The glory of summer is here, as I was recently reminded while enjoying a pleasant lunch at Aragosta’s outdoor patio overlooking scenic Boston Harbor on Battery Wharf. Joined by the Cooking Channel’s David Rocco, I was a sipping a nicely chilled Ruffino prosecco.
The glory of summer is here, as I was recently reminded while enjoying a pleasant lunch at Aragosta’s outdoor patio overlooking scenic Boston Harbor on Battery Wharf.
Joined by the Cooking Channel’s David Rocco, I was a sipping a nicely chilled Ruffino prosecco.
David is the perfect ambassador for the philosophy, conveyed by his television program, of la dolce vita, an Italian phrase meaning “the sweet life” or “the good life.” Anyone who has spent time in Europe knows no one enjoys life the way Europeans do, Italians especially. As they do with everything else, Italians crank up enjoyment of the good life to astronomical heights.
Sipping prosecco by the harbor on a bright, beautiful sunny day at a fine restaurant is the epitome of the good life, David mused. “How much better than this can it be?” I agreed and we talked about the joys of prosecco. It’s bubbly like French Champagne, but a little less fizzy and far less expensive.
Like the prosecco, Rocco is bubbly and upbeat. “The beauty of prosecco is you can drink it just like this, by itself, and it’s great on a day like today. Or you can mix it with peach nectar (a Bellini) or pear nectar or even orange juice, without feeling guilty,” enthused the show host. “At $12 to $14 a bottle, versus $30 to $50 or more for Champagne, you can mix it with anything. That’s la dolce vita.”
Assuredly, there’s no better way to celebrate a summer day than savoring a glass of prosecco by the water. Light and refreshing with only 11 percent alcohol, Ruffino prosecco is smooth and deliciously good. It’s a wonderful aperitif and food friendly.
Prosecco is made from the glera grape, which provides structure and body. Ruffino introduced its prosecco recently and it’s become popular and widely available. A large chianti producer since 1877, Ruffino notably began exporting the first Chianti sold in America 100 years ago.
Because they’re chilled, sparkling wines, including Champagne, cava, prosecco and other bubblies from around the globe, are great choices for summer sipping.
Other good choices for warm weather are rose wines from France, Italy, Spain and the United States. Served cool, rose wines are different from blush wines, such as white zinfandel, as they are not usually sweet. Noted for dryness and delectable strawberry and other fruit flavors, they are what Europeans drink along the French Riviera and other Mediterranean coastlines.
I recently sampled a 2011 Matchbook Rose of Tempranillo ($10) from California. It was very pleasant, although a tad sweeter than I prefer in a rose; I like mine dry. Still it was a well-made wine and enjoyable. Those who like a slight touch of sweetness will find it a hit.
Many wine lovers switch from reds to chilled whites in summer since they make hot, humid days more bearable. Sauvignon blancs from California, Chile, France or New Zealand fit the bill nicely. From France, they’re more subtle and drier, while New World offerings feature rich tropical fruit flavors such as melon, pineapple and citrus.
Portuguese whites such as vino verde or alvarinho are ideal for summer sipping. As is any Spanish white, including albarino, made from the same grape as Portugal’s alvarinho wines. They’re crisp, fresh and tasty and perfectly match chicken, fish and seafood dishes.
Those who are more adventurous should try Greek whites. Any you can buy in the U.S. will be promising.
Try Italian whites; they’re some of the best on the planet. I recommend those from grapes, such as arneis, falanghina, and vermentino for their unique and refreshing flavors. Friuliano wines from northern Italy are also excellent choices. Or drink Pieropan Soave ($15), always one of my favorite summer wines.
Chardonnay works, too, of course. I recently tasted, and loved, 2010 Ferrari-Carano Chardonnay for its perfect balance and succulent peach and honey flavors. A truly delicious wine.
Don’t make the common mistake of serving whites too cold. Over-chilling them numbs their superb aromas and flavors. If they are too cool, allow them to warm up in your hands and experience them at their best.
Mark P. Vincent is a Shrewsbury, Mass., resident who has a passion for wine. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.