The summer of 2012 has been a hot one in Minnesota (and the hottest on record nationally). Combine that with an early spring and suddenly we are in the midst of sweet corn and heirloom tomato season!

We polled some members of our staff for their wines picks to go with our traditional Minnesota summer bounty. Here is what they said:

“For tomatoes Brandywine, Cherokee Purple and the White Wonders are some of my favorites.  Wedged and mixed on a plate with fresh basil and Balsamic their individual flavours bounce off each other.  Just salted is good too.  Add Buratta cheese and you’ve a meal.  As to wine my choice is Sangiovese.  The tomatoes punctuate the fruit of the wine.  Chianti is the way to go but choose a lighter appellation; Fiorentini or Senesi.  Rosso di Montalcino works great.” – Larry Colbeck

“Fresh Minnesota Sweet Corn = CCC (Colbeck, Corn, Chardonnay).  A fresh corn dish that Larry & Colleen prepared for my husband and I some years ago continues to be a family favorite in our house this time of year.  Fresh sweet corn stir fried to bring the natural sugars to their purest peak then integrate some fresh thyme and a few other supporting ingredients, now pair it with a White Burgundy (from Macon) absolutely heavenly!” – Robbin Hilgert

“When buying sweet corn off the back of a pickup truck a stones throw from where it was picked mere hours after it was picked, it really only needs a little butter and salt. Even the perfect medium rare ribeyes take a back seat on the plate. Something this good should be accompanied by a wine that matches the season.  I’m a sucker for Gruner Veltliner and Italian whites like the Ottella Lugana this time of year, but I’m overly fond of the Gamling and McDuck Chenin Blanc at the moment. There were all of 80 cases made and I seriously doubt that such a limited production wine has been doted over more by a winemaker. Santa Ynez fruit but very Loire inspired. It’s not often enough I get to use “California” and “balanced” in the same sentence. Not an easy find, but worth the trouble to find.  Before the basil tries to go to seed on me again I will be making Caprese at least a couple more times. As often as possible I will be pairing it with the Selvapiana Chianti Rufina. This is a wine that made me fall in love with Chianti all over again. I urge you to go find your own bottle. Run, don’t walk.” – Josh Landy

“Corn — I like my corn still crunchy, so cooked only a few minutes (perhaps a few more if you’re grilling it). This way it is remains sweet and has great texture. Any longer and for me, the corn’s integrity is lost. I also don’t eat much butter as a condiment- its just not something I grew up on. So, for me a toasty, creamy, butter-ish Chardonnay is the way to go here- I go straight to California for this one! And that Trefethen Double T sure seems like it would fit the bill perfectly! However, I think it would be perfectly acceptable to go even more toasty if that is youre personal style!  Tomatoes — I have fond memories when I was young of spending time with my farmer grandfather and eating tomatoes warm from the sun, right off the vine. Fresh juicy tomatoes are a summer highlight for me! With tomatoes I like a higher acid red. In the summer I gravitate towards Spain for red since there are so many great higher acid reds at an affordable price! I suggest Volver or Sierra Cantabria Crianza, as, I admit, I love me some Tempranillo!” – Gina Borella

“I love Minnesota sweet corn season!  I like to prepare mine by husking them, par-boiling, then placing them back into the husks and finishing them on the grill to bring those roasty-toasty flavors to the Summer table.  Of course, finishing with a hefty dose of Danish butter and a dash of salt enhances the perfection!  My wine of choice for this type of preparation would be an unoaked California Chardonnay, very attractively priced such as Clos La Chance Hummingbird.  With smoky foods, I really love to enjoy clean and fruit-focused wine…the delicious citrus, pineapple, and tropical flavors in this Chardonnay, along with its full body and slight tanginess is the perfect sip for this Minnesota favorite.” – Julie Bollig

Inama Soave Classico! This wine has the acidity to put a Black Prince in its place while holding a viscous palate that loves the starchy quality of a nice ear of corn. The notes of ripe pear in the mid palate compliment nicely both the sweetness of the corn and the rustic quality of the Prince.  A perfect summer wine all around but paired with these two one would think some mind reading was going on.” – Tom Lloyd

“Give me a chilled-just-right Austrian Riesling.  Generous fruit, bracing acidity and low(ish) sugar.  Boy-oh-boy…the pleasures of late August in the upper Midwest enhanced by the fruit of Austria.” – Jeff Nelson

What are your thoughts? What will you be pairing with tomatoes and sweet corn?

Photo courtesy of Flickr user libraryman
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