Rosé slushies. Spiked seltzers. Boozy ice pops. Has young adults’ quest for the next party gimmick led to soulless substitutes for real, quality wines?
It’s not hard to find wines with well-balanced natural flavours, according to Leslie Sbrocco, author of “The Simple and Savvy Wine Guide.” She recommends looking for wine from different international regions, like Wines of Sicily, which guarantee value and quality, and are made from more than 400 wineries across the island.
Sbrocco also recommends these wines and entertaining tips to make your spread the center of the party for all the right reasons.
Bring a balanced red to the barbecue
It’s an art to craft a truly balanced wine that needs nothing more to be enjoyed than a wine opener and an open mind. In fact, Sicilian red wines are crafted to be as lively and bold as the island itself. The icon of Sicilian wine-making and hero red grape, Nero d’Avola, balances elegance with drinkability and can range from royal ruby with aromas of strawberry and sour cherry to a more full-bodied red with sweet spices and cocoa. Whether it’s a ribeye or a spicy rack of ribs, Nero d’Avola can elevate a weeknight summer dinner on the patio to an elegant event.
Freshen up summer whites
Grillo, Sicily’s most famous indigenous white grape, with an aromatic bouquet and lively citrus notes, is like a pair of fresh linen pants. When paired with delectable bites like bruschetta, ceviche or a well-crafted charcuterie board, Grillo pulls out the salinity and savory notes that come from grapes grown in close proximity to the Mediterranean Sea. The other predominant yet fuller-bodied white wine grape from Sicily is Catarrato. With notes of ripe citrus and herbal flavors, it makes for a delicious counterpart to a seasonal vegetable spread.
Act like a sommelier
Frappato, Sicily’s cult-favorite answer to pinot noir – served chilled – is an upgrade to the ubiquitous rosÈ routine. It’s easy to pronounce and even easier to pair with light summer fare like these simple-to-make Open-Faced BLT Sandwiches. With its fruit-forward, lighter style, Frappato is a sommelier’s secret weapon that many people classify as pinot noir’s cool cousin. Pouring this sets the tone for even your most sophisticated set of friends.
For more food and wine pairings, visit winesofsicily.com.
Open-Faced BLT Sandwiches
Prepare an easy, seasonal appetizer with fresh produce from your local farmer’s market. Take this summertime classic sandwich up a notch by topping it with capers and pairing it with a chilled Grillo or Frappato from Sicilia DOC.
6-8 strips bacon
1 loaf country bread
1 cup arugula leaves
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional to drizzle
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Heat oven to 375 F.
Place bacon on baking sheet and bake 15-20 minutes depending on thickness of bacon. Remove bacon from oven and transfer to paper towels to drain.
Using bread knife, slice bread 1/3-inch thick into single-serving slices; toast lightly.
Add arugula leaves and cherry tomatoes to medium bowl. In separate bowl, whisk olive oil and balsamic vinegar; add to tomatoes and arugula, and gently toss to coat.
To assemble, drizzle olive oil on one side of toasted bread. Arrange arugula, bacon and tomato mixture on top. Finish each sandwich with sprinkle of salt, ground pepper and a few capers.
Recipe courtesy of Wines of Sicily