I’ve always been partial to a picnic. My earliest and fondest memories of summer, were those halcyon days of childhood, enjoying our sardine and cucumber sandwiches (we lived large), while listening to the cricket commentary on the single speaker car radio. Summer is the season when I don’t suffer the hostility normally chucked at me when I pop my red wine into an ice bucket. In summer, we all chill out and the rules seem to be filed away in our winter drawers (an unfortunate expression for which I almost apologize). And, as you know, I have no particular hang-ups about which wines go with which foods.
Whatever pops your cork. So here are some wines that have recently been added to my shopping list for summer quaffing:
■ Mulderbosch Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé 2013 (approximately $12) is a South African temptress. The packaging is amazing. Or to put it another way: It rocks! And this is a serious pink wine — it’s made from 100 percent Cabernet Sauvignon. This sexy salmon colored nectar has a lovely summer fruit flavor that delivers far more than you would expect for the price.
■ Berlucchi Franciacorta 61 Rosé (approximately $22) is a beautiful bottle of fizz from Italy made from the same grapes used in the best sparkling wines on the planet (even Champagne): Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. And the wine is aged for about 2 years before it is shipped out to us. When you sniff around your glass the first impression will be a freshly baked croissant and then the taste is full of delicious strawberry/raspberry flavors. You can have summer sunshine in your glass all year round.
■ Francis Ford Coppola Votre Santé Chardonnay is a win-win Chard, as it will appeal to the fermented-in-wood nerds as well as the fermented-in-stainless-steel geeks. As half of the juice is aged in one and the other half is … well, aged in the other. The wine, thankfully, isn’t overly creamy and rich, which always tends to be a total turnoff for me. There were plenty of yummy summer fruits dancing on my tongue and that lemony zing one expects from good Chards. The Votre Santé Chateau Red is an amazing bottle of wine. And, as regular readers, and listeners, know only too well, I have a penchant (with a capital P) for the grapes grown in the Rhone region of France: Mourvèdre, Syrah and Grenache, and this wine is a blend of these three varietals, and a smattering of a few more). The grapes are grown in both warm and cool regions of California to add complexity to the wine. And top marks to the winemaker because this is a much more defined and structured wine than I expected. It has a deliciously smooth red berry flavor and it’s very easy to finish in one sitting. I made lamb kebabs (the winery recommended lamb for this wine so I decided to test drive the two together) and they were spot on. The wines sell for approximately $14.
‘Tis the season to be jolly must surely apply to summer. Cheers!
Phillip Silverstone’s column appears each week in this newspaper. “Time Out With Phillip Silverstone” is heard worldwide anywhere and anytime on Tunein Radio. On their app search: Phillip Silverstone or on the web at http://bit.ly/1kqcRmk. New podcasts are available every Saturday. For more information about Phillip: http://www.thesilverstonecollection.com