It’s hot outside. You’re an adult. You’re thirsty. You might as well drink something delicious.
So I asked a few of my wine friends for some recommendations on affordable, refreshing wines to sip during Florida’s hottest month. Here are their suggestions:
William Lucius, wine director, Cru Cellars, Tampa
A transplant almost five years ago to Tampa from Jackson Hole, Wyo. — “where there is no humidity” — he jokes that he since has become an expert on this topic. “All joking aside, I feel like the following wines are perfect to get us through the rest of our relentless heat during Florida’s summer,” Lucius says.
Edmunds St. John Bone-Jolly 2013 Gamay Noir rosé — Sourced from Witters Vineyard in El Dorado County, California, this wine is bright, focused and has great pinpoint acidity on the finish. “One of our favorite rosé wines in the shop at $21.99.”
Broadbent Vinho Verde NV — Hailing from Portugal, this is one of the ultimate beach wines, he says. Coming in at 9 percent alcohol, this is ultra crisp, minerally and slightly frizzante. “The hotter it gets, this wine becomes easier and easier to drink by the gallon.” Cost: $11.99 a botttle.
Zudugarai 2013 — This wine from northwestern Spain is produced from the Hundarrabi Zuri grape varietal. Spaniards serve from a Porron from great height over the glass to accentuate the delightful fizzy character of the wine. “Txakoli has long been one of our staff favorites and we are currently pouring this by the glass as well as $17.99 per bottle.”
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Jodi Fritch, aka “Tampa Wine Woman.”
White wine lovers may want to try:
Pewsey Vale Dry Riesling — From Australia’s Eden Valley, the wine has “great Riesling aromas and flavors without the sweetness,” Fritch says.
♦ Tenuta Ca’Bolani Pinot Grigio — “Pinot grigio is easy and comfortable. This wine is light and refreshing with great acidity.”
And for fans of red wines:
♦ Chateau de la Perriere Brouilly — A Beaujolais from France, this is a great picnic wine. Fritch suggests chilling it slightly. “Beaujolais and burgers can’t be beat,” she says. Perriere is also perfect with a meat and cheese tray.
If you need a little sweet relief, she suggests:
♦ Zonin Baccorosa — This Italian sweet wine is like a glass of summer berries. “Great with chocolate brownies,” says Fritch.
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Bill Stobbs, Tampa-area wine supervisor of ABC Fine Wine & Spirits:
♦ Marques de Olivara Joven — A young (joven) wine from Toro in Spain. “Full-flavored but light enough to enjoy on a hot afternoon,” Stobbs says.
♦ Vista Peak California Pinot Noir — “Surprising quality for an under $10 Pinot Noir, this wine shows night fruit and is a joy to drink.”
♦ Monili Montepulciano d’Abruzzo — “This Italian is the perfect under-$10 wine. It is excellently suited to barbecue, burgers and pizza. Nothing else needs be said except — enjoy!”
Halfway There moves west
One of the best beer events last year was the Halfway There Rare Beer Festival put on at the Cuban Club in Tampa to promote the halfway point to Tampa Bay Beer Week.
This year, the event moves to the more comfortable indoor confines of The Coliseum in St. Petersburg at 6 p.m. Sept. 6.
Tickets are $50 for general admission and $75 for VIP. They can be purchased on Eventbrite.com.
Beer Experience returns
When I was first learning about craft beers, I would go to an annual tasting at the Mahaffey Theater in downtown St. Petersburg, where dozens of breweries would gather to give samples. It was an outstanding way to learn about beer styles and discover the many nuances between labels. I’m glad to say the Mahaffey is still putting on great beer events. The 97X Beer Experience on Saturday by Great Bay Distributors will showcase more than 100 craft beers.
Participating local breweries include: 3 Daughters Brewing (St. Petersburg); Big Storm Brewing (Odessa); Big Top Brewing (Sarasota); Brooksville Brewing (Spring Hill); Coppertail Brewing (Tampa); ESB Brewing (Tampa); Florida Avenue Brewing (Tampa); Motorworks Brewing (Bradenton); Pair O’ Dice Brewing (Clearwater); Rapp Brewing (Largo); and Tampa Bay Brewing (Tampa).
Tickets are $30 in advance, $35 at the door if available and on sale now at tickets.themahaffey.com