Light sparkling wines just right for the picnic basket

Published: Wednesday, Jun. 27, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 3D
Last Modified: Wednesday, Jun. 27, 2012 - 8:36 am

Let us sing the praises of picnic wines. In the market just as summer is heating up are several simple, inexpensive, lightly sweet sparkling or semi-sparkling wines.

These are light-bodied wines, mostly with 7 percent alcohol. They're unserious wines, to be drunk extra-cold. You can jam a bottle into your ice chest, maybe even pour it over ice.

First come four wines imported by the Coleccion Internacional del Vino – wines called Bellini, Mimosa, Sparkling Moscato and Pink Moscato.

The Bellini is inspired by the sparkling-wine-and-peach-nectar drink invented in 1948 by Giuseppi Cipriani, the bartender at Harry's Bar, the haunt of Ernest Hemingway and Orson Wells. The Mimosa, historians speculate, was invented at the Ritz Hotel in Paris in 1925 (another Hemingway haunt; is there a pattern here?), or maybe a French bartender stole the recipe from a London tavern that called it "Buck's Fizz." CIV's Mimosa and Bellini wines are made of natural sparkling grape wines with orange concentrate or peach aromas added.

Another summer wine, Mionetto's Il Spritz, is a semi-sparkling white wine with citrus flavors and herbs added. Mionetto makes Il Spritz of white prosecco grapes, citrus and a few drops of red wine from tempranillo. What do they go well with? Whatever's in your picnic basket.

Recommended: 2010 Opera Prima Mimosa, by J. Garcia Carrion Winery (7 percent alcohol), La Mancha, Spain: sweet and fizzy, with orange aromas and flavors; $8.

2010 Opera Prima Bellini, by J. Garcia Carrion Winery, La Mancha, Spain (7 percent alcohol): sweet and fizzy, with peach aromas and flavors; $8.

Nonvintage Opera Prima Sparkling Moscato, by J. Garcia Carrion Winery La Mancha, Spain (7 percent alcohol): intense aroma of fresh grapes. It's also sweet and fizzy; $8.

Nonvintage Opera Prima "Pink Moscato" Wine, Vino de la Tierra de Castilla," Spain (7 percent alcohol): sweet and fizzy, with red berry flavors from the addition of tempranillo, the red grape famous in Rioja; $8.

Nonvintage Mionetto's Il Spritz Semi-Sparkling White Wine (prosecco grapes with citrus and herbs), Valdobbiadene, Italy (8 percent alcohol): Neon orange in color, lightly fizzy and lightly sweet, with citrus and herb flavors; $10.

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