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White-Hot Patio Pounders
Close out your summer with these affordable white wines.

Paired with gorgeous autumn weather, the porch and backyard are still plum opportunities to sip wine chez-vous. What better way to close out the summer months than with a patio pounder? These are white wines that don’t cost much at all yet deliver a lot on the palate. From Italy to California, and even Australia, here are a few selections. All cost under-$14.

2010 Mark West Chardonnay (Central Coast, California, $13) delivers a floral backbone on a light, almost delicate body, as well as gooseberry and tropical-fruit notes that are paired with bright acidity. (www.markwestwines.com)

2011 Hahn Estates Winery Chardonnay (Monterey County, California, $14) is light and buttery, with notes of nectarine and green apples. (www.hahnestates.com)

2010 Deakin Estate Moscato (Victoria, Australia, $7) is rich with ripe peach and sweet apple notes and Moscato’s trademark effervescence.  (www.deakinestate.com.au)

2011 Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Sauvignon Blanc (California, $8) is crisp and snappy, with tropical-fruit notes accented by spices and lemongrass, and barely any detection of oak for a crisp, clean finish. (www.robertmondavi.com/woodbridge)

Martini & Rossi Moscato d’Asti opens up with honeysuckle notes which lead into a nicely balanced, refreshing palate that swings to the sweeter side. (www.martini.com)

Sunday Fun Day. It’s got a nice ring, no? Thief Wine Shop & Bar just announced a new deal at its Shorewood location. Beginning this Sunday – and only on Sundays – snag a 25%-off discount on all wines by the glass (this includes the 2-ounce tastes and carafes, which is enough for two and a half glasses) and flights too. There are 37 wines by the glass and five flights (but with the option to make your own flight, that’s when the options start multiplying). The best part of this Sunday Fun Day deal? It’s a deal that lasts the entire day, from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. That means if you roll out of bed and your palate craves a Napa Cab instead of a cup of black coffee there will be no judgment. Promise.

Hidden River Art Festival, hosted at Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts, is pulling out all the stops this year with a new beer, wine and cheese tasting. “Art by Design: Beer, Wine and Cheese Tasting” is on Saturday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. All the wines are from WineStyles in Brookfield and all the cheeses, naturally, from within the state (Widmer’s Cheese Cellars, Sartori, Saxon Creamery, Clock Shadow Creamery and Holland’s Family Cheese). Before you dip your palate into the goods, there are two seminars focused on wine. Katie Espinosa, Bacchus general manager and sommelier, talks about Champagne production at 12 p.m. and at 12:45 p.m. Rendall Thomas (owner of WineStyles in Brookfield) hits the stage to talk about styles of wine. Tasting tickets cost $35 and include festival admission.

As a Wisconsin transplant it didn’t take me long to realize I needed to be a Packers fan … or else. And so last Sunday, during a layover at Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport, I hunkered down with a glass of wine at a sports bar surrounded by 49ers fans (shudder). Now, airports have never been known to pour rare, boutique wines, so after studying the list of mass-production offerings I settled on a glass of 2010 Rodney Strong Vineyards “Charlotte’s Home” Estate Sauvignon Blanc (Sonoma County, California, $15). While the Packers may have lost I felt like I hit on a rare winner in the world of mass-produced wines: passion-fruit notes mingle with floral notes, and the finish is snappy and crisp. (www.rodneystrong.com)

Homepage photo by Chris Kessler.

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