has served a term as the Retail Representative on the MDA's Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council and Continues to serve on their Promotion & Education and Competition Committees. In addition, she has served as a judge in various national and international wine competitions.
Working with D&W's wine stewards and SpartanNash's vendor partners, Roz tirelessly explores the vast world of wine, discovering the finest wines for every budget and every taste. And she loves to discuss food and wine with customers and colleagues. As a lifelong foodie, there is nothing else she'd rather be doing.