If you're feeling like a damp sponge in a steam room, you must be in Cincinnati in late July. Fear not, even when the heat and humidity settle in for their annual visit, there are still plenty of wines to be enjoyed if you drink the same way you dress for summertime in the city -- light and breezy. So put on the flip-flops and get out the wine glasses for another review of great wines for patio sipping.
·Alsatian Whites . The northeastern French region of Alsace is my go-to place for light, crisp whites that can dress up or down to suit just about any occasion and any budget. Alsatian whites can be found on the shelf as stand-alone varietals such as pinot blanc, riesling and blends such as Pierre Sparr "Alsace One," which combines pinot blanc, muscat, gewürztraminer and pinot gris.
Check out the offerings from such notable winemakers as Hugel et Fils, Albert Mann, Marcel Deiss and, for an extra special experience, Domaine Zind-Humbrecht whose Herrenweg de Turckheim Riesling (2001) is lush and elegant, perfect with seafood.
·Rosé from Old and New Worlds . If the idea of a blush wine takes you to embarrassing wine moments ("We drank that?"), be not afraid of the emerging world of rosé. If you are still a white zinfandel drinker (and even if you're not), you've not had a real rosé experience unless you've sampled the approachable offerings from France, Spain and even Italy. Rosé wines range from dry to off-dry and often enjoy being served somewhat chilled. A great summer wine with food and for just sipping on the patio, rosés worth investigating include Cavalchina Bardolino Chiaretto from Italy.
·Easy Breezy Beaujolais . With its light, fruity style, beaujolais often gets cast for its well-known form of beaujolais nouveau and its popularity around Thanksgiving. A close cousin to burgundy (pinot noir), beaujolais in its more mature form is an easy-to-drink red, perfect for a hot summer evening. Let it enjoy a little time on ice before serving. When possible look for the single-village or "cru" offerings from such makers as Georges DuBoeuf. This is also a great option if you want to ease into the world of reds with baby steps.