Days of Summer Wine

Days of Summer Wine

Photography by Jeaneen Lund

A crisp crémant or a floral viognier from Piedmont may not be the first thing you associate with Fire Island Pines, but then again you probably haven’t stayed with A.J. Ojeda-Pons. For the sommelier at the Lamb’s Club at the Chatwal Hotel in New York, the Long Island iced tea is no substitute for a case of his favorite wines to get weekends at the Pines off to the right start. “I like to experiment, not just stick to things like pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc,” says Ojeda-Pons, who was born in Venezuela and raised in Valencia, Spain -- where he learned from his father that if you want to drink a good wine, you must first buy a good wine. “There are many other wines out there that are just as expressive.” We asked him for a list of what we should be drinking this summer.

Eight for Your Summer Pleasure:


Philippe Bornard,
Crémant du Jura NV
This crisp, dry sparkling wine made from 100% chardonnay is full of golden delicious apples and aromas of white peaches and stone fruit, perfect for that pool party or as an alternative to Champagne. $24.99

Veuve Ambal,
Crémant de Bourgogne “Cuvée Marie Ambal” NV
Elegant, with very fine bubbles, this crémant is clear, luminous gold and exhibits a good balance of fruity and floral aromas, like pink grapefruit and ripe apricots, with hints of fresh almonds. Drink as an aperitif or as an accompaniment to fish or roast poultry. $23


Domaine Sainte Lucie,
Côtes de Provence “MIP” 2012
A beautiful dry rosé with a gorgeous pale pink color, almost like pink neon. The nose is tempting and it explodes with fresh melon, strawberries, raspberries, and overtones of citrus, with an elegant savory herbal note. $14

Domaine de Fenouillet,
Côtes du Ventoux,
Rhône (Vaucluse) 2012
Another great, seductive rosé with a very aromatic nose full of fresh fruit and a dry refreshing palate. The initial impression is of wild fruits, red raspberries, cantaloupe, and a hint of orange-strawberry aromas, shrouded by a gorgeous mineral/floral note. It is dry and very expressive. $10.99


Charles Hours, 
Uroulat “Cuvée Marie,”
AOC Jurançon Sec 2011
Made from 100 percent gros manseng, it’s terrific, with an amazing, bright, lively nose with white stone fruits and orange blossoms, a candied zest note, and a complexity that is nothing less than seduction in a glass. $23

Luca Ferraris,
Viognier “Sensazioni,”
Piedmont 2011
This viognier is unlike any other I have tasted: bright, clean, with a purity of fruit and minerality. It has a good, elegant body, texture and finesse, and an intense aroma. There are hints of pineapple and mango and mixed citrus. It goes very well with fish, fresh cheeses, and meats. Truly delicious. $14


Domaine de L’Ausseil
“Les Trois Pierres” 2004
A truly “wow” wine, with incredible balance: the syrah, with black pepper and mocha notes; the concentrated fragrant carignan; and the spicy and structured grenache. It’s perfect for that Fire Island vacation. It’s dark but not too powerful; it’s bold but not overbearing, with lots of black fruit in the nose and in the palate. $16

Alejandro Fernandez
“El Vinculo,” La Mancha 2005
With its deep ruby color, it’s quite expressive and concentrated on the nose, full of ripe, fragrant fruits (black cherries, currants, and ripe blueberries). The palate is dry with medium-soft tannins, and it has a medium to full body. The oak presence is elegant but adds spice to the mix. $16

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