Life is full of surprises. Some of them good… some of them bad… some of them simply unexpected.
I’m the kind of guy who likes to keep surprises to a minimum. In my work life, which is deadline oriented, most surprises are bad… so it’s best to avoid them by finding ways to be organized. Check-off lists are a big deal to me in that part of my daily existence.
On the other hand, when we’re on vacation, some of our most cherished and memorable moments have been pleasant surprises, like getting lost while walking the streets the Barcelona and finding a wonderful tapas bar.
But back home, where we like to entertain but don’t always get much notice when friends or family are going to be in town, it’s important for us to be prepared. With our busy lives, we don’t always have time to go shopping on a moment’s notice to re-stock the wine rack.
So we have come up with a couple of “go-to” wines that we keep on hand at all times — one red and one white. Over the years, we’ve sometimes utilized several consecutive vintages of the same wine before ultimately rotating it out and plugged in a different one.
Although we love Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay, neither has ever been a “go-to wine” at our house. Because they are so expressive, they tend to pair with a limited number of easy-to-prepare foods… so we opt for wines that are more “food friendly.”
We just finished up our last go-to white, which was a Pinot Grigio that we had enjoyed with a number of pasta dishes with creamy white sauces over the fall and winter months.
And we have one more bottle of go-to Merlot to drink, which we’ll probably uncork this weekend with one more homemade meatloaf.
Now that summer has arrived, we’ll rotate out those wines, and replace them with a Sauvignon Blanc and a Zinfandel.
The Sauvignon Blanc will pair perfectly with almost any fish preparation, while the Zin is going to be our go-to red any time we fire up our grill. I’ve always loved how the “char” of grilled meats plays off those jammy fruit flavors that Zinfandel exudes.
In years past, we’ve typically used Pinot Noir for our go-to red, and it’ll probably be back in that role next summer. We’re just planning to do a lot of grilling this summer and thought we’d mix it up a bit.
The point is this: When you have unexpected guests… or are planning a get-together on short notice… it’s nice to have one element of the meal already handled.
What will be your go-to wines this summer?