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World of Wine: Enjoying summer wines covers all varietals and blends

Beautiful table full of cheese and meats in garden at dusk1 / 2
Ron Smith, World of Wine columnist2 / 2

If you are going to drink just one wine at a summer evening meal, make it one of the many good types of bubbly I have mentioned in previous articles. If you are looking for a different kind of bubbly, look to Germany for a very drinkable treat.

During a recent visit to Faribault, Minn, I stopped in a local Haskell's and got in on a tasting of a never before tasted sparkler — Schloss Nicholas from Germany. This is a non-vintage sparkler that was delightfully refreshing on the hot afternoon when tasted. The taste led to purchasing 2 bottles — on sale at $10.99.

When sharing it with friends back home, I had to convince no one it was a bargain. It is so close to perfection that one would not be embarrassed to serve it at a wedding reception, and it is dry enough that possibly even fussy French Champagne drinkers would accept it.

Two other wines we sampled and enjoyed that evening were Joseph Drouhin Saint —Veran — a 100 percent chardonnay varietal, and a Cote De Beaune 2014 Village Wine, which was 100 percent pinot noir varietal.

We followed the tasting protocol of sampling the chardonnay first, and while one of our tasters has an admitted bias to red wines, she found this one completely acceptable and would drink it again. We found that this wine had eye appeal with its golden hue, greenish reflection and very refreshing aftertaste. SRP under $20.

The pinot noir from Cote de Beaune is also from the Burgundian city of Beaune, where the grapes are biodynamically grown (similar to organic growing but where all aspects of the environment are considered), hand harvested and aged in French oak barrels.

If pinot noir is one of your favorite wines, this one will be a hit for you. The delicate fruity aromas of strawberry and red currant were apparent, and the aftertaste had a nice elegant roundness to it. Totally enjoyable.

A final note picked up from sommelier Jean Taylor: I chilled the pinot noir for about 20-30 minutes in the refrigerator. She suggests it with most reds for summer enjoyment.

Ron Smith, a retired NDSU Extension horticulturist, writes weekly about his love of wine and its history. Readers can reach him at