We often want to have something to drink before we sit down at the table — the wine equivalent of the chef’s amuse-bouche for us to nibble — and that wine should have milder flavors and good acidity to help us prepare for food.
Although rosés and sparkling wines can also be served with food, they are excellent choices to begin a meal, especially in the summer, when we appreciate something cool and crisp. Here are some recent choices, along with a solo sangria and a riesling.
Mumm Napa Brut Rosé NV ($20). Nice body, but with crisp strawberry favors — very refreshing.
Mumm Napa “Cuvée M” Napa County Sparkling Wine NV ($20). A frou-frou sparkler with soft-and-fuzzy fruitiness and sugary creaminess with light acidity in the finish.
Moët et Chandon “Grand Vintage” Rosé 2006 (about $75). An excellent wine, very engaging and lively with a lingering richness, it is full-bodied with slight tangy fruit and fresh-tasting brioche flavors.
Vietti “Cascinetta” Moscato d’Asti 2014 ($16). A delightful frizzy and fizzy wine with low alcohol — just 5 percent — lightly sweet with toasty almond flavors, yet crisp and refreshing. Drink all you want!
Cricova “Crisecco” Moldova Brut NV ($12). Spicy green fruit, like a very herbal sparkling gewürztraminer.
Michel Torino Calchaqui Valley Rosé 2014 ($15). Three words — fruity, herbal, juicy — with flavors of cherries and very-ripe strawberries.
Stinson Monticello Rosé 2014 ($19). Fresh strawberry flavors followed by good crispness — friendly, not severe. Made from mourvèdre grapes.
Crios Mendoza Rosé of Malbec 2014 ($15). A bonbon wine — soft and fluffy with a center of maraschino cherry, just off-dry with a crisp acidity. One glass would do it.
Michel Chapoutier Bita-Haut Pays d’Oc Rosé 2014 ($12). Beautiful ripe-cherry fruitiness, very rounded, with medium body and a somewhat crisp finish.
St. Urbans-Hof “Urban” Mosel Riesling 2014 ($11). Definitely a sipping wine — rather simple, spicy, and somewhat sweet with fair balancing acidity.
Mija Sangria NV ($8). Its cranberry fruit juice flavors are somewhat somber, like a French aperitif.