By Laura Jackson

34Words used to describe the best wines for summer and one of Park City’s most sensational seasons are easily interchangeable.
Refreshing. Crisp. Energizing, yet relaxing. Thirst-quenching.
Sparkling. Unforgettable. We asked some local experts to share what they look for in a summer wine, along with their suggestions for going beyond the basics.

Summer Wines Demystified

With a grand opening just this past March, Stephen Mackay and David Hildreth began Old Town Cellars, bringing the tasting room experience to Park City’s Main Street and offering a retail shop with blends from the top wine growing regions in the United States.

When asked what he looks for in a summer wine, Mackay explains, “I look for refreshing acidity, light body and bright fruit characteristics that pair well with the warmer weather, sun and lighter fare of summer. Champagne and Rosé are always great choices.”

Dennis Romankowski is the owner and vintner at Cognition Winery, a new boutique winery in Park City that offers tastings and tours by appointment.

“Summer wines for me translate into crisp, dry whites such as Chablis, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Soave, dry Rieslings, and my favorite, the Italian white varietal, Pecorino, “ said Romankowski. “These types of fresh, dry whites offer nice acidity on the finish and a refreshing and vibrant ‘quencher’ for hot summer days. It’s a great intro to what could be coming on the grill: salmon, chicken, pork, or shellfish, which segues into other medium to full-bodied whites or light, fruity reds. The strength of the wine should be on par with
the strength of the dish. Many Provencal and Rhone Rosés are gaining in popularity due to their refreshing nature.”

Offering private tasting tours of the Greater Salt Lake Area and Park City, Wendy and Rick Gianchetta, owners of Utah Wine Tours, introduce guests to Utah’s own wineries, breweries and distilleries, as well as to the unique history of alcohol in the Beehive State.

34aGianchetta’s summer wine suggestions: “Something chill-able and light, not oaky, heavy or sweet. So, typically a crisp white wine, dry Rosé, fruit wines or hard ciders (like wine, a fermented fruit). We lovingly refer to these as “Patio Wine” and thus worthy of being enjoyed all by itself on the patio, not necessarily with food. However, we cannot forget a bold red that pairs well with our BBQs.”

Brandon Webster is a portfolio manager with Young’s Market Company, the premier distributor of fine wine and spirits in the western United States. With a company history that dates back to 1888, it’s also one of the oldest family-owned businesses in our country. Webster advises: “I look at summer wines in two ways. Refreshing wines, for drinking on the patio. Or, wines to pair with food, like grilled meats. Refreshing being Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, or a dry Rosé. For grilling things like steak and burgers: Zinfandel, Cabernet and Pinot Noir.”

Beyond the Expected
Here’s what our experts had to say about taking a fresh look at summer wine choices.

MacKay: “In the realm of Rosé, I would say sticking to a traditional lighter style out of Provence in the south of France would be a great way to go. Usually Grenache, Mourvédre,
Syrah and Cinsault because they can show fruit notes of strawberry and wildflowers with some spice. Producers I enjoy are Domaine Ott and Chateau d’Esclans’ Whispering Angel. New World producers Copain, Sinskey and Blackbird Vineyards are also great choices.
Copain out of Sonoma does a Syrah Rosé that is quite lovely. Robert Sinskey has a Vin Gris of Pinot Noir and Blackbird does a Bordeaux blend Rosé as well that has a bit more depth and complexity. Riper berry notes are perfect for grilling outdoors. I also enjoy Gruner Veltliner and German or Austrian Rieslings with summer fare.”

Gianchetta: “If you want something new, you must check out Utah’s own wineries that have some great choices to consider:
» Cognition Winery has an excellent Sauvignon Blanc (or unoaked Chardonnay) for summer enjoyment. Grown in California and groomed in Park City.

» The Hive Winery in Layton has great fruit wines and hard ciders, so consider Strawberry Wine
(you know the song…), Peach Wine, Raspberry Peach Wine. Hard ciders include the basic dry style (a substitute for champagne in your summer mimosa) and some seasonal selections. Seasonally, they enhance the ciders with mint (think mojito) or local raspberries, and they also have Mead (honey wine) with varying degrees of sweetness.

» Layton is also home to a new winery, Dionysian Cellars.
Consider their Grenache or Barbera wines, and for the pairing with your summer BBQ meal, several full-bodied and/or smoky choices include Satry, Seilenos, Syrah, Tempranillo or the bold Petite Verdot.”

Romankowski: “Summer foods for me usually include salads, grilled or barbecued fish, stir-fries, seafood, shellfish and lots of grilled veggies. For these, I prefer crisp, fresh, dry white wines—Chablis (unoaked), Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, and also Chardonnays (and blends). The light and medium-bodied reds also are a great choice for many simply grilled meats. These would include the Beaujolais-Villages, Cotes du Rhones, Tempranillo, Valpolicella, and Burgundian Pinots. Of course, for the robust meats and game, the medium to full-bodied reds are a perfect match. Among the
most popular of these are Cabernet Sauvignon, Chianti, Bordeaux (Left and Right Bank Blends), Shiraz/ Syrah, Rioja and Barbarescos/ Barolos.”

Finding Your New Summer Wine Favorites

35Old Town Cellars 6421 North Business Loop Rd, Suite F
435-640-3206
Stephen Mackay, Co-owner:

“Gruner Veltliner from producers such as Domaine Bernhard Ott and Nikolaihof. Other than those I think our oTc 2014 Mountain Town White is also a fantastic pairing for summer. It’s a blend
of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Viognier and Muscat Canelli. It has body, viscosity and ripe stone fruit notes along with honeysuckle in a Southern Rhone style from Paso Robles, California.”

36Cognition Winery 6421 North Business Loop Rd, Suite F
435-640-3206
Dennis Romankowski, Owner and Vintner:

“My wife Gina and I drink a goodly share of Sauvignon Blanc, unoaked to medium- oaked Chards; Italian whites; light, fruity French reds and I am pushing more for the European Rosés. They refresh immediately and do not cloy taste buds with a lot of oak or tannins.”

36aGrappa Italian Restaurant
151 Main Street
435-645-0636
Star Finegan, General Manager:

“For summer, I drink everything from Rieslings to Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs to Cabernet Sauvignons. There’s something that fits every mood of hot days, breezy nights, concerts and BBQs. My personal go to are white wines because they quench a thirst on a hot summer day and I always seem to reach for a Riesling. I enjoy the slightly sweet versions with 8 to 10% alcohol that are delicate, have a nice mineral- tinged fruitiness and bright acidity that seems to cool me right off. Dr. Loosen makes one of my favorites, their ‘Blue Slate’ Kabinett Riesling.”

36bThe Farm in Canyons Village 4000 Canyons Resort Drive,
435-615-8080
Janice Fine, Senior Manager of Village Dining and Sommelier:

“I am a Rosé fanatic and when Vine Lore turned me onto Lorenza Rosé, I was hooked. A mother/daughter team of Melinda Kearney and Michele Lorena Ouellet produce it and this is their only wine, which is pretty unheard of, especially when it is a Rosé. It’s one of my favorites because they are sourcing fruit from three vineyards over 100 years old and hand picking whole clusters. There’s
a lot of nurturing going into the wine and the delicate minerality that comes through is one of my favorite qualities. The 2014 Vintage is just finishing up in Utah and I can’t wait for the 2015— we’ll be featuring it by the glass this summer at The Farm in Canyons Village.”

Sip at the Silver Star

36cRenowned for great food, ambience, service, and music, the Silver Star Café recently launched two private label wines to complement their menu and celebrate the community.

Co-owners Jeff and Lisa Ward wanted the new wines to benefit the Park City community and keep it “completely local.” A portion of the profits from the wine supports Arts Kids, a nonprofit after-school program that teaches art and creativity.

Partnering with IG Winery in Cedar City, Utah, Silver Star Café selected two handcrafted signature blends with grapes sourced from the finest vineyards on the West Coast. Local artist Stacy Phillips designed the labels.

Silver Star Café | thesilverstarcafe.com
1825 Three Kings Drive, Park City, UT 84060 |  435-644-3456

The Brass Tag
2900 Deer Valley Drive, 435-615-2410

37Atrea Skid Rosé. Produced by Saracina Vineyards, Mendocino County, California. This Rosé is a blend of Malbec and Grenache.
Both varieties are certified organic. There is a hint of watermelon sweetness on the initial palate but the wine finishes dry and crisp.
The wine has lightness in body lending itself to a warm summer evening. Brass Tag favorites to pair with: Fire Roasted Garden Vegetable Gazpacho with fresh Dungeness Crab, Haricot Vert and Fennel. Equally as nice, the Brick
Oven Shrimp Skillet with a Saffron Roasted Red Pepper Sauce.
Royal Street Café 7600 Royal Street
435-645-6724

Eroica Riesling, Columbia Valley, Washington. Produced by Chateau Ste Michelle and Dr. Loosen Estate of Mosel, Germany. The distinct sweetness of Riesling fruit is balanced by crisp acidity in this wine. Medium-bodied with lychee and green citrus flavors that flow easily together make this wine an easy pair for a range of cuisines from Asian dishes to delicate seafood. Royal Street Cafe favorites to pair with: Asian Grilled Chicken Salad or our always-popular Tuna Tacos.

State Road Tavern 970 UT 32, Kamas
435-783-3530

Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley: clean and slate driven with tart citrus (grapefruit) notes and very refreshing. Obviously a solid matchup for grilled fish and poultry. Another very different representation: any Sauvignon Blanc from the Sancerre Region of France (Loire Valley)— the French counterpart to the new world SB’s…Aromatic with grassy and golden hay characteristics. Amazing with seafood and especially oysters, and even more specifically, the Belon which are sourced slightly to the north in Brittany.

37aYoung’s Market Company 2180 S 1300 E, Suite 500,
Salt Lake City 801-886-0096

Dry Rosé. A dry Rosé is perfect, especially early summer as they can be in short supply. Good acidity, chilled, but with more structure than, say, a Pinot Grigio. Pairs with lots of food, salads, appetizers and lighter meats. I would still go with a heavier red for grilled meats or cheeseburgers.