Fresh Pour

Interview by Monica Parpal |

Last issue, we introduced our readers to one of the wine world's best educators and experts—Rick Garced. A highly-decorated sommelier, Garced is on board to share his extensive wine knowledge with the DiningOut family. For this issue, he helped us tackle the enological questions of springtime nibbles and sips.

 

From a sommelier's perspective, why is it important to consider the changing of the seasons when selecting a wine?

Most wine is consumed during meals, so the change in seasonal foods has a lot to do with what bottles we pour. During the winter, we tend to lean on heavy, hearty, or robust foods—such as beef, game, fowl, or darker-meat fish. Full-bodied wines with greater weight, alcohol, and tannic structure tend to pair well with these foods. Think Bordeaux blends, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, and the like. In the springtime, however, our palates reach for lighter dishes like salads, white-meat fish, lighter chicken dishes, and so forth. For these, Rosés, sparkling wines like Prosecco, light reds such as Pinot Noir, and a wealth of white grape varietals make apt pairs.

 

When you think of springtime, what wines come to mind? What wine do you like to drink during the spring?

I am a big fan of pink wines during warmer months, such as Rosés from California, France, and Italy. These have not only become more popular, but also more affordable. Then there are the reds that grow well in cooler climates, such as Pinot Noir, which sports soft tannins and is perfect for the spring and summer months—it offers a palate of cherry, strawberry, and raspberry that is charactered while not being overwhelming.

 

There are also some regional white wines at the top of my list: Pinot Gris from Willamette Valley, Oregon; Rieslings from Australia; Viognier from the region of Condrieu in the Rhône Valley; and Albariño from Galacia, Spain.

Do certain wines actually taste better in the spring, or is it more a matter of food pairing, ambience, and personal preference?

Psychologically, wines always seem to taste better when you are in the place where the grapes are grown. So, ambience does make a difference from a “feel good” viewpoint. But in reality, food and wine pairings play the greatest part of wine enjoyment.

 

As an aperitif or by the glass instead of the bottle, most people like wines that are more aromatic, more flavorful, have a lower alcohol content, and carry a light to medium body. It just tends to be more approachable that way.

 

Lastly, having a good wine glass that is stemmed with a curved bowl and made of crystal (preferably) is the best way to get the full flavor of the wine. Sometimes, decanting can help reduce the amount of sediment during pouring, and serves to control the temperature of the wine. It's also a good idea to decant young, tannic wines, allowing them to soften through oxidation.


What interesting wine trends can you share with us as we approach spring?

Styles like orange wines and Sherries have been gaining interest lately, but sparkling wines are really getting the most attention of late in white wine programs. As far as reds go, Pinot Noir is clearly the darling of most people—it's a versatile wine that's easily paired with a variety of foods. Argentinian Malbec and Shiraz from South Africa are also of interest. For the summer, though, look for lighter styles like Gamay and medium-bodied wines made from Tempranillo and Sangiovese to grow in popularity.