Those of us "of a certain age" remember Endless Summer, a film that celebrated surfing around the world and the search for the perfect wave, beautiful young people and beautiful scenery. The reality is that we are no longer young people...and our summers do end (at least here they do). But that gives us something to celebrate. Each year, as September approaches, we invite our different tasting groups out for parties and dinners around the pool. The wines vary--the photo above shows those that had "given their all" last Sunday evening--but there is one constant: Ameztoi Rubentis Txakolina...our wine of summer.
It has become perhaps cliché to offer rosé as a wine of summer. After all, if they sip it in the south of France in summer, why shouldn't we? And, in fact, we do. But rosé is a broad category. Like white pants, many people tend to put their rosés away after Labor Day. Sometimes, that's appropriate. But sometimes it's a mistake. There are lots of rosés you can serve throughout the year--with some, it's a way to bring a touch of summer to a fall or winter day. Examples would include rosés of pinot noir--like Soliste or Brooks. And blends--like Matthiasson or the top rosés from Bandol (which have some mourvedre to add spiciness on the back-palate). Opening one of them on a cool day might suggest a step toward that endless summer. And the best rosé I know of--Maggie Harrison's Antica Terra Angelicall--is a wine for all seasons, as much at home in front of a fireplace as it is at a summer al fresco dinner.
Such is not the case for the Rubentis Txakolina. Light, low-alcohol, bracingly high in acidity, slightly saline...with lime and strawberry flavors and just a hint of spritz--it's a wine of summer. Refreshing and delicious. Bring it out when the patio heats up...put it away when the evenings cool off (no, wait...don't put it away, drink it all up before the evenings cool off--it's a wine that's best drunk fresh).
And drinking it all up may not be too hard. This isn't an easy wine to find in quantity. Despite the fact that it's not particularly expensive (~$20) it is allocated. Some stores were not able to get any at all and even the top stores only got a limited amount--the local distributor called it "a cult wine." I wiped out much of the DC supply when I realized it was limited, buying 3 cases (more came on the market mid-summer). In some sense, thinking of it as a cult wine strikes me as wrong. I don't think it's meant to be huddled over like a treasure--I think it's meant to be tossed off (in some quantity), accompanied by laughter and perhaps the sounds of splashing.
It's a celebration of summer...which is not endless.