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Following the season(s)

It’s less than 30 hours until June and suffice it to say this spring has been confused and confusing.
Well, let’s say it anyway: Last time I walked outside, it was sunny and calm.
An hour before that, it was overcast, dust from Utah blowing in the west wind at 40 miles per and about 50 degrees.
Earlier today, it was snowing, temperature jumping from 35 to 45 and the wind laying trees down around town.
And real early this morning I was out in T-shirt and shorts, watering the lavendar I recently planted.
And, gee, tomorrow it’s forecast to be 75 and right back into summer.
It’s been like this all month, changing from spring to summer to winter to spring – no, winter, no, spring – all so fast it’s hard to keep the seasons straight.
Fortunately, my state has been missed by the truly impressive weather devastating parts of the Midwest and South.
While I follow the latest news on floods, tornadoes and other spring storms, I’m not unhappy to admit my biggest challenge has been trying to match my wine selections with the weather.
Is it spring? How about a crisp, floral Gavi from Vigne Regali, the winery owned by the Mariani family of Banfi Importers fame?
Gavi (actually it’s Cortese di Gavi from the Cortese grape) is a DOCG white wine from the Province of Allessandria in Italy’s Piemonte.
Mention Piemonte to most wine drinkers and they see red, as in Barolo (read what Tom Hyland has to say about the 2007 vintage) and Barbaresco, the critic-confounding wines from the better-know nebbiolo grape.
Nothing wrong with that, since there are many delightful Barolos, including the recently reviewed 2007 vintage.
But on hot summer nights, when the lightning bugs are chasing each other around the roses, I’ll take something white, light, and not too much alcohol.
Enter Gavi, often considered Italy’s premier white wine.
I’ve sampled some delightful Italian white wines in the last few months (Romagna’s Albana, for one) but this version of Gavi, with notes of apple and citrus and wonderfully crisp acidity, simply tastes like spring, even if the weather isn’t cooperating.
This charming version, the 2010 Principessa Gavia ($14 SRP but usually available for less, 12 percent abv) is perfect for sipping or light summer meals.
The Principessa also is available in a perlante style, which captures some of the final fermentation before being bottled (SRP $17).
Then, when the weather changes (note I said “when,” not “if”) back to winter, I change, too, to something burly enough to stand up to the elk stew warming in the ancient crockpot.
This afternoon, sometime between wind storms and rain/snow/sunshine, I dug up a 2006 St. Francis Pagani Vineyard Sonoma County Old Vine Zinfandel (SRP $45 but less to St. Francis wine club members).
Deep, rich and dark-fruity (is that a word?), with a nose of black fruit, chocolate and roses and so fruit deep that it’s 15.5 alcohol doesn’t overshadow the wine.
Actually, 15.5 percent might be considered moderate in these times when some Zins are running to 17-percent alcohol.
The St. Francis Pagani Vineyards (vines planted in the 1800s) spends 14 months in American oak which serves to add a spicy touch to the finished wine.
And heaven knows we could use some spice to warm things up when it’s snowing on May 30.

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