July 16 2012 07:04 PM

Pucker up-this is no Chardonnay


Summertime. Unlike the Gershwin tune, lately, the livin' hasn't been so easy, because, let's face it, it's been so damn hot. Fish aren't jumping, and the cotton, instead of being high, is all dried and withered. It's taken all I've got just to slosh across the room and turn on the A/C, you know?

It's certainly the kind of weather that calls for a chilled, crisp white wine, which is why I picked up a bottle of Pagos del Rey's 2009 El Circulo Blanco. There are people who turn to Chardonnay when, as Ella Fitzgerald proclaimed in Cole Porter's tune, it's too darn hot, but I'm not one of those people. I prefer something tart and acidic, a wine that's going to pick things up rather than mellow them out. This one fits the bill, and it was a good deal, too—about $10 at Whole Foods.

The El Circulo has a nice hard nose to it, so you know you're going to get something strong. That tart apple scent comes on strong, along with beach grass and an essence of ripeness. But it's the apple that
dominates the initial taste. It's not unlike biting into a green apple at the height of its tartness—it's tasty and almost off-putting, but in a way that makes you want to go back for more. It puckers your mouth but tastes fresh, and you just might find some citrus lurking in there, as well; I lingered over a hint of lime that snuck in toward the back. The flavors hung around on the palate but dissipated before becoming annoying.

So, yeah, the heat is on, as they say, and you're in desperate need of something to drink in the backyard as the sun goes down, paired with a hearty salad or some roasted vegetables. The El Circulo Blanco is ideal for that situation, and would probably go nicely with chicken or fish, too. I'd be tempted to say that this white is hot, but, really, I recommend you serve it cold.

Write to anders@sdcitybeat.com and editor@sdcitybeat.com. You can follow Anders on Twitter at @anderswright.


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