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Summer wines: Uncorking the season's first wine salvo

The first wines of summer take in refreshing sippers and bottles ready to be uncorked when the grill is ignited.

Lambrusco has both qualities. The gently fizzy red is excellent with antipasti, cured meats, a grilled slab of mortadella. Try two from Cleto Chiarli: the 2013 "Premium Vecchia Modena" Lambrusco di Sorbara DOC ($15); and the "Centenario" Grasparossa DOC Amabile ($11), the former dry and the latter fruitier.

The 2013 E. Guigal Cotes du Rhone Blanc and 2010 Cotes du Rhone Rouge (each $19) are reliable choices from a top producer. The white suggests pear and tropical fruit, and works with lighter fish; the red, with grilled beef. The 2013 Seghesio Sonoma Zinfandel ($24), with ample black fruit, is a fine match for red meat.

Go pink with the versatile 2014 J. Lohr "Gesture" Grenache Rose ($18), with a hint of raspberry and strawberry, and an affinity for barbecue and grilled chicken. When a steak hits the grill, sample the plummy 2012 J. Lohr Hilltop Cabernet Sauvignon Paso Robles ($35); or the more intense, red-fruit driven 2012 J. Lohr Carol's Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, St. Helena, Napa Valley ($40).

And, if you're feeling more expansive, seek three standout 2012 pinots from Cobb Wines. Consider the 2012 Diane Cobb Coastlands Vineyard Pinot Noir ($85), potent, plummy and peppery; the 2012 Emmaline Ann Vineyard Pinot Noir ($75), heady with cherry and pomegranate; and the 2012 Rice-Spivak Vineyard Pinot Noir ($75), spicy, a bit tart, cherry-laden.


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