For a road trip, bring a six-pack — of vino

Rosa dei Masi from Italy s Veneto region

Rosa dei Masi from Italy s Veneto region

It’s party pack time, a six-bottle sampler for a weekend getaway or an extended trip to the beach.

In my mind, the key to any good summer road trip includes a rosé, a crisp white wine, and a punchier red varietal or blend.

Andiamo! (Let’s go!)

THE ROSATTOS: There are simple, good rosés, and then there are the complex, intriguing styles that turn happiness into total bliss.

Costaripa Rosamara Chiaretto from the Lake Garda region in Lombardia

Costaripa Rosamara Chiaretto from the Lake Garda region in Lombardia

Two sublime examples are Rosa dei Masi from Italy’s Veneto region and Costaripa Rosamara Chiaretto from the Lake Garda region in Lombardia. (Both are available for less than $15 in New Hampshire.)

The Masi company is one of Italy’s leading wine innovators as well as producer of the prestigious Costasera Amarone...

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Taster’s Choice: Four wines to kick start summer

Montes Cherub Rosé 2016, Chile

Montes Cherub Rosé 2016, Chile

The Mill City Oenophiles Club made its spring debut earlier this month, sampling an impressive array of five summer wines from Argentina, Chile and Italy’s Venezia Giulia region.

Four of the wines — two rosés, a Pinot Noir and a Cabernet Sauvignon — are discussed in this article. The fifth wine tasted, a Sauvignon Blanc, proved to be such an outlier with this grouping that it will be discussed in a later column dealing with the varietal.

Everyone’s palate is different. We all have unique preferences, so just because one person might be cool to a certain bottling doesn’t mean the wine is lacking in quality.

As tasters — or consumers — gain experience and knowledge, they discover and appreciate the “markers” that make up a well-crafted wine...

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More to Cycles Gladiator than a sexy label

The label for Cycles Gladiator Chardonnay is from a bicycle ad poster created in Paris in 1895 to attract women buyers. In 2009, the Alabama Beverage Control Board banned the label — and the wine — from sale because of its "immodest" characterization.

The label for Cycles Gladiator Chardonnay is from a bicycle ad poster created in Paris in 1895 to attract women buyers. In 2009, the Alabama Beverage Control Board banned the label — and the wine — from sale because of its “immodest” characterization.

California’s Central Coast wine-growing region isn’t as well known to the general public as Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley, but true oenophiles know this six-county zone is producing very exciting wines at affordable prices.

Vineyards stretch from Santa Barbara County in the south to San Francisco Bay in the north...

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Frankly, Finger Lakes is wine heaven

The Dr. Konstantin Frank winery in upstate New York, one of the most amazing grape-growing areas in America.

The Dr. Konstantin Frank winery in upstate New York, one of the most amazing grape-growing areas in America.

When you see the name Dr. Konstantin Frank on a wine label, it represents an American success story derived from the Ukrainian immigrant who used his brains and brawn to turn the Finger Lakes Region of upstate New York into one of the most amazing grape-growing areas in America.

For years, viticulturists struggled to grow high-quality grapes in the five-lake region. They blamed it on the cold weather and a short growing season that kept grapes — especially red varietals — from ripening fully.

DrEnter Dr. Frank, a professor of plant sciences with a Ph.D. in viticulture, who arrived in the United States in 1951 and later took a job at Cornell University.

Dr...

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5 wines to cure your spring fever

I’ve got spring fever for rosé and lighter white and red wines.

Lately, I’ve been sampling a bunch with the Wine Goddess, my wife Mary Lee, and here are five you should consider for your patio drinking pleasure. Most of these wines can be found in fine wine stores throughout the area and Greater Boston.

Ruffino Sparkling RosNV, Italy, $15

Ruffino Sparkling RosNV, Italy, $15

Ruffino Sparkling Rosé NV, Italy, $15 — This is one of the most exciting sparklers I’ve tasted so far this year (of course, it’s still early in the season). It combines the Glera grape, the foundation for the Veneto’s famous Prosecco wine, and small amounts of Pinot Noir. Both grapes are fermented separately as still wines and then combined in pressurized steel tanks...

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3 experts (and 1 novice) select top Easter wines

We’ve reached a new milestone. This is Wine Novice’s fifth annual Easter wine column, and it wouldn’t be possible without the oeniphiles who look forward to the selections and, of course, the expert contributors who make them. (See my “novice” list.)

Thanks to our three specialists, there are 26 fabulous wines to peruse and choose. Surprisingly, more than half are white or rosé, showing an emerging trend for aromatic, expressive and crisp styles for the holiday dinner.

Enjoy!

difiore

Andrea DiFiore, Wine and Store Manager, Andover Classic Wines

Andrea DiFiore, Wine and Store Manager, Andover Classic Wines

* Col de Salici Prosecco Vintage 2013, $21.99 — Toast family and friends at Easter for all the blessings we have. A single vineyard Prosecco with hints of pears and wisteria in bloom...

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Hot Washington summer boosts Bledsoe’s offerings

Bledsoe Family Wine

Bledsoe Family Wine

April showers bring … wonderful surprises from Walla Walla, Washington.

On Tuesday, a new shipment from Drew and Maura Bledsoe’s Doubleback winery arrived on my doorstep.

It included bottles of the highly anticipated 2014 Doubleback Cabernet Sauvignon ($94), 2015 Bledsoe Family Wine ($44) and 2016 Healy Rosé ($28).

The 2014 growing season in Walla Walla Valley was hot, but not as extreme as in 2015, when temperatures soared above 100 degrees for nearly 10 consecutive days and wildfires made it to the eastern edge of the downtown district in July.

Doubleback Cabernet Sauvignon, signed by the former Patriots QB.

Doubleback Cabernet Sauvignon, signed by the former Patriots QB.

But Walla Walla is a unique place. The nearby Columbia River Gorge channels light breezes into the valley for relief...

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Post House Penny Black is stamped for your approval

In the glass, the Post House Penny Black looks inky-black, like the limits of outer space.

In the glass, the Post House Penny Black looks inky-black, like the limits of outer space.

If you’re looking for an exquisite new red wine for an adventurous palate, try the 2014 Post House Penny Black from South Africa.

This is wine every postal worker should want to call his/her own. More on that later.

Penny Black is one of the inkiest, black-colored wines I’ve ever seen. Once in the glass, it looks like the outer limits of space. Beyond the darkness, however, is a truly luscious blend of four estate-grown red grapes — Shiraz, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot — and one fragrant white, Chenin Blanc.

The reds collaborate for intense dark cherry, black currant, raspberry, chocolate and peppery flavors...

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Goldschmidt Cabernets big, bold and beautiful

Chelsea Merlot 2014, $15.99

Chelsea Merlot 2014, $15.99

The only thing missing from a tasting of Nick Goldschmidt’s California wines was the winemaker himself.

I wrote Goldschmidt an email with several questions about the wines sampled recently at the Wine ConneXtion, and he quickly responded: “Sorry I am out of the country completing harvest down below the equator. … Sorry for the inconvenience but thanks for the email.”

He’s probably in his native New Zealand, where the harvest runs from February to April. (The California cycle runs from September to November.)

Goldschmidt Vineyards, which Nick launched with his wife Yolyn in 1998 in Healdsburg, Calif., has an international portfolio to go along with its domestic label.

Nick has worked on wine projects throughout the Southern Hemisphere, South America and Californi...

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His haul is finding quality inexpensive wines

Some of the wines former trucker Joe Meunier, distributes through his company, World Wide Wine of England, include, Fabiana Kalema Primitivo Salento IGT 2012, Cormons Schioppettino Collio DOC 2013, and Gino Alteo Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2010.

Some of the wines former trucker Joe Meunier, distributes through his company, World Wide Wine of England, include, Fabiana Kalema Primitivo Salento IGT 2012, Cormons Schioppettino Collio DOC 2013, and Gino Alteo Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2010.

What impressed me at the 2017 Boston Wine Expo held in February were the quality of wines on display and their affordable prices. The only problem is finding these wines — especially foreign products — in local shops. Many small producers don’t have national or regional distributors.

That’s where Joe Meunier comes in.

Meunier is a former freight hauler from Holbrook who saw the need to give small producers a leg up...

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