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Five versatile – and affordable — wines for summer meals outside

With the summer months fast approaching and spring weather in full swing, it is time once again to fire up the grill and set out the lawn chairs for cookouts, BBQs and quality time in the sun.

And as you plan your 109-style meals and parties on the deck or patio, it’s important to find the right beverage – the one that complements spring and summer dishes.

Chris Keel, owner of Put a Cork In It Wine Shop located at 2962 Park Hill Drive, chose five versatile—and affordable—wines that go well when paired with main dishes and appetizers alike. Here are Keel’s selections:

Name: Cuveé Amrita – 2010, from Anne Amie Vineyards – Willamette Valley, Ore.
Red, white or other: white
Cost: $15.99 a bottle
Expert opinion: “Crisp, clean and a great food wine,” Keel said. “It doesn’t overpower anything and it’s very versatile.”
Goes well with: Fish, salad, grilled chicken and Pan-Asian foods

Name: Pinot Noir – 2009, from Murphy-Goode Cellars – Sonoma Country, Calif.
Red, white or other: Red
Cost: $14.99
Expert opinion: “Bright with a cherry/berry finish,” Keel said. “It’s not too dry and has a smooth finish.”
Goes well with: Spicy foods and salmon

Name: Rosé de Tusque – 2010, from Sanglier Cellars – Sonoma County, Calif.
Red, white or other: Rosé
Cost: $15.99
Expert opinion: “This is dry rose with strawberry and raspberry flavors,” Keel said. “It’s not too sweet. Also, a very versatile wine… it’s the easiest to pair.”
Goes well with: “Anything from pizza to sandwiches,” Keel said.

Name: Zinfandel – 2009, Wine Guerrilla – Sonoma County, Calif.
Red, white or other: Red
Cost: $15
Expert opinion: “It has a blackberry jam flavor,” Keel said. “It’s fuller-bodied than a Pinot Noir.”
Goes well with: burgers and pizza

Name: Cabernet – 2008, Darby and Joan – Barossa Valley, Australia
Red, white or other: Red
Cost: $9.99
Expert opinion: “This is our best seller,” Keel said. “Full-bodied and really good fruit and berries.”
Goes well with: Grilling foods (burgers, steaks, pork)

Keel said all of these wines go well with the spring and summer months, but Put a Cork in It usually sells more white wine during the summer months. He said Moscato, a sweet white wine, has also been popular recently and is another good option for hot weather.

“[Choosing a summer wine] is just a matter of learning about wine and educating your palette,” Keel said.

And 109 residents can do just that by attending the wine tasting offered by Put a Cork In It every Thursday through Saturday from 3 to7:30 p.m.

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