Donna MacPherson slid a slice of peach onto the side of the chilled wine glass. Standing by the bar at Golden Isles Olive Oil Gourmet Market & Wine Bar in Redfern Village on St. Simons Island, she stepped back to admire her work.
“This is perfect for summer ... it’s cold and refreshing,” she said of the frosty concoction.
The creation — a peach wine slushy — is one that her customers have been thoroughly enjoying during the toasty season. “Everyone has loved this and it’s nice that it’s from Georgia ... it’s from Arlington. It’s a muscadine wine, bursting with pure Southern flavors,” she said.
And it is all about exploring flavors at MacPherson’s establishment, which is part tasting room, gourmet shop and special event space. Like the wine slushy, she enjoys branching out to see what interesting tastes and experiences she can offer guests.
In addition to serving salads, paninis and small plates, they also offer wine to enjoy onsite, as well as an expansive gourmet shop. Golden Isles Olive Oil offers classes on wine and food, as well as themed events and entertainment.
The classes, MacPherson notes, have been particularly well-received.
“Ruth Ryberg, who is a sommelier, gives a wine class every month. She takes different regions of the world, like Burgundy or New Zealand. That’s been a big hit,” she said. “On Tuesday nights, we have wine tastings of different wines from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. with entertainment. It’s always posted on our website,www.goldenislesoliveoil.com.”
For MacPherson, keeping her patrons engaged by switching up the program is key. That is also true for exploring different wines. That, she adds, is especially true during the summer.
“The ‘dog days of summer’ have officially begun. People really love the light and zesty pinot grigio and ladies love the rosé ... rosé all day, you know. We have a beautiful Cote de roses that is a great example of that,” she said with a laugh.
“There’s also the four graces which is a pinot noir from Oregon and is known to be one of the best in the world.”
Here is MacPherson’s list of wines perfect for backyard barbecuing, beach day vibes or front porch sitting:
• Banfi Le Rime
Toscana Pinot Grigio
Pinot grigio is the second most popular white wine in MacPherson’s lineup. And this Italian vino fills many a summer glass.
“A zesty white wine from the hillside vineyards in the southern part of Tuscany,” she said. “Temperature-controlled fermentation stainless steel tanks lead to hints of pear and white flowers, well balanced with an unusually lively acidity. It’s a delightful complement to antipasto, pasta and light meals.”
• Cotes de Roses French rosé
The bottle in itself is interesting — the bottle offers an elegant cut glass base in the shape of a rosé.
“This beautiful rosé yields from the Languedoc region of France. The warm windy climate of this region helps the grapes ripen in good healthy condition, while retaining a fresh quality thanks to the altitude and influence of the sea,” MacPherson said.
“With its soft, pale, brilliant pink color, the bouquet releases aromas of summer fruits, cassis and red currant. Floral notes of rose along with hints of grapefruit complete the picture.”
• Four Graces Pinot Noir
Named for the four daughters of the vineyard’s founders, this wine was crafted in the Willamette Valley in Oregon. The area is known for yielding the best pinot noirs on the planet.
“The bouquet offers pleasant aromas of raspberry, bing cherry and hints of earthy forest floor mingle. The palate exudes bright red fruit flavors of cherry and cranberry complemented by a focused mid palate of black pepper and light roasted coffee beans,” MacPherson said.
Confederate Peach Wine Slushy
• 2 bottles of Still Pond Confederate Peach Wine (750 ml) plus more for blending
• 2 1/2 cups fresh sliced Georgia peaches
• 1/4 cup powered sugar
In a food processor or blender, add sliced peaches, sugar and 750 ml bottle of peach wine. Blend until peaches are completely incorporated. Pour into ice cube trays and freeze.
When ready to serve them up, place frozen cubes in a blender. If it is too icy and needs thinning, drizzle in wine until you reach the desired consistency. Pour mixture into a chilled wine glass. Top with a splash of wine. Garnish with fresh peace slices and enjoy.