Seaside Sips for Summer

by Advanced Sommelier Jenny Benzie

Only five Fridays left until Labor Day Weekend. Makes you think about what remains on your Nantucket Summer Bucket List. You mapped it out at the beginning of season, but your busy social schedule, kids at camp, and weekly houseguests got the best of you and your precious time spent here on the island.

Time to regroup, reassess, and refresh your priorities before summer ends. What better way to do that than with a lovely glass of rosé in hand to toast the next adventures and amazing memories you will be creating.
While spending the day on the sand has its glorious moments, there is something to be said about the calm and stillness of enjoying the water in Nantucket Harbor. This extends well past where the Hy-Line Ferry and visiting boats dock close to town. A drive out to Monomoy, Polpis, or the Wauwinet area will keep you on the harbor side of the water versus being out to the open waters of the sea. The shores are not as sandy, making for less people and lack of vehicle access to drive on the beach. This area is perfect for water sports of any kind, with a tranquil paddleboard experience on a flat day or the thrill of kiteboarding on the windiest of afternoons.

After a bit of exercise and excitement on the water, enjoy a rest on the beach with a bottle of Hawksbill Rosé of Pinot Noir from the Carneros region of California. This is the first rosé ever produced by Bob Foley of Robert Foley Vineyards, who is well known for putting Merlot on the wine-drinking map while working throughout the Napa Valley. The net profits from this strawberry fruity Pinot Noir Rosé benefit USVI and Puerto Rico hurricane relief efforts. Named after the critically endangered Hawksbill Sea Turtle found in those Caribbean waters, this wine is also rare due to its limited production. Sip on this beautiful wine while enjoying the last of summer on Nantucket, and perhaps envisioning your next warm winter travel destination.

One never knows who they might run into while on Nantucket. The person you did business with last year half way across the country just happens to be in line behind you as you grab a hazelnut latté at The Bean. Pleasantries are exchanged and the next thing you know, they have invited you to join them for wine later that evening on their friend’s yacht anchored at the Nantucket Boat Basin. Sounds like this could only be a chapter from an Elin Hilderbrand summer beach read, yet best to be prompt and not arrive empty handed. Such an occasion would require a remarkable rosé of sophistication as the perfect pairing for the evening.

Lucien Crochet Sancerre Rosé is just the pedigree of wine that you need. Hailing from the Loire Valley in France, this wine is made from 100% Pinot Noir. The grapes are harvested from several different parcels grown on Oxfordian “Caillottes” and Kimmeridgian “marne,” both chalky, mineral driven soils of the region. Lucien Crochet’s grandfather was one of the pioneers of bottling Sancerre wines in the region to be able to sell them in Paris. He and his wife Laurence, also of a Sancerre grower family, continue to produce and sell wines within the family estate. This pale salmon colored wine, with strawberry and cherry fruit notes is crisp and dry on the finish. This fresh, balanced rosé is meant to be consumed on a sunny afternoon with friends, new and old.

You wouldn’t believe the number of homes on Nantucket that have pools. One might think that with the entire island being a beach, why would anyone want to hang out by the pool? Alas, the Grey Lady is finicky at times, even in the humid heat of July and August. When the ever-changing weather forecast calls for a cloudy day, avoid further disappointment and the hassle of packing up the car to head to a partly sunny beach only to be let down by a not so stellar day. Instead you could remain at the comfort of your own home where you can go in and out to the pool at your leisure when the sun decides to peak its head out of the sky.

The perfect pairing to a pool day is none other than the Hecht + Bannier Rosé from Côtes de Provence. This art-deco style bottle comes with a reusable glass closure. It’s classier than a convenient (but often unsightly) screw-top, yet still no tools needed in order to partake in your rosé drinking pleasures. A blend of Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah and the white grape Rolle (also known as Vermentino), this wine has immense charm and minerality redolent of fennel, anise and purple flowers. Add sliced prosciutto, rosemary Marcona almonds, and a bit of Wasik’s cheese for an afternoon pool party.

When you think of all the iconic images one can photograph on Nantucket, numerous ideas quickly come to mind. The Nantucket directional sign on the corner of Main and Washington Streets, beautiful hydrangeas in full bloom nestled beside a quaint old home, and, one that is captured year round, sunset from a beach on Nantucket. Whether it be Ladies Beach, Steps Beach, or from the shores of Madaket, watching the sunset is more than just enjoying and taking in the magnificence of the gleaming rays and the dance they play between heaven and earth. It is a time for reflecting on all the beauty of the day Nantucket had to offer you and being grateful going into the evening for the bounty of this land.

This is similar to how a winemaker might feel when it comes time to harvest their grapes and begin the next step in producing their wines. To celebrate this ending of the day and beginning of the evening, a delightful wine of choice is A-Frame Wine Company La La Rosé from Santa Barbara County. Their focus being on Old World Rhône grape varietals grown and produced in the New World of California creates is perfectly captured in this dry, light wine made from 100% Grenache. The etymology behind the name La La is a tongue-in-cheek reference to the initials of Los Angeles (where the winemaker resides), but really pertains to being in a state where one is out of touch with reality. How apropos for time well-spent on Nantucket.

Truth be told, the wonderful thing about the ever-increasing selection of rosé wines currently available is that they don’t just have to be your drink of summer. Neither does Nantucket just have to be your summer escape. The beauty and splendor of both are available year-round, however, let’s not get ahead of ourselves and enjoy the moment we are in today. Cheers!