Well hello, hot days of summer. It's that time of year when a cool glass of riesling or sauvignon blanc hits the spot a little better than a tummy-warming cabernet sauvignon. That was certainly the case a couple of weeks back at Raley's Grape Escape, the outdoor food and wine event where a glass of crisp Helwig sauvignon blanc matched well with the warm weather.
Wines that go a little easier on the alcohol, say under 14 percent, also tend to work especially well for summer. That's in part why riesling makes such a good choice for outdoor sipping. In addition, the residual sugar in many rieslings makes them pair perfectly with that spicy chicken coming off the grill. Also, look for summer wines that show off some acidity. That'll promote a nice quenching feeling on your palate.
Speaking of Helwig, this Amador County winery is about to kick off a summer concert series, which is another part of what we love about summer. Helwig has a concert amphitheater on its grounds, which includes standard chair seating and sections where you can kick back in lawn chairs or on blankets.
The season kicks off Saturday with the Blues Brothers tribute band known as Briefcase Full of Blues. No word yet if they're on a mission from God, as was the case with the Blues Brothers of movie fame.
Other acts include Craig Chaquico, the former Jefferson Starship guitarist and one-time Sacramentan, on July 14 and Pablo Cruise on Aug. 18. Also look for tribute bands during the summer covering the music of Styx and the Eagles.
For more information, including ordering tickets, call (209) 245-5200 or visit www.helwigwinery.com.
More music, more wine
Bogle Winery, 37783 County Road 144, Clarksburg, is in the midst of its own summer music series, with tunes on Friday from Opus. This free Friday Al Fresco event runs from 5 to 8 p.m. each Friday through Aug. 31. A rotating lineup of food vendors includes Heavenly Dog, Addy's Paella and more.
A glass of white wine, some live music and a little Delta breeze that's sure sounding good. For more information: (916) 744-1139 or www.boglewinery.com.