More Summer Wine Patio Pleasers

Monday (April 16) was Patriots Day in Massachusetts and the Wine Novice celebrated by sampling four “anytime wines” at Stadium Plaza Wine & Spirits store on Route 38 on the Lowell-Tewksbury line. Steve Maciejewski is the owner and has been operating the store next to Market Basket for 26 years, quite a strong run for the affable wine merchant. His son Kenneth is his top assistant, working closely with Steve to find the best, value wines for their loyal clientele. Kenneth is fond of Zinfandel and other full-bodied reds, but he has developed quite a palate for all varietals in searching out wines that customers should try and like. As for Steve, he’s a global guru of every product in the store. Four years ago, he told me about a fantastic Malbec that was selling for $9 a bottle at the time. I had never tasted Malbec but this deep purple Chilean wine under the Gaston label turned out to be supreme. Later, it was selected as one of Wine Enthusiast magazine’s top 100 wines of the year and was rated 90 points. Steve had it pegged as a wine before its time.
“We aim to get quality wines that aren’t going to break our customer’s budget,” said Steve. “If you want a $100 bottle of wine, we have a few, but that’s not the market we are catering to. We want people to enjoy a great wine at a great price. We look for wines that are less than $20.”
Steve and Kenneth produced four “summer, barbeque wines” that they felt would go with a host of occasions or could just be enjoyed on their own. We tried the J Vineyards Pinot Gris (a Judy Jordan product), Victor Hugo Le Mis Rose from Paso Robles (CA), Goose Bumps red blend from Sicily, and Grady Family Vineyards Old Vine Zinfandel from Lodi (CA). Here’s the lowdown:
J Vineyards Pinot Gris: A Russian River Valley wine that captures great citrusy flavors. Think tangerine and orange blossoms. Liked the clean taste. Ken said this pairs well with Asian, Mexican, Thai and Chinese foods.
Victor Hugo rose: Light, fruity and semi-dry, this is a corker for opening up a meal or enjoying in the backyard or patio. Had some zest to it on the finish.
Goose Bumps from Sicily: This was a 70 percent Syrah and 30 percent Malbec blend and very velvety. Had a nice dark fruit flavor with a bit of peppery bite on the finish. Good for pasta and light meat dishes, even a hamburger
Grady Zinfandel: Packed a punch and made my tongue tingle. Jammy and berriful (is that a word?). I liked the mouthfeel and slightly mineral taste. This is a nice wine for almost any meat and pasta dish or barbeque ribs. Yeahh!
All these wines sell for less than $18 at Stadium Plaza Wine & Spirits. Go meet the Maciejewskis and take a stroll through their expansive store. You’ll enjoy the atmosphere and the their words of wine.