April Sunshine Brings May...Blizzards?
For crying out loud. Stay inside where it's warm with a bottle of this
It’s the last weekend in April, and this Friday morning we have a freeze warning in my area. “Frost and freeze conditions will kill crops and other sensitive vegetation.”
I have to apologize. This is all my fault. You see, two weeks ago — when it was over 70°F and I was sitting outside in shorts and a T-shirt — I ordered two new air conditioning units for my house. So of course they arrived this week and *gestures at everything*.
You look out the window and your brain says, oh, it’s a beautiful spring day because of course it is, it’s the end of April! And then you step outside and it’s almost freezing! It doesn’t get dark till 8 p.m. now, which just gives you more time to look outside and fool your brain.
You know what else looks like something it isn’t, but in a good way: saperavi!
This grape hails from the Republic of Georgia, formerly part of the Soviet Republic. It’s a teinturier grape, from the French for “to dye or stain.” Unlike most other red wine grapes, both the flesh and the skins of teinturier grapes are red. This yields a deep dark color immediately upon pressing. So you get rich deep color, but a lighter bodied wine than you’d expect just by its looks.
This particular saperavi is from Standing Stone Vineyards in the Finger Lakes. Saperavi was first introduced to the region by Ukrainian-born Dr. Konstantin Frank in the ‘50s. According to this 2014 article, Standing Stone co-owner Marti Macinski said, “Saperavi seems to grow well here, it's tolerant of the cold and for the grower, the good news is it ripens about the same time as Riesling.” Also their five acres of saperavi at the time was the largest planting of the grape outside of Georgia.
Looking at the deep inky blackish-purple, you expect a weighty wine. But you get fresh pomegranate on the palate, zero tannin, and lots of acidity. We know that plenty of acidity means a great food wine! It’s also got a smoky note that would be enhanced by anything grilled (chicken, beef… which sounds like Johnny’s ideal shopping list, but it’s true!).
I highly recommend Standing Stone’s saperavi, but if you’re interested in finding others, check out Wine-Searcher.com’s links here. And hopefully we’ll be complaining that it’s too hot in another week. Nah, I’m kidding. I’ll never complain about heat in April or May again.