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Summer Wine Suggestions
We have some zesty options. Plus: popcorn made with wine.

Summer wines can be tricky. You want something refreshing, crisp but not sugar-y sweet. Bradley Wooten, sommelier at Mason Street Grill, offers up a few primers to help sift through the offerings that can help quell a humid evening. “Any low-alcohol, high-acid offering is always a crisp and refreshing off-set to the warmer and often humid Wisconsin summers,” he says, pointing to Rosé and Champagne as two solid examples. Also perfect for summer are Torrontés, Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc (bonus if it’s from New Zealand, with higher levels of acidity and zestier than in other wine-growing regions). And is there any beverage more synonymous with summer than a tart, tangy glass of sangria? When pondering what wine to use in your sangria recipe, Wooten suggests picking up a $3 bottle. “Any time you are going to use wine as a mixer, plan to never spend a lot of money on it,” he says. “Get creative and add in your favorite fruits. Peaches are great in white wine.”


Who doesn’t like a free wine tasting? Every Friday at Waterford Wine Co. this is exactly what takes place. From 4-7 p.m., Cold Heaven wines from Morgan Clendenen – with her ex-husband she founded the celebrated Au Bon Climat winery in Santa Maria, Calif. – will be poured at no cost, including 2010 Much More Pinot Noir, 2010 Cold Heaven Never Tell Pinot Noir and 2010 Domaine Des 2 Mondes, with special pricing deals on these wines. It’s a great opportunity to taste what Santa Ynez Valley terroir can do.


Five years ago, Thief Wine Shop & Bar opened inside the Milwaukee Public Market, followed by a Shorewood location, and the owners want you to celebrate the anniversary. Naturally, wine is involved. On July 21, from 4:30-6:30 p.m. head to the second floor of the Milwaukee Public Market and enjoy cake, light nibbles, live music and 50-plus wines for $35. The ticket price includes a Riedel tasting glass that’s yours to keep. Call 414-277-7707 for your ticket. Need to see a list of the wines? It’s on the website and will be updated until the event.


Speaking of summer wines, Kim Crawford’s Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough, New Zealand, $16) never fails. Vintage after vintage, it’s packed with gooseberry, peach and lemon notes that sail into a snappy finish. Only the 2012 vintage comes with a twist: The New Zealand winery partnered with Populence to release a kettle corn that features this very wine. Purchase it at populence.com ($28 for a one-pound tin), and you’ll swoon like I did. Or, make a batch at home using this very simple recipe.

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

¼ cup popcorn kernels

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 tablespoon Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc

2 teaspoons fresh lemon zest

salt to taste

  1. Heat oil for 90 seconds at medium-high heat in a covered pot.
  2. Add three kernels to the hot oil, return the lid, and begin swirling the pot.
  3. Once two of the three kernels have popped, add the remaining 1/4 cup. Close the lid and swirl again.
  4. In the next 30-45 seconds add the sugar, Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc and lemon zest. Quickly close the lid and vigorously swirl the pot to distribute evenly.
  5. Swirl once every 30 seconds before popping begins and continuously swirl the pot once the kernels begin to pop.
  6. Turn the heat off once popping has slowed to three seconds between pops.
  7. Empty the pot onto a cookie sheet to let the kettle corn cool and dry. Caution: caramelized sugar is very hot.
  8. Sprinkle salt to taste.


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