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Bob Lipinski

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By Bob Lipinski

Bob Lipinski

Lodi, the largest and most important Central Valley AVA (American Viticultural Area) designated in 1986, is home to over 20 percent of California’s total wine grape production, with over 100,000 acres of vineyards. 

Located in the northern part of the San Joaquin Valley, just south of Sacramento, on the eastern edge of the Sacramento River Delta, Lodi is slightly cooler than much of the Central Valley because as temperatures rise, marine breezes are pulled from San Francisco Bay, creating a distinctly cooler climate than the rest of the valley. Lodi’s sub-AVAs are Alta Mesa, Borden Ranch, Clements Hills, Cosumnes River, Jahant, Mokelumne River, and Sloughhouse.

The city was originally called Mokelumne (Mokul is a corruption of the Miwok word for river, and umne means “people of”), and was established as a town in 1869 after a group of major landowners persuaded the Central Pacific Railroad to make it a stop between Stockton and Sacramento. The town of Mokelumne was often confused with the nearby communities of Mokelumne Hill and Mokelumne City, which often delayed mail and shipments of goods and supplies. For these reasons, the town’s name was changed to Lodi in 1874.

Lodi is home to both large brands, like Sutter Home and Robert Mondavi Woodbridge, and over 85 small boutique wineries, many of whom specialize in “old-vine” Zinfandel production. In addition, many leading California wineries buy Lodi grapes, including E. & J. Gallo, Constellation, Fetzer Vineyards, Delicato, Napa Ridge, Ravenswood, and Beringer, among others.

Lodi is considered the “Zinfandel Capital of the World,” producing over 30 percent of California’s premium Zinfandel. Many of the city’s most distinctive Zinfandel wines come from about 2,000 acres of Pre-Prohibition, “old vines,” some dating back to the 1880s. These vines are naturally low-yielding due to age, but consistently produce high-quality grapes. Besides Zinfandel, major grapes grown include Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Syrah, Petite Sirah, and over a hundred other varieties.

Some recommended wineries to try Zinfandel from are:

Berghold Vineyards

Borra Vineyards

Gnarly Head Wines

Harmony Wynelands

Harney Lane Winery and Vineyards

Ironstone Vineyards

Jeremy Wine Company

Klinker Brick Winery

Lange Twins Family Winery

Macchia Wines

McCay Cellars

Mettler Family Vineyards

Michael David Winery

Oak Farm Vineyards

St. Amant Winery

Van Ruiten Family Vineyards

“What is the best California wine?” Now it is impossible to answer that question as phrased. The range of wines is wide and the list of different types and their makers is long. (Lindley Bynum, Davis Bynum Winery Inc.)

Bob Lipinski is the author of 10 books, including “101: Everything You Need To Know About Whiskey” and “Italian Wine & Cheese Made Simple” (available on Amazon.com). He consults and conducts training seminars on Wine, Spirits, and Food and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at www.boblipinski.com OR [email protected]

Pixabay photo

By Bob Lipinski

Bob Lipinski

For years, chefs, critics, and food writers have been telling us that red wines need to be paired with red meats and white wines with white meats or fish. This is what I call “The One Size Fits All,” concept and doesn’t take into consideration the multitude of recipes that fall “outside the box” and don’t adhere to the old “red with red wine and white with white” rules.

Some classic recipes that include fish cooked or served in a red sauce are spaghetti with red clam sauce, bouillabaisse (and other fish stews), baccalà (dried cod) in a rich tomato sauce, and lobster fra diavolo in a spicy tomato sauce. Besides these, there are hundreds of recipes for fish cooked in a red sauce and many are great paired with red wine.

Often, it is not the type of fish that determines which wine to drink, but the type of sauce, and the herbs and spices that have been used in the dish’s preparation. Fish can be poached, boiled, broiled, grilled, blackened, crusted, and so forth. It’s all about the texture of the fish after cooking. A poached fish is a simple dish that is silky tasting but lacks texture. The same fish blackened gives it a heartier texture that can stand up to a light-bodied, dry red wine.

Pixabay photo

A young, full-bodied, oaky, and tannic Cabernet Sauvignon pairs well with beef. Yet, paired with fatty, oily, or smoked seafood, the tannins in the wine react with fish oils producing a fishy, metallic, tinny taste, and aftertaste. It would be better to serve a young, fruity, light-bodied, higher-acid, dry red wine that is low in tannin.

Some red wines that pair with fish are Pinot Noir, Barbera, Bardolino, Gamay (Beaujolais), Grignolino, Carignan, Montepulciano, and Sangiovese. These reds are also terrific with fleshier fish, such as tuna, shark, swordfish, and especially salmon. In addition, because they are in higher in acidity, oily fish like sardines, anchovies, mackerel, and bluefish also pair well with these wines. The acid helps balance the oils in the fish, similar to why we squeeze lemon onto fish.

Besides red wines, dry, crisp rosé wines like the wines from Provence and Tavel, France, and others made from Cinsaut, Grenache, Sangiovese, and Tempranillo grapes are great with shellfish (clams, oysters, mussels), scallops, shrimp, crab, and lobster. They are also pair well with a chilled shrimp cocktail sauce or mignonette served over oysters.

Don’t always follow the rules; create your own!

Bob Lipinski is the author of 10 books, including “101: Everything You Need To Know About Whiskey” and “Italian Wine & Cheese Made Simple” (available on Amazon.com). He consults and conducts training seminars on Wine, Spirits, and Food and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at www.boblipinski.com OR [email protected].

Pixabay photo

By Bob Lipinski

Bob Lipinski

It was over 30 years ago that the Dean of Italian Wine Writers, Burton Anderson, when writing about world-class grape varieties, decreed that France has Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir, and Germany has Riesling, but Italy, has three that the others do not: Aglianico, Nebbiolo, and Sangiovese. Let’s take a look at them.

Aglianico: A thick-skinned, high acid red grape variety, which according to legend was brought to Italy by ancient Greek settlers around 800 B.C. However, there is no evidence to support that hypothesis. The Aglianico grape is grown in southern Italy: Apulia, Calabria, and Molise, but flourishes in Basilicata and Campania. Aglianico is used in more than a dozen DOC wines and three DOCG wines, Aglianico del Taburno, Aglianico del Vulture, and Taurasi.

Sensory characteristics of Aglianico include: Intense ruby-red color, distinctive complex fragrance, and flavor of berries (blackberry, cranberry, raspberry), black currants, cherries, red licorice, and plums, with nuances of bitter chocolate, black pepper, leather, truffles, violets, and earth.

Nebbiolo: A thin-skinned, high acid red grape variety grown principally in Piedmont. Nebbiolo produces wines that are usually rough and tannic when young but with age evolve into wines of extraordinary power, depth, and complexity. The Nebbiolo grape doesn’t provide a lot of color to the wine, which accounts for the sometimes orange or brick color. Nebbiolo is used to produce Barolo, Barbaresco, Gattinara, Ghemme, Roero, and many other wines.

Pixabay photo

Sensory characteristics of Nebbiolo include: Ruby-garnet color that mellows into orange. An intense bouquet and flavor of berries (blackberry, cranberry, mulberry), cherry, jam, and dried fruit, along with almonds, black pepper, black tea, cedar, cinnamon, coffee, licorice, mint, mushrooms, nutmeg, plum, spices, and an earthy bouquet of forest leaves, truffles, and violets.

Sangiovese: A thin-skinned, high acid red grape variety grown in most of Italy’s 20 wine-producing regions. It is grown principally in Tuscany where it produces Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino, Morellino di Scansano, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Carmignano, and many other wines. Its name is believed to come from Sanguis Jovis, Latin for Jupiter’s Blood. Sangiovese is also known as Brunello, Morellino, and Prugnolo Gentile.

Sensory characteristics of Sangiovese include: Aromas and flavors of berries (blackberry, blueberry, cranberry, mulberry, raspberry, strawberry), black pepper, black tea, chestnut, jam, fennel, licorice, mint, mushroom, nuts (almond, hazelnut), plums, red currants, and sour cherry, with a bitter-almond aftertaste. Hints of balsam, cinnamon, lavender, leather, sage, and violets.

There are many world-class grape varieties … you just need to know where to look!

Bob Lipinski is the author of 10 books, including “101: Everything You Need To Know About Whiskey” and “Italian Wine & Cheese Made Simple” (available on Amazon.com). He consults and conducts training seminars on Wine, Spirits, and Food and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at www.boblipinski.com OR [email protected]

Photo by David Ackerman

By Leah S. Dunaief

Leah Dunaief

Maybe it sounds like I’m tooting our horn too much, but I have to say how proud I am of the columnists who write for our papers and website. They are clearly bright and offer the reader information and knowledge that aren’t usually found even in a big metro daily or a glossy magazine. They are, collectively and individually, one of the main reasons our hometown newspapers have managed to survive while so many of our colleagues, 25% of them in the nation, have had to shut their doors.

Readers want to learn from our regular columnists, who, by the way, are local residents. That’s not surprising, though, because the population we serve is exceptional, accomplished in their own right, and can be expected to harbor such talent. Let me explain.

The columnists are found in the second section of the newspaper, called Arts & Lifestyles. In the interest of full disclosure and without false modesty, I point out and salute my youngest son, Dr. David Dunaief. He is a physician totally committed to helping his patients, and the high regard is returned by them in equal measure, as testimonials about him confirm. In addition, he writes every week about current medical problems and brings readers up to date with the latest research and thinking regarding common ailments. I know him to be a voracious reader of medical journals and he footnotes his sources of expertise at the end of every “Medical Compass” column. 

Dr. Matthew Kearns is a longtime popular veterinarian who writes “Ask the Vet,” keeping our beloved pets healthy. Michael E. Russell is a successful, retired financial professional who cannot cut the cord with Wall Street, and  shares his thoughts on the economy and suggesting current buys on the stock market. He will also throw in something irreverent, or even askance, to keep you tuned in. 

Also writing knowledgeably on the contemporary scene about finance and the economy is Michael Christodoulou, who is also an active financial advisor. Ever try to read your auto insurance policies? If I had trouble falling asleep, they would knock me out by the second paragraph. Enter A. Craig Purcell, a partner in a long-established local law firm, who is attempting to explain auto insurance coverage, a merciful endeavor, with his column. His words do not put me to sleep. Shannon Malone will alternate the writing for us. Michael Ardolino, a well-known realtor, somehow manages to make both ends of a real estate transaction, for buyers and sellers, sound promising at this time. 

Our lead movie and book reviewer is the highly talented Jeffrey Sanzel. In addition to being a terrific actor, he is a gifted writer and almost always feels the same way about what he is reviewing as I do. No wonder I think he is brilliant.  Father Frank has been writing for the papers for many years and always with great integrity and compassion. 

John Turner, famous naturalist and noted author and lecturer, keeps us apprised of challenges to nature. This is a niche for all residents near the shorelines of Long Island. He also writes “Living Lightly,” about being a responsible earth dweller. Bob Lipinski is the wine connoisseur who travels the world and keeps us aware of best wines and cheeses.

Lisa Scott and Nancy Marr of the Suffolk County League of Women Voters, keep us informed about upcoming elections, new laws and important propositions. Elder law attorney Nancy Burner tells us about Medicare, estate planning, wills gifting, trustees, trusts and other critical issues as we age.

The last columnist I will mention is Daniel Dunaief, who, like bookends for my salute, is also my son. Among several other articles, he writes “The Power of Three,” explaining some of the research that is performed at Stony Brook University, Brookhaven National Labs and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. He makes a deep dive into the science in such a way that layman readers can understand what is happening in the labs. He has been paid the ultimate compliment by the scientists for a journalist: they pick up the phone and willingly talk to him, unafraid that he will get the story wrong or misquote them. In fact, he has been told a rewarding number of times by the researchers that his questions for the articles have helped them further direct their work.

When my sons began writing for TBR News Media, a few readers accused me of nepotism. I haven’t heard that charge now in years.

P.S. Of course, we can’t forget Beverly C. Tyler and Kenneth Brady, stellar historians both.

Provolone cheese. Pixabay photo

By Bob Lipinski

Bob Lipinski

Provolone cheese has been enjoyed for decades by not only Italian-Americans, but the vast majority of the population. Regardless of whether it is imported from Italy (mainly from the south) or made domestically (mostly in Wisconsin), Provolone is enjoyed by itself or in a multitude of food recipes. 

Auricchio is the best-known brand of Provolone on both sides of the Atlantic. Gennaro Auricchio founded the Auricchio Cheese Company in San Giuseppe Vesuviano, near Naples, Italy, in 1877. In 1979, Gennaro’s great-grandson, Errico Auricchio, moved his family to the United States, and they settled in Wisconsin for the abundance of top-quality milk.

Provolone is classified in Italy as a pasta filata (plastic curd) cheese, which translates as “spun paste.” The curd is heated in hot whey, then kneaded or spun in long threads (similar to string cheese) until it is transformed into a soft and pliable ball suitable for shaping that can be hard or soft. Other examples are caciocavallo, mozzarella, and burrata.

Provolone, a cow’s milk cheese (once made from water buffalo milk), is light golden yellow in color, with a waxed exterior and creamy ivory interior. It is made in various shapes and sizes, including rectangular, ball, oval, round, wheels, and a giant salami (known as gigante). Depending on the age of the cheese, it is smooth to hard in texture with a mild to quite tangy and even sharp flavor. 

Provolone is good for grating when hard. It is available in three styles — dolce (sweet) with a sweet and delicate flavor, which is aged for two to three months; piccante (piquant), sharp and slightly salty, which is aged longer; and affumicato, which is smoked for one week, then aged for two months.

Provolone cheese. Pixabay photo

Provolone cheese is made in several of Italy’s regions. Some examples are:

Provolone del Monaco: A semi-hard, provolone cheese made in Campania, has a russet exterior and hazelnut color interior. It is cylinder-shaped with a pleasing, sweet, buttery flavor and a light, pleasant taste.

Provolone Lombardo: A provolone cheese made in the provinces of Brescia and Cremona in Lombardy.

Provolone Valpadana: A provolone aged several months, which is made in the regions of Emilia-Romagna, Lombardy, Trentino-Aldo Adige, and Veneto. It has a firm texture and mild aroma, which sharpens with age.

Provolone pairs well with many red and white wines, including reds: Dolcetto, Merlot, Primitivo, Valpolicella, Zinfandel; and whites: Orvieto, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Soave. It is also wonderful paired with a dry sherry wine.

Bob Lipinski is the author of 10 books, including “101: Everything You Need To Know About Whiskey” and “Italian Wine & Cheese Made Simple” (available on Amazon.com). He consults and conducts training seminars on Wine, Spirits, and Food and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at www.boblipinski.com OR [email protected].

Cognac. Pixabay photo

By Bob Lipinski

Bob Lipinski

Cognac is a brandy distilled from the fermented juice of grapes in the province of Charente and is also the name of a region in the southwest of France, north of Bordeaux and southwest of Paris. The re­gion’s stony, chalk-rich soil (because of ancient oyster beds), its climate, the specific grape varieties grown there, and the methods used in distilling, blending, and aging the brandy, gives cognac its unique flavor.

Cognac AOC area of production was first defined in 1909 and then finalized in 1938. The six defined grape-growing areas are Grande Champagne, Petite Champagne, Borderies, Fins Bois, Bons Bois, and Bois Ordinaires (Bois à Terroirs).

The following grape varieties are used to produce cognac: Ugni Blanc, Colombard, Folle Blanche, Montils, and Sémillon, with lesser amounts of Folignan. The grapes are harvested quite early, ensuring a wine with a low alcohol content and a very high acid level.

The wine must be double distilled in a copper pot still called an alembic Charentais. After the cognac has been distilled, it is put into barrels that are made of oak from the Limousin or Tronçais forests. The oak has a considerable influence on the bouquet and taste of the cognac. When cognac is put in the barrel, it is about 70 percent alcohol and is clear in color. During the aging process, the oak from the barrels imparts taste, color, and odor to the final product, turning the clear spirit into a mellow, golden drink. The older a cognac becomes, the smoother its flavor and the subtler its aroma.

Most cognacs are blends that combine brandies from varying sections and vintages into a final product. In the town of Cognac, there are barrels of cognac that have been aging for a hundred years or more.

Label designations as of 2018

VS/ Three-Star (***): aged a minimum of 2 years

Supérieur: aged a minimum of 3 years

VSOP/ Réserve/ Vieux: aged a minimum of 4 years

Vieille Réserve/ Réserve Rare: aged a minimum of 5 years

Napoléon / Très Vieille Réserve: aged a minimum of 6 years

XO/ Hors d’Âge/ Extra/ Ancestral: aged a minimum of 10 years

 XXO: aged a minimum of 14 years

Enjoying Cognac

Although most people prefer not to mix cognac, young­er (VS, or three-star) cognac makes delightful highballs when mixed with soda water, leaving the palate more receptive to wines. Cognac and freshly squeezed orange juice make an enjoy­able cocktail. After dinner, cognac is the perfect companion for coffee.

Bob Lipinski is the author of 10 books, including “101: Everything You Need To Know About Whiskey” and “Italian Wine & Cheese Made Simple” (available on Amazon.com). He consults and conducts training seminars on Wine, Spirits, and Food and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at www.boblipinski.com OR [email protected].

METRO photo

By Bob Lipinski

Bob Lipinski

Recently I was invited to a friend’s house for dinner and as we enjoyed a few appetizers, he served a bottle of a 1998 Australian Chardonnay from a winery I’ve never heard of. The wine was dark yellow and when tasted, it was well past its point of drinkability.

According to my friend, the wine was stored in his temperature-controlled cellar for over 10 years. He was dismayed to learn that some wines need aging, but the vast majority are best drunk when released for sale by the winery.

I explained that there is no precise answer when a wine will be at its peak because wines age at difference paces. The vintage, growing conditions, winemaking and barrel or stainless-steel aging, also plays a part in wine’s ability to age. The aging curve of wine depends on the location and conditions where the wine will be stored. Also, personal taste plays a significant role in the enjoyment of wine. As an example, many people enjoy champagne when first released with its youthful freshness, while others enjoy the more mature, bottle-aged versions.

Vintage charts and vintage reports, often touted by online sources, will provide you with a ballpark idea when the wine will be at its peak. They often say, “drink by this date or hold until that date.”

Wine’s longevity can be attributed to many factors, among them higher acidity, higher alcohol, carbonation, concentrated fruit, sugar (residual), and tannin, which is an antioxidant.

Not all wines are age-worthy, and in fact, most wines available for sale are not. Wines that benefit from years in the bottle (cellar) tend to be more expensive. I generally purchase several bottles of the same wine and after a few years, open one bottle and see if it’s approaching maturing. Then I decide (with some guesswork) when the next bottle should be opened.

Except for most Chardonnay, Riesling, and sweet wines, white wines should be consumed within three years after the vintage. Most red wines are best between four and seven years after the vintage. Red wines that can age much longer than seven years include Amarone della Valpolicella, Barbaresco, Barolo, Bordeaux, Brunello di Montalcino, Burgundy, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Chianti Classico Riserva.

My rule for aging wine is simple. I’d rather open a bottle of a young wine and say, “It tastes good now but will be better in ‘X’ years” rather than opening a bottle of wine aged for many years and say, “It was probably good several years ago, but now it’s over-the-hill!”

Bob Lipinski is the author of 10 books, including “101: Everything You Need To Know About Whiskey” and “Italian Wine & Cheese Made Simple” (available on Amazon.com). He consults and conducts training seminars on Wine, Spirits, and Food and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at www.boblipinski.com OR [email protected].

Margarita
Bob Lipinski

By Bob Lipinski

“One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor.”  — George Carlin

There are many stories as to the origin of the Margarita cocktail. One story states that Danny Negrete, the manager at the Garci Crespo Hotel in Puebla, Mexico, created it for his girlfriend in 1936. Others believe it was created in 1938 in Rosarito Beach, Tijuana and named after showgirl Marjorie King, who was allergic to many distilled spirits except tequila. Danny (Carlos) Herrera, the bartender, kept inventing new and exciting ways to serve tequila so Marjorie would not be bored.

Another story has it created by a Virginia City bartender in memory of his girlfriend who was accidentally shot during a barroom brawl. A further legend places the birth of this cocktail in Hollywood in the 1940s by Enrique Bastante Gutierrez, a former cocktail champion who mixed drinks for some of the world’s most famous film stars. Actress Rita Hayworth (whose real name was Margarita Carmen Cansino) was one of his loyal customers and he invented the drink especially for her.

Another version of its origin has the cocktail made by bartender Don Carlos Orozco at Hussong’s Cantina, in Ensenada, Mexico, who named it after his girlfriend. Yet another story takes place on July 4, 1942, in Juárez, Mexico, where Francisco “Pancho” Morales, a bartender in Tommy’s Place, a favorite hangout for GIs from Fort Bliss, concocted the cocktail. According to Pancho, a woman entered the premises and ordered a cocktail called a Magnolia. He didn’t know the ingredients, so he whipped together his own version of a Magnolia and called it a Margarita, Spanish for daisy. 

The most plausible version has the Margarita created in 1948 in Acapulco, Mexico, by a San Antonio, Texas socialite Margarita Sames. To impress Nicky Hilton, of the Hilton Hotel family, she mixed three parts tequila, two parts Cointreau, and one-part lime juice.

Margarita
Margarita

Yield: Makes one cocktail

Ingredients:

1-1/2 ounces tequila

1-ounce triple sec liqueur (minimum 60 proof)

3/4 ounce freshly squeezed lime (or lemon juice)

coarse salt for the rim of the glass

crushed ice

slice of lemon as a garnish

Directions:

Either shake the ingredients or put into a blender.  Then, take a wide-brim glass and place it upside down in a small bowl containing lemon or lime juice and then into another bowl that contains salt to a depth of ¼-inch, which leaves a thin layer on the rim of the glass. Fill the glass and garnish with lime or lemon slice and serve.

Bob Lipinski is the author of 10 books, including “101: Everything You Need To Know About Whiskey” and “Italian Wine & Cheese Made Simple” (available on Amazon.com). He consults and conducts training seminars on Wine, Spirits, and Food and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at www.boblipinski.com OR [email protected].

A pint of beer. Pixabay photo

By Bob Lipinski

Bob Lipinski

Although there are dozens of styles of beer produced globally, the most commonly consumed are those labeled “lager” and “ale.” Within these two categories are many lesser-known styles, some hundreds of years old that are well worth searching out. Eight that I recommend are:

Altbier (Germany): “Alt” refers to the “old” style of brewing (i.e., using top-fermenting yeast) that was common before bottom-fermenting lager brewing became popular in the mid-eighteenth century. They are copper-colored ales with a high barley and hops content. The traditional style of beer found in brewpubs in Münster and the Altstadt (“old town”) section of Düsseldorf.

Gose (Germany): An old-style beer that originated in the Middle Ages in the town of Goslar on the Gose River in Lower Saxony (Sachsen). Gose is a highly carbonated, tart, and fruity wheat ale with a citrusy, tangy, and salty flavor, low in bitterness with hints of coriander.

Kölsch (Germany) Light gold-colored ale brewed since the Middle Ages, but the beer now known as Kölsch was developed in the late 1800s. It is dry with a very subtle tart fruit and hop character. Kölsch is an appellation protected by the Kölsch Konvention (1986) and is restricted to the 20 or so breweries in and around Cologne (Köln).

Lambic (Belgium): A family of spontaneously fermented ales generally brewed near Brussels. They are often aged up to three years in barrels. Some ingredients added during the brewing process are brown sugar, cranberries, peaches, raspberries, sour cher¬ries, and wheat. Most of the beers are winy, distinctively sour, and somewhat acidic, almost resembling vermouth rather than beer. Some examples of lambic beers are Faro, Framboise, Gueuze, and Kriek.

Gueuze (Belgium): A lambic-type ale made by mixing one, two, and three-year-old lambic beers. It is moderately sour, acidic, and highly effervescent with aromas of apple, rhubarb, and leather.

Kriek (Belgium): A lambic-type ale that has been further fermented by adding sour or bitter black cherries to produce a dry beer with an unusual cherry flavor. Some similarity to a kir royale.

Rauchbier (Germany): An amber to dark-colored lager beer, with a smoky, bacon-like aroma and flavor. It is brewed by adding malt that was dried over smoking beechwood, before being brewed, making it intensely smoky. It is brewed in the city of Bamberg, in Franken.

Saison (Belgium): Translates to season. A sharply refreshing, amber-colored, summer seasonal ale that is fruity, moderately bitter, and has a slightly sour taste. It is brewed in Wallonia, the French-speaking part of Belgium.

Bob Lipinski is the author of 10 books, including “101: Everything You Need To Know About Whiskey” and “Italian Wine & Cheese Made Simple” (available on Amazon.com). He consults and conducts training seminars on Wine, Spirits, and Food and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at www.boblipinski.com OR [email protected].

Pixabay photo

By Bob Lipinski

Bob Lipinski

Cocktails come in many colors, flavors, sizes, and smells, and are often decorated with various colorful garnishes, including tiny tiki umbrellas! 

Besides the usual rum vodka, gin and tequila-based cocktails, there are many made from whiskey, brandy, and a multitude of liqueurs. And in some books, you might find cocktails (also nonalcoholic) made from wine and even beer.

Cocktails made from wine are perfect for hot weather, regardless of if you’re at the beach, pool, or just relaxing in a shaded area. They contain less alcohol than traditional cocktails and are great for entertaining.

Cocktails made with champagne, Prosecco, or other sparkling wines add a bit of festivity in every sip. I have chosen four Prosecco wines and four cocktail recipes for your enjoyment.

Corvezzo Prosecco “Extra Dry” DOC, Treviso (made from organic & vegan Glera and other grapes). Light yellow color with an aroma of brioche, pears, and celery. Clean with a flavor of honeydew, peaches, and apples.

2020 Corvezzo Prosecco “Rosé Extra Dry” DOC, Treviso (made from organic & vegan Glera and Pinot Noir grapes). Light strawberry color with an aroma and flavor of red fruits, berries, and tropical fruit. A lingering aftertaste of red apples and red licorice.

Gancia Prosecco “Brut” DOC, Veneto (Glera grapes). Straw yellow with green highlights. Delicate aroma and flavor of green apples and pears. Dry with a crisp, citrusy flavor and hints of honeysuckle and orange.

2020 Gancia Prosecco “Rosé Extra Dry” DOC, Veneto (blend of Glera and Pinot Noir grapes). Intense pink color with an aroma of raspberries, strawberries, and tropical fruit. Off-dry, with a clean, crisp flavor of pears and peaches.

Cocktail recipes

Pineapple Mimosa

1 ounce coconut rum

2 ounces pineapple juice

4 ounces Gancia Prosecco “Brut”

Put the first two ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a glass. Top with Prosecco, stir, and top with a pineapple slice and cherry.

Gin & Prosecco

1-1/2 ounces gin

3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice

1/2 ounce simple syrup (or agave)

3 ounces Corvezzo Prosecco “Rosé”

Put the first three ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a glass. Top with Prosecco, stir, and add a lemon twist.

Italian Cocktail

1-1/2 ounces Campari

5 ounces Corvezzo Prosecco “Extra Dry

In tall glass, add Campari, then Prosecco and stir.

Rosé Prosecco With Strawberries

Fill a flat saucer champagne glass with sliced and hulled strawberries (about five). Pour 4 ounces of Gancia Prosecco “Rosé” over the strawberries. Top with sour cream and sprinkle with brown sugar.

Bob Lipinski is the author of 10 books, including “101: Everything You Need To Know About Whiskey” and “Italian Wine & Cheese Made Simple” (available on Amazon.com). He consults and conducts training seminars on Wine, Spirits, and Food and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at www.boblipinski.com OR [email protected]