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Summertime Wine
By Abbie Gellman

Lightning bugs illuminate the sky. The song of crickets resonates the air. I take a sip of Sauvignon Blanc and a wave of relaxation washes over me. Summer is finally here. Summer provides a wonderful opportunity to experience new things, particularly new wines. Whether you are picnicking, firing up the grill, or sitting on the back porch watching the sunset, a glass of wine can make any moment complete.

A myriad of white wines are available for every occasion. Craving a slightly acidic, earthy flavor? Try a glass of Sauvignon Blanc, with its characteristic grassy undertones. New Zealand and Bordeaux, the largest wine region in France, produce great Sauvignon Blanc winesat a reasonable value. For something slightly sweet, try a bottle of Riesling. Alsatian Riesling is typically drier in style while classic German Riesling is sweeter with hints of green apple and apricot. If exotic spiciness is what you desire, have a glass of Gewürztraminer from Alsace, France.

Rosé wines are an excellent choice for afternoon picnics. They are typically separated into two main categories: the light pink, sweet style rosé and the redder, dry style rosé. Navarra, Spain, is a large producer of both types of rosé wines. Also look to France's Loire Valley for sweeter rosés and Italy for drier rosés. It is important to note that rosé wines need to be chilled before serving and are best paired with summer salads and sandwiches.

For something more robust, choose red wines. Be sure to remember, however, that many red wines can overpower summer food and appear heavy when drunk on a balmy summer evening. Grapes such as Pinot Noir, with its low tannin and supple lushness, and Merlot, typically full of fruity flavors, go well with a burger or steak fresh off the grill. Pinot Noir, also called Burgundac and Pinot Nero, can be found in France's Burgundy region, Oregon's Willamette Valley, and California's Russian River Valley. These areas produce delicious, quality wines. For Merlot, look to Bordeaux, whose wines are typically made with a Merlot-Cabernet Sauvignon blend, or California, which produces bottles of 100% Merlot.

Whether you prefer white, red, or rosé as your wine of choice, remember to sit back, relax, and soak up summer.

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