2011 Conde Villar Vinho Verde Rosé ($10): Strawberries and raspberries commingle to produce a refreshing and slightly spritzy rosé that is just the right wine to open on the patio. Just a touch of sweetness is balanced out nicely by citruslike acidity. You might also pair this with brunch-type food.
2009 Treana White ($18): A great alternative to rich and full-bodied chardonnay, this blend of 50 percent each Viognier and Marsanne has a creamy, toasty and floral component. From the central California coast, Treana would be an excellent accompaniment to broiled lobster with drawn butter.
Bugey Cerdon Sparkling Gamay ($16): From the foothills of the Alps in the Jura Mountains of eastern France, this sparkling rosé is composed of 80 percent Gamay and 15 percent Poulsard, an indigenous regional grape. There is just a touch of chardonnay added to provide some body to the strawberry and cherry flavors. Sip it as an aperitif before dinner or with chocolate-based desserts. This is a very pretty and tasty wine.
A great Saturday-night special
While Sebastiani is a legendary winery in California known for its value-based quality wines, they also produce among the best of the best in the wine world. Try this one for that special occasion:
2008 Sebastiani Cherryblock ($80): This is definitely a special-occasion or celebration wine. Earthy aromas with a hint of cigar box lead to a silky smooth Bordeauxlike wine with complex flavors of cola, plums and dark fruits. It is an elegant wine that will continue to develop for a decade or more. Try it now with filet mignon in a mushroom demi-glace sauce.
For more on the art and craft of wine, visit John Brown's Vines & Vittles blog at thegazz.com.