During the spring, there’s perhaps nothing better than dining alfresco. To make your meals on the patio perfect, be sure to include a delightful wine that complements your menu. It’s easy to do with a little help from wine connoisseurs in McKinney.

McKinney Magazine tapped the expertise of area wine aficionados to help assemble a list of recommended spring wines for every budget. Impress your friends with great-tasting affordable wines or break out luxury wines for special occasions.

The wine devotees who helped compile the list know their stuff. For example, all wines stocked at McKinney Wine Merchant on the Historic Downtown Square must pass store owner Andy Doyle’s blind taste test. Doyle developed his expertise by perfecting his knowledge and palate over time. He was a winery representative for more than 20 years before opening McKinney Wine Merchant in April 2011.

Doyle prides himself on paying vigilant attention to the quality of the wine he sells, which means there is less emphasis on wine brands and brand marketing. “These wines aren’t necessarily household names — they’re just great wines,” Doyle says.

Equally passionate about wine are Michael Dooley, co-owner of Zin Zen Wine Bistro on Virginia Parkway; Brian Keffer, general manager of Landon Winery on the Historic McKinney Square; and Deanna Ross, who owns Lone Star Wine Cellars on the Historic McKinney Square with her husband Ron Ross. “Most of our wines are reserve,” Deanna explains. “We only buy premium grapes.”

At Zin Zen, enjoy wine from around the world, live music, appetizers and desserts at the bistro, which is now being managed by two young entrepreneurs who offer guests a relaxing, friendly, “never stuffy” ambiance indoors or on the lovely patio.

At Landon Winery, wine enthusiasts can learn about and sample Landon’s award-winning Texas wines, host a wedding or another celebration there, become a custom winemaker and take part in the monthly wine club.

Lone Star Wine Cellars, located in the former Ritz Theatre building, offers tastings, education, the latest wine technology, happy hours, live music weekends and various special events.

 

Stop by to visit the wine panel’s businesses, and Doyle, Dooley, Keffer and Ross will all be happy to talk to you about their seasonal spring wines and expound on their recommendations. The group recommended white, red, sparkling and even rose wines from throughout the world and Texas. They advise trying different wines throughout the spring and experimenting by pairing new wines with your favorite spring meals.

 

THE RECOMMENDATIONS:

Luxury Wines

(approximately $35 and more per bottle)

Petroni Chardonnay, 2009, Sonoma Valley, California

• “It’s the perfect balance of fruit and oak – just a completely buttery mouth feel. It pairs well with pasta, chicken, chicken with mushrooms and any dish with milk fats,” says Andy Doyle of McKinney Wine Merchant. “Do not pair this with highly acidic foods.”

Ravines Wine Cellars Dry Riesling, 2011, Finger Lakes, New York

• “The bouquet of the wine is delicate with intricate aromas of white flowers mingled with pear, apple and citrus notes followed by a lingering mineral finish and a vibrant acidity.” Recommended by Michael Dooley of Zin Zen Wine Bistro.Pairs well with chicken and lean shellfish.

Heitz Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, 2007, Napa Valley, California

• “It’s a big fruit-driven wine with vanilla, cherry and linen softness – it’s super smooth,” says Andy Doyle of McKinney Wine Merchant. “It’s savory enough to enjoy on its own, or enjoy it with steak or other beef.”

David Arthur Meritaggio, 2006, Napa, California

• This rich blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese and Petite Verdot is recommended by Zin Zen’s Michael Dooley for spring because it “brims with flavors of black and red cherries, currants, mocha, spicy plums, sweet cured tobacco, anise, cinnamon and pepper.” It’s great with peppery grilled steaks.

 

Premium Wines

(approximately $15 to $30 per bottle)

The Eyrie Vineyards Pinot Gris, 2011, Willamette Valley, Oregon

• “This is my No. 1 recommendation based on quality and rarity,” says Andy Doyle of McKinney Wine Merchant. “This has a slight wintergreen component on the nose, and almost a lemon custard quality. It’s great with seafood and salad. Vinegar in a salad dressing usually destroys a wine but this wine holds up while eating acidic foods.”

 

Tripe R Ranch & Winery Wild Turkey Sauvignon Blanc, 2011, California

• Recommended by Deanna Ross of Lone Star Wine Cellars, who says this wine is receiving great reviews from wine club members because it’s “light and crisp with hints of citrus fruits, lemon, lime, splashes of melon and gooseberry and a pleasant grassiness.” It pairs well with casual meals of white meat, crab, scallops or shrimp.

Pewsey Vale Dry Riesling, 2011, Eden Valley, Australia

• Among Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of 2012. “This is so dry, and it has a wonderful minerality and steely quality. It would be great at a crawfish boil, and it’s a classic with oysters,” says Andy Doyle of McKinney Wine Merchant.

Landon Winery Cuveé Sec, Texas

• “This semi-sweet bubbly is just what you want for the patio,” says Brian Keffer of Landon Winery. “Drinks wonderfully by itself or with fresh strawberries and cream.” This wine has also won numerous awards at local and international wine competitions.

Alois Lageder, Pinot Bianco, 2011, Northeast Italy

• “It’s a fleshier white wine with more melon notes, more body and more complexity. It stirs conversation because it’s interesting. If you’re hosting a party, this is a great wine,” says Andy Doyle of McKinney Wine Merchant.

Landon Winery Viognier, 2011, Texas

• “This grape of French origins is growing beautifully for us in the High Plains of Texas,” says Brian Keffer of Landon Winery. “This white wine is nice and crisp, but still has enough body to pair well with white fish or chicken dishes.”

Talbott “Kali Hart” Pinot Noir, 2010, California

• “A medium-bodied pinot with bright acidity – fruit and cherries just jumping out of the glass,” says Andy Doyle of McKinney Wine Merchant.

Triple R Ranch & Winery White Goose Riesling, 2008, Texas

• Recommended by Deanna Ross of Lone Star Wine Cellars. It has peach, lemon and pineapple flavors. It’s perfect to enjoy before dinner and is an excellent complement to fish and pork.

Chateau d'Aqueria Rose, 2011, Rhone Valley, France

• This intense ruby red wine is complex and powerful with notes of red fruit – strawberry and raspberry. “It’s a lovely balance of complexity and freshness.” Recommended by Michael Dooley of Zin Zen Wine Bistro. Chill well and enjoy with salmon or a simple pasta with fresh vegetables.

 

Landon Winery Pinot Noir, 2011, Texas

• “Pinot Noir is the perfect spring red,” says Brian Keffer of Landon Winery. “Bright flavors of raspberry and cherry will complement spring dishes like chicken skewers or salmon off the grill.”

Triple R Ranch & Winery Paint Horse Pinot Noir, 2008, California

• Recommended by Deanna Ross of Lone Star Wine Cellars, this wine won a Bronze medal at the 2011 Lone Star Wine Competition. Pinot noir pairs well with mild red meats and lighter flavors, including grilled salmon and tuna.

 

Value Wines

(approximately $10 to $14 per bottle)

Frisk “Prickly” Riesling, 2012, Australia

• Recommended by McKinney Wine Merchant’s Andy Doyle: “It’s 88 percent Riesling and 12 percent Moscato, which are sweeter wines that have been blended together,” he says. “This is lightly effervescent – just a pleasant perfume and frothiness to it. I’d have this with fruit, during brunch or with very light cheese.”

Perrin Cotes du Rhone Villages, 2010, Rhone Valley of France

• The “villages” in its name indicates its grapes are sourced from the Top 20 percent of Rhone Valley vineyards. “It’s a lovely soft red wine of remarkable depth. A great match for most medium-weight dishes calling for a red wine,” says Andy Doyle of McKinney Wine Merchant.

Choose your menu and wine, then add warm temperatures, gentle breezes, budding flowers and a group of great friends – and enjoy!

 

About the author: Holly Becka is the owner of HorsePower Communications, a public relations and business writing firm in McKinney. Email her at holly@horsepowercommunications.com.

 

Enjoy Wine from Chamber-Member Businesses:

 

Landon Winery – landonwinery.com

Lone Star Wine Cellars – lonestarwinecellars.com

McKinney Wine Merchant – mckinneywine.com

Mitas Hill Vineyard – mitashillvineyard.com

Rick’s Chophouse (2012 Award of excellence recipient from Wine Spectator) – rickschophouse.com

Zin Zen Wine Bistro – zinzenwine.com