Porch Sippers

We were watching one of our favorite food shows—Best Recipes of the World with Mark Bittman—and we heard a resonant wine phrase: “porch sipper.” We were intrigued.  After all, a good porch sipper has qualities that distinguish it from a wine you might drink in a 72-degree, climate-controlled restaurant.  It’s cooling, refreshing, light on the palate.  It goes with the sort of food one serves at home, in summertime. And it must be what you crave on a humid, but lovely summer night, to be drunk outdoors, accompanied by a bug or two, maybe after you’ve mowed the lawn or returned from the beach.  Porch sippers are relaxed, unfussy, and not the sort of thing you need a decanter and a candle for.  It’s barefoot wine.


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We’ve gone ahead and asked some of our favorite local experts what they serve as porch sippers. Here’s what we found:

Chef Neil Ferguson of Monteverde and Allen and Delancey says, “My wife and I really enjoy rosé when the warm weather arrives. A great one we’ve been introduced to recently is Chateau Revelette, Coteaux d’Aix en Provence 2007…Serious rosé but not complicated: light, crisp with a mineral edge. Fresh in the mouth and leaves you wanting another sip — or bottle. Another great hit is from the Basque country in Northern Spain. It’s a mouthful: Getariako Txakolina from Txomin Etxaniz. Great vintage, too, the 2007. Again fresh ,mineral, almost saline — great for fish and shellfish. Reminds me of a chablis.”

If you’re looking for either of Ferguson’s picks, we’ve had luck with Winezap.com, an internet spider for finding and buying wines. We found Ferguson’s Chateau Revelette in Brooklyn. For the Basque wine, we found it closest at Cabrini Wines in upper Manhattan.

Not surprisingly, wine maker, restaurateur and general macher Joe Bastianich opted for his own Bastianich Tocai Friuliano. According to him, “It’s the wine to have when you’re having more than one.” (And thank you Shaeffer Beer for that ear-worm jingle that’s been rattling around our brains for the last 30 years.) We bought our own case at Cabrini Wines because it was a bit cheaper, but if you’re looking locally, the Bastianich Tocai Friuliano is at Varmax Liquor Pantry in Port Chester.

While the prices at Boe324 are a little steep for our blood—plus, it’s on Central Avenue, a place we avoid like the plague—we hear the wines are pretty good. We asked Boe’s sommelier Jerrard Rocco what he serves on a humid night. “Cakebread Sauvignon Blanc, 2006. I like it a lot for warm weather. It has apple, peach, pear nectar notes—it’s a very refreshing wine.” We found it through another wine-finding spider, Wine-Search.com, at Zachys in Scarsdale.

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Brian Maurice at Le Cave also opted for a Napa wine. “I like the Robert Foley Pinot Blanc. It’s completely stainless-steel fermented, which preserves its fruit and its acidity. It’s like a chardonnay, with peach notes and high acidity. It’s great with oysters.

“For rosé I like Domaine Des Courbelles Touraine from the Loire. It’s predominantly Pinot Noir, it’s a pretty salmon color and exhibits great strawberry notes, but still retains some earthiness. It’s not an overblown or overripe type of rose—it’s very versatile. Great with a Niçoise salad or even lighter pâtés.” Both wines are available at Le Cave, for $24.99 and $15.99 respectively.

Finally, you could just jam a lime down the neck of a Corona and call it a day, but we feel life is too short to compromise. That’s why we have our favorite wines sent to us, once we’ve located them with wine finders like Winezap or Wine-Search.com.

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