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Summer Sparklers
Summer weather has finally arrived. Here's some sparkling sugestions.

Photo by Thomas Nardini

A bottle of bubbly is the perfect refresher after a hot summer day. In fact, I kicked back with a bottle at Chill on the Hill in Bay View earlier this week, where a blues band filled the bandshell and a cool breeze fanned the crowd.

Here are two of my favorites. Both are a dry-style sparkling wine and would pair well with summer salads or grilled white meats or fish.

2009 Laetitia Vineyard & Winery Brut Rose (Arroyo Grande Valley, California, $28) is prepared using methode champenoise, and Chardonnay/Pinot Noir grapes, resulting in a very refined sparkling wine with berry notes.

Non-vintage Vilarnau Cava Brut Nature (Spain, $19) features a smooth mouth-feel and lingering finish, preceded by mild apple and pear notes. Chardonnay, Parellada and Macabeo grapes are in this Cava.


There’s free wine involved here – but you have to work for it. Tomorrow night at Bradford Beach, 2400 N. Lincoln Memorial Drive, from 5:30-7:30 p.m., is a beach cleanup followed by free wine from Barefoot Wine. Meet at the Bradford Beach pavilion/concession stand. Before you hit the sand, Todd Brennan from Alliance for the Great Lakes and Becky Leisch from Surfrider Foundation will give a little pep talk and explain why it’s important to clean up the beach this summer.


Discovery World’s Wine & Design series is on select Wednesday evenings this summer, with the next one on July 24 starting at 6 p.m. The three-hour event is for geeks of a different kind, although wine geeks are certainly welcome. Pay $20 and get a complimentary glass of wine followed by mingling in the Industrial Design Lab and then the grand event: learn to make your own terrarium. Everything is provided, right on down to the soil. (P.S. If you can’t make the July 24 event, no worries. Three more are scheduled: Aug. 14, Aug. 28 and Sept. 11.)


The 2011 Robert Mondavi Winery Fume Blanc Dry Sauvignon Blanc (Oakville, Napa Valley, California $20) is a delightful white wine that might even convert red-wine lovers. Only slightly acidic, there’s an overall crispness that also celebrates melon, floral and mineral notes. While Sauvignon Blanc grapes – normally zesty and acidic – are in this wine, the style leans more towards dry. Consider sipping this alongside summer fruits and greens salads. (robertmondaviwinery.com

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