Time for Spring wines? Or not?

Spring is here! Turn down the heat. Crank up the air conditioning! Open a bottle of light, fizzy wine! Or not?

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Seriously, in an age when many of us enjoy temperate conditions year-round in our homes and in our cars by the simple method of adjusting climate control, is there still any reason for our wine tastes to change with the seasons?

I’m going to say yes … and no.

Yes, wine business sources confirm that public wine buying trends change in sync with the seasons, and not just the traditional seasons Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter. For instance:

There’s wedding season in June, when sales of Champagne and other sparkling wines will skyrocket.

Then there’s the holiday season. Bubbly will boom again in November and December as Thanksgiving, the winter holidays, and the New Year draw near. So will sales of the fancy, higher-price wines that some reserve for celebrations.

Online wine sales may taper down as hot weather approaches. If you’re buying something serious – expensive or aged wine or both – there’s a real risk of heat damage if wine in transit sits in a truck or unrefrigerated warehouse during sizzling summer days. Winter freezes can be hazardous, too, so savvy wine nerds will hold their buying until the temperate times of early to mid-spring and mid- to late autumn.

The historic hilltop Chapelle de la Madone overlooks the vineyards of Domaine de la Madone.

The historic hilltop Chapelle de la Madone overlooks the vineyards of Domaine de la Madone.

And yes, wine tastes really do change with the seasons because many of us like it that way. “Casual wine lovers often enjoy a fresh rosé in Spring and early Summer,” reports Maryland-based DMV Distributing.The Guardian reported sales nearly doubled for this popular summer varietal. The best time to get your hands on a good bottle of pink rosé is from late May to early June, while the weather is still mild.”

Even when we’re sitting indoors at a constant comfortable temperature, the simple reality of Spring with its colorful beauty prompts thoughts of lighter wines to celebrate. Fresh and fruity yet subtle and intriguing, like the Domaine de la Madone Beaujolais-Villages Le Perréon posted below? Yes, please! Or light and fizzy yet crisp and interesting like the Calvet Crémant de Bourdeaux Brut Rosé also featured today? Indeed!

So that’s a lot of argument for “yes.” But what about that “no” alternative? That one’s pretty simple. Thanks to the pleasure of air conditioning and even digital thermostats keeping us in constant comfort via the Internet of Things, we can break all the rules and enjoy what we like when we like it. If I want to pull the cork from a rich Vintage Port to celebrate the Fourth of July, I can do that, just as I can enjoy a summery Vinho Verde on Christmas Eve if I want to. Choices? We’ve got ’em. So happy spring, everyone, and do drink what you like. But if you want two good spring options, take a moment to check my tasting reports below.


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Today’s Tasting Report

Jean Bererd et Fils 2019 Domaine de la Madone Beaujolais-Villages Le Perréon ($14.99)

Domaine de la Madone

Domaine de la Madone Beaujolais-Villages Le Perréon shows a dark reddish-purple color in the glass. A whiff of fresh wild strawberries, typical of Gamay, comes up at first when this wine is poured, but with time in the glass it gives way to a more interesting mix of red and black fruit and a sudden jolt of anise. Beautifully balanced on the palate with 13% acidity, it offers bright and juicy berry fruit, bone-dry and free of oak, laced up by brisk acidity, with soft, subtle tannins providing additional structure alongside stony minerality in the long finish. Organically grown on high-altitude granite vineyards adjacent to Fleurie. U.S. importer: Skurnik Wines, NYC. (April 24, 2021)

FOOD MATCH: Beaujolais is the local wine region for Lyon, arguably France’s second food city after Paris, and as such, its more elegant renditions like this one are widely versatile with food, from roast pork or poultry to cheeses and pasta dishes like our choice, a gently spicy bucatini all’amatriciana.

WHEN TO DRINK: Beaujolais-Villages by tradition is not a long ager, but this one’s fruit, structure, and balance suggests that there’s no need to worry about it falling apart over the next few years. It’s at a lovely peak, but might reward aging for five years or more if you have excellent cellar conditions.

It’s a remarkable value at my local price, which comes close to Wine-Searcher.com’s $14 average U.S. retail, and it’s widely available for even less.

This fact sheet from importer Skurnik Wines gives a good overview of Domaine de la Madone and its owners.

Domaine de la Madone also has an engaging website in French and English. Here’s the English-language page.

Check prices and find vendors for Domaine de la Madone Beaujolais-Villages Le Perréon on Wine-Searcher.com.

Read about Beaujolais-Villages and find listings for dozens of other wines of the region at this Wine-Searcher link.

Learn more about Gamay at this Wine-Searcher link, with vendor and price information for dozens of Gamay wines.

Join this month’s Wine Focus conversation in our WineLovers Discussion Group: Wine 202 GaMay!

Calvet 2017 Crémant de Bordeaux Brut Rosé ($16.99)


A pretty light pink color, Calvet 2017 Crémant de Bordeaux Brut Rosé pours up with a frothy mousse. Good raspberry scent adds a pleasant hint of cocoa suggesting Pinot Noir as the contributor to the wine’s rosy shade. Crisp, fresh and acidic flavor with modest 12.5% alcohol, shifting to darker currant and cherry fruit in a foamy mouthfeel. An attractive bubbly, made in the traditional Champagne format in Bordeaux. U.S. importer: An Acquitaine Wine Exclusive imported by Calvet USA, Miami. (April 24, 2021)

FOOD MATCH: Fine for sipping as an aperitif, according to the producer, who also suggests that its fruit notes pair well with “delicate tarts and fruit cocktails.” I’m pretty sure they don’t mean the canned variety. It went well for us with a variety of snacks at a spring garden party.

WHEN TO DRINK: This 2017 model is still delicious, but there’s no benefit in long-term cellaring.

Compared with the prices for even everyday Champagne, this Bordeaux-made cousin offers real value at Wine-Searcher.com’s $18 average U.S. retail.

Here’s an English-language fact sheet from producer Calvet.
Distributor Aquitaine Wine Co. offers a detailed fact sheet (pdf) at this link.

Check prices and find vendors for Calvet Crémant de Bordeaux Brut Rosé on Wine-Searcher.com.

Follow this Wine-Searcher link for more information about Crémant de Bourdeaux and listings for many more wines in this style.

Interested in more wines from the French negoçiant Calvet? You’ll find info and listings at this Wine-Searcher link.


More affordable wines

Want tips to still more good, inexpensive wines? Here are Wine-Searcher links to vendors and prices for a bunch more wines for $10 or less that I’ve told you about during the past year or two. Please tell us about your favorites!

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