Plonk of the month

Here comes the sun

(Stephen Meuse for The Boston Globe)
By Stephen Meuse
Globe Correspondent / July 29, 2009

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It hasn’t been the warmest or sunniest of summers here. Blue sky has been a little hard to come by. To judge by our neighborhood, this hasn’t meant a mass withdrawal indoors so much as a retreat in the direction of anything with a roof. Last week I watched my neighbor Bob grill his supper, remotely, by standing under the overhang of his tiny back porch and running out into the drizzle now and then to poke the flank steak on his Weber.

If wine really is sunshine held together by water, as French philosopher and essayist Michel de Montaigne claimed, perhaps it’s to our wine cellars we should be looking for a bit of supplementary solar radiation. This little group of whites from sunny climes is pretty much guaranteed to deliver the rays.

Il Fae’ Marca Trevigiana IGT Nibesa Prosecco NV Curious, small-caliber, lower-alcohol (11 percent) sparkler from the Veneto with pleasing floral/spicy aromas, a nice round feel, and fine zip. Ideal warm-weather aperitif and a real mood lifter. Around $12, At Salem Wine Imports, Salem, 978-741-9463; Colonial Spirits, Acton, 978-263-7775; Giles Fine Wine, Woburn, 781-933-0932.

Quinta de Azevedo Vinho Verde 2008 Vinho verde is picnic wine par excellence, and the choice for days when the heat makes anything more substantial seem burdensome. A scant 10.5 percent alcohol is part of it, the rest is sheer charm. Sip with cold roast chicken or a tuna salad sandwich and see if you don’t agree (especially after you see the price). Around $8. At Winestone, Chestnut Hill, 617-264-0393; Brookline Liquor Mart, 617-734-7700; Whole Foods, River Street, Cambridge, 617-876-6990; Salem Wine Imports.

Domaine la Haute Févrie Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie 2007 If there’s fish on the grill we’re reaching for the Muscadet, and so should you. This one’s a cafe classic: brisk and savory with a whiff of sea air, a tickle of fizz. Hello, good buy. Around $12. At Federal Wine & Spirits, Boston, 617-367-8605; Gordon’s Fine Wine, Waltham, 781-893-1900; Giles Fine Wine.

Domaine du Rin du Bois Touraine 2008 Time to fess up: We’re not sauvignon blanc’s biggest fans. But we’ll make an exception when the style is restrained and the aromatics don’t wear us out after one glass. This is fresh, simple, pleasantly fruity. Around $11. At Seiyo Sushi and Fine Wine, South End, 617-447-2183; Menotomy Beer & Wine, Arlington, 781-646-0889; Fifth Avenue Liquors, Framingham, 508-872-7777; Federal Wine & Spirits.

La Vis “DiPinti’’ Trentino Pinot Grigio 2008 A problematic varietal hijacked by mass marketers a decade or so ago. To get the goods you have to return to the source: Italy’s extreme north. Bright, fruity aromas and a nice round mouthful; mineral notes add interest; more character than you expect for the price. Around $12. At Harvest Co-op, Cambridge, 617-661-1580; Andover Liquors, Andover, 978-470-0500; Ralph’s Derby St. Wine & Spirits, Hingham, 781-749-9463.


Stephen Meuse can be reached at