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Senior editor James Laube, Wine Spectator's expert on the wines of California, joined the magazine in 1983.
James Laube

A Refreshing Blush Wine with Fried Zucchini Blossoms

Calera Pinot Noir Central Coast Vin Gris of 2009

James Laube
Posted: June 24, 2010

My garden has delivered already, with some surprises. The first to produce: cilantro, which is great with many foods, including tacos. Then came the zucchini blossoms (which I’d forgotten about), bright yellow-orange in color and hiding within the prickly arms of the octopus-like zucchini plant.

Squash blossoms are delicious to pan fry. I make mine with a simple batter of milk, flour and egg and put a dab of goat cheese inside the flower before frying in canola oil. The batter can keep for days, which is good since the blossoms just keep coming. They have a narrow window to pick—if you miss them they wilt.

The recent heat wave called for a lighter, chilled wine, so I chose a Calera Pinot Noir Central Coast Vin Gris. Vin gris wines fall under the category of rosés, as they are made as white wines from red grapes, without maceration (steeping grape skins and solids with the juice to extract color, tannins and aromas). Calera’s 2009 has fresh, ripe, vivid strawberry and raspberry flavors and vibrant acidity. Fried zucchini blossoms have a delicate vegetal edge and the Calera was an ideal companion. Nothing too serious, with the cuisine or the wine, but the crisp, refreshing vin gris added a nice touch of summer fruitiness. I gave it 87points, non-blind.

WineSpectator.com members: Read the original blind-tasting review for Calera Pinot Noir Central Coast Vin Gris of 2009, (87, $16).

• Plus, get scores and tasting notes for more recently rated California rosés.

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