Imagine the pleasurable paths my curiosity followed during our High School Biology lecture on pheromones. The idea that a boar’s pheromone resulted in “Lordosis” in the sow – an immediate and involuntary adoption of her mating position – lead this curious mind down all sorts of pleasurable paths that had little to do with our upcoming Biology test.
To the best of my knowledge (and web searching ability), legitimate science has yet to find an effective human pheromone. And despite my youthful yearning for just a small, private stash of the rumored "Spanish Fly", I can see how such a discovery would end society as we know it.
Of course, the perfume industry has long sought fragrances that draw desirable prospects closer, that pull them back for one more tantalizing whiff. To accomplish this, perfumers dabble in combinations of scents that make the average wine description seem like child's play. And yet, the aromatic white wines of summer are, without doubt, just as effective in pulling one's nose back for just one more tantalizing whiff.
I’ll call these aromatic beauties “Dave’s Arm-spreader wines”, in an effort to keep this blog clean and family-friendly (though one might argue that spreading the other human appendages leads to the creation of more families, and is therefore the more family-friendly of the two descriptions!) But the phrase "Arm-Spreader Wines" works too, bringing to mind that friendly, open-armed aunt that used to love giving you hugs.
Dave's Arm-Spreader Wines
These beautiful wines are to be enjoyed as much by your nose as your palate. Between the six of them, there are enticing aromas of citrus blossoms, stone fruits, strawberries, bread dough, honeysuckle, jasmine, ginger, white pepper… I could go on and on.
- Qupé, 2007 Bien Nacido Cuvée, $21 – I can’t believe the value in this wine, one of my favorites for summer quaffing. A blend of Chardonnay and Viognier, you’ll be torn between sipping this wine or holding it under your nose to enjoy its inviting floral aromatics.
- Au Bon Climat, 2004 “Hildegard", $35 - A most unique blend of Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and Aligote. There is a haunting quality to this wine that leaves tasters scratching their heads, thinking "Man this is good, but what IS it that I'm tasting, that certain something I can't quite put my finger on..." and that's when they dive back in for another good sniff.
- L’Uvaggio di Giacomo, 2006 Vermentino, $12 – The most exotic wine of this line-up, this grape hails from Italian heritage, where it can be found along the Western Coast of the boot. Not surprisingly, these coastal villages are deeply rooted in the fishing trade, despite their current popularity as tourist destinations. Also not surprisingly, their wines are delightful compliments to the fruits of the sea.
- Foppoli, 2006 Chardonnay, No Oak, $35 – Aromas of citrus blossoms and orange peel lead your taste buds into a nice crisp wine with grapefruit, melon, and quince characteristics. Compliments shrimp and avocado salad, any fruits of the sea, chicken or other fowl, and the lighter low-fat meats including pork, veal and venison.
- Uvaggio 2007 Barbera Rosato, $15 - Complements an array of ‘nontraditional’ fare including sushi and sashimi in addition to chicken or seafood dishes that feature citrus flavors and seasonings. One of the few wines that will stand up to a ceviche, for which this crisp wine seems to have been born.
- Radog, 2007 Gewurztraminer, $19 - Classic Gewurztraminer - floral aromas, stone fruits, and a spiciness that lingers in memory as a mix between wet stone and ginger. This wine is almost dry with enough fruity goodness to qualify as plain yummy with the foods of the season. Though ham is the classic pairing, avoid triteness by pairing this wine with most any Asian food or light dish featuring sweet-and-savory seasonings or sauces.
The wines of summer go well with anything grilled, as well as the bounty of fresh produce from your garden or local farmer’s market. But this Midwestern boy always defaults to corn-based dishes with his summer wines. Whether cutting it hot from the cob to fill a hollowed tomato along with chives and bacon, or roasting it over the grill to serve with a compound butter and chopped cilantro, or blending it into a summer soup (cold or hot), fresh-picked sweet corn is like a trip on a time machine direct to the garden of my Crown Point grandparents.
Speaking of time machines, teaching our daughter to eat corn by following rewarding her with a “ding” as she completes each row, is as close as she’ll come to my old-fashioned college typewriter - her own version of a time machine to be.
Corn is also reputed to help maintain our memory as we age. That is all the excuse I need.
“People have tried and they have tried, but sex is still not better than sweet corn” ~Garrison Keillor
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