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July 01. 2014 7:30PM

Beer and wine perfect for summer

PLACES IN NEW HAMPSHIRE continue to make great quality wines for many different types of occasions, and summer is certainly a special occasion in these parts.

Let’s start today with a local pick, Flag Hill Wineries Vignoles, 2011 12% ABV, from Lee.

For a quick refresher, Vignoles, also known as Ravat, is a white “Seibel” grape whose origins lie in France, where they were created by one J.F. Ravat around the year 1930. The grape was introduced to the United States in 1949.

A blending of V. vinifera, V. lincecumii and V. Rupestris, with some Chardonnay in the mix, they are good cold climate grapes, which makes them great for New Hampshire winters (though with the temperature hovering above 90 degrees at the moment, I’m not exactly thinking snowstorm.)

Many of the white grapes that are grown here in the state are cold climate, which means they can survive a very cold winter, and can thrive in a relatively short growing season. Within that short span, Vignoles can develop high sugars while at the same time retaining very good acidity.

Like all grapes, Vignoles has its classic flavors and can make wines that run from dry to sweet.

In northern climes, it can be harvested late with its high sugar to make ice wines. The nose classically tends toward tropical fruit.

Here’s how it tastes at Flag Hill: Crisp clean nose, golden in color, light-bodied, with strong notes of citrus, melons, at the dry and of the spectrum, though with just a hint of residual sugar balancing it out. The alcohol is well integrated into a long and flavorful presentation. Pair with summer salads, seafood.

Also, we were at the Weathervane for supper last Friday where a plate of fish and chips called for a Sam Adams Summer Ale, brewed by Boston Beer Company. Listed on the label as “wheat ale brewed with lemon peel and grains of paradise,” the beautiful golden hue can be found under thick, frothy white head that lasts. the nose is hops, and the flavor profile retained some of the wheat flavor, citrus, and a bit of an earthy background that gives it some weight without becoming overpowering — great for a warm summer night.

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Contact local beer and wine writer Jim Beauregard at tastingnotesnh.com.


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