What to Drink this Summer Part 1: Pancake Cellars' Big Day White Wine

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On Thursday, ChicagoNow will be relaunching its website, complete with a new redesign and new features. The He Sipped / She Sipped blog will also relaunch, with polls, twitter feed, and new contributors. Stay tuned for a complete list of our new writers; but for now, check out this post written by John Taylor, one of our new Sippers!
Face it: Just because you’re barbecuing doesn’t mean that you can’t cut back on the calories. Summer means trips down to the beach, visits to the pool, and shedding that extra layer of clothing. You can’t hide behind that hoodie anymore. It’s time to swap those burgers with leaner eats!
For summer wines to complement your diet’s downsizing, look no further than Pancake Cellars’ Big Day White ($4.99). The wine, a Trader Joe’s exclusive, pairs well with lean summer lunches. My friends and I fired up some Thai Grilled Chicken, threw in some crisp greens with pecans and apple slices, and topped things off with a chilled glass of the Big Day White. 
The label calls the wine a “freak of nature.” This description is fairly accurate: the wine consists of 38% Sauvignon Blanc, 26% Viognier, 17% Chardonnay, 13% Muscat Canelli, and 6% Pinot Blanc. Despite the intimidating list of specialty whites, this flavor cocktail is more mild meditation than overpowering fruit punch. 
Now let’s get down to specifics. The color, a silky peach, is much like the flavor – subtle. With a good swirl, the nose gives off a refreshing apple scent. The wine is full bodied, and brings the taste of peach to mind. There are some pear undercurrents for good measure. Thanks to a low tannin count, the wine leaves little more than a lovely velvety finish. The label suggests parse “cantaloupe” notes; that sounds about right. 
Though the bite is alarmingly gentle, the wine manages to bottle an alcohol count of 12.9%, so be careful to avoid having too much fun at lunch. In case you have any leftover for your next summer meal, the wine gurus at Trader Joe’s mentioned that this bottle also pairs well with virtually any white meat, in addition to most pastas. My local wine guru, Jim, swore his life on the benefits of pairing a chilled glass with some pesto pasta.
As for a blended wine, the flavors in the Big Day White complement each other splendidly. Call this the “shotgun” of cheap white wine; it pairs well with a wide variety of dishes. And though this wine is far from being a high-end affair, it’s a pleasant surprise. That Trader Joe’s can sell a cocktail of this caliber for a mere five dollars is astounding. 
For more suggestions of wines to drink this summer, check out this post from last year. Also, stay tuned for more “What to Drink this Summer” posts on our blog!
John Taylor is a freelance writer living in Chicago. He loves anything that can be explained in a couple of words or a handful of books. In short, anything food, drink, philosophy or music related. Follow him on Twitter @johntaylortweet.

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