Off the Vine: Cool down with wine popsicles

August 1, 2012 

Walk into just about any store and you are instantly reminded that it's almost time for kids to go "Back to School," but that doesn't mean that summer is over. There is still plenty of time to lounge poolside and enjoy the sun while munching on Pinot Noir or Sauvignon Blanc infused popsicles that are made with Kim Crawford wines and fresh fruits.

For those who have not had the opportunity to taste some of the wines that are produced by Kim Crawford, you are missing out on fruit-forward offerings from the Marlborough region of New Zealand. Marlborough is one of New Zealand's most prominent wine-growing regions, as well as the largest, even though prior to 1973, it contained no commercial vineyards.

The 2011 Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc starts with a herbaceous nose that is commonplace for this varietal, followed by Key lime and fig flavors with hints of lemon zest on a long finish. While this wine is the perfect match to oysters on the half shell, it has the body to stand up to grilled lobster. A thick New York strip steak grilled to perfection can make one's mouth water in anticipation and will be enhanced by the silky tannins found in Kim Crawford's 2010 Pinot Noir. This Pinot Noir contains red fruit flavors such as raspberry, strawberry and cherry, with some hints of spice and oak on the finish. In June, both of these wines were rated 88 points by the Wine Spectator.

Back to the Pinot Noir or Sauvignon Blanc infused popsicles, they are

fairly simple to make and provide a tasty treat for a hot afternoon. Start by dissolving 4 ounces of organic dark cane sugar in 4ounces of water over low heat.

For the Sauvignon Blanc popsicles then add a 1-inch piece of vanilla bean that is cut lengthwise and steep for 15 minutes. Then remove the bean and allow the syrup to cool before stirring in 3 or 4 ripe peaches that have been lightly pureed as well as 7 ounces of Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc. Next, pour the mixture into popsicle molds and freeze until solid.

To make the Pinot Noir popsicles, skip vanilla bean and substitute 5 cups of lightly pureed ripe blackberries for the peach as well as substituting 7 ounces of Kim Crawford Pinot Noir.

Kim Crawford was founded in 1996 and in addition to the two wines listed above, they also produce an unoaked Chardonnay and a Pinot Grigio from Marlborough, as well as a Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc that are produced from small parcels that have been hand-selected and contain extremely high-quality fruit.

Although it is still summer and very hot here in the United States, since New Zealand is located south of the equator in the Southern Hemisphere, August is a winter month there.

Jim Rawe, a family attorney in Bradenton, is an avid collector of fine wines. His column appears weekly. He can be reached at jimrawe@gmail.com.

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