Summer is officially here, but you'd never know it from our weather outside. The mornings are grey and heavy, sun obscured by a thick marine layer of costal fog. We locals affectionately term our weather woes "May grey," then "June gloom." The influx of summer catalogs and cheery newspaper insets, however, belie the wet, morning haze. So every late afternoon, as the first rays of skittish sunshine finally emerge, a new stack of slick glossies peek seductively from our mailbox. The Sunday papers kindly provide special foldouts ranking the local summer camp programs, promising everything from traditional day camp with s'mores to fluency in Mandarin. On catalog covers, gorgeous toe-headed children romp through ocean whitewash, their salt-licked hair adorably tousled. Angelic, chubby-cheeked preschoolers advertise $48 toddler bikinis with color-coordinated rash guards, oblivious they're just a cog in the corporate consumer machine. Their complicit endorsement sells the myth of summer, with 10% off each additional purchase. Ah, summertime! Long, lazy days of sunny promise. We wait for those achingly protracted hours of extended daylight, when the midday heat is so oppressive our usual fevered pace slows to a crawl. Finally there's time to finish that project we'd planned to start 6 months ago. Maybe you'll finally tackle that novel you've always meant to read- Anna Karenina, War & Peace, or even Remembrance of Things Past, in original French. By mid-August, the lofty tomes are abandoned, and we're already anticipating the evening chill that signals autumn's arrival. Another season of high hopes and sweeping goals buried for another year.
This summer, we hope to spend some time in Sonoma County. I'm certain the inland heat will be more oppressive than to what I am accustomed. So my summer expectations are as languid as this: uncover the perfect picnic wine. Call me an underachiever and mock my mediocre expectations (or simply envy my job). Sure we here at Bruliam Wines would love to think you'd pick our pinot for all your backyard picnic needs. But given the global economic meltdown, we'll forgive you for packing a $12 rose instead. So drink around and help me find that ideal red blend of frivolity, easy sipping, and lighthearted fruitiness that pairs perfectly with brown-paper wrapped sandwiches, homemade brownies, and watermelon spears. I need a wine to slurp in the shade or share with friends at an impromptu backyard barbeque. And preferably a cheap one. After all, this is supposed to be a low risk, easy going tonic, to soothe sunburns and peeling noses. Find me wine that captures the ephemeral, fleeting sense of endless possibility which heralds the start of summer. Bottle just the expansive hopefulness without any of the melancholy that inevitably follows. I'd even spend $17 a bottle to drink that!