The unofficial end to summer brings a holiday weekend and the return of near-90-degree temperatures, so another crisp, refreshing white wine is in order, and this name and label may help summer linger a bit.
South Africa is an excellent source of good, affordable wine, and we’ve been remiss in failing to feature a single one until last week’s column on Ken Forrester Chenin Blanc. Another one you should seek out – and you may have to head to Maryland to find it – is The Beach House 2010 by Douglas Green in the Western Cape region of South Africa. Normally we’re put off by cutzy names and gimmicky labels – scroll through our archives and you’ll find nary an cuddly animal label – but this wine can, indeed, help transport you to a more relaxed state, if not literally to the beach.
A blend of mostly sauvignon blanc with 20-percent splash of semillon, we tasted it for ourselves at The Bottle Shop in Rockville nearly a month ago and were charmed by the fresh, citrusy flavors, but with a roundness – we’re guessing from the semillon – that takes the edge off the finish. It reminded us of one of our favorite Chilean sauvignon blancs, Casa Lapostolle, which not coincidentally also adds semillon to create a Bordeaux-style white that strikes a nice balance between the intensity of New Zealand sauvignon blanc and the more delicate minerality of the French style.
The Beach House is not a complex wine, but who wants complexity when you’re sitting on the porch enjoying the long Labor Day weekend? And it’s a great example of why not to blindly follow a single wine publication or critic. James Molesworth at Wine Spectator scored The Beach House 2010 a mere 79 points, calling it “A touch curt, with chive and celery notes followed by a slightly lean finish.”
But the consensus in the wine blogosphere couldn’t disagree more.
Kevin Keith, on his Under the Grape Tree blog, gave it an “Outstanding” rating back in March, calling it, “a wonderful reminder that Spring is almost here. Crisp notes of guava, lemongrass, key lime and gooseberries abound, with a bit of lanolin, mineral and grapefruit undertones mixed in for a lively white perfect for anytime.”
“The Beach House exhibits aromas of lemongrass, citrus, and pear on the nose. It tastes light, bright and refreshing with crisp citrus and pear notes. It ends with a nice subtle finish,” wrote Jon Thorsen, on The Reverse Wine Snob blog out of the Twin Cities. “The Beach House is a relatively simple wine, but is very good and easy to drink. Recommended any time (and all the time) June through August.”
September in Washington is hotter than August in Minnesota, so we suggest picking up a few bottles of The Beach House on sale at Finewine.com in Gaithersburg for $8 a bottle. It’s only $9 at The Bottle Shop, but if you mention that you read about it on knotmove.com (or Wine for the Rest of Us), proprietor Christina Findley will match the $8-a-bottle sale price. It’s also available at selected Montgomery County Liquor stores for $8.59 a bottle. (See the slide show for other shops and prices.)
Compare prices nationwide and find The Beach House online or at a wine shop near you
There is a section of the Kentlands neighborhood in Gaithersburg that has already adopted The Beach House as its neighborhood white. (You ‘Hill people’ know who you are!) So there’s a good chance they’ll be descending en masse on Finewine.com to buy up its remaining 20 cases for the holiday weekend. We suggest you stock up now, if you want your summer to last a bit longer.
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