PICTURE THIS: It's Friday; it's been a rotten, frustrating day to climax a rotten, frustrating week. And it's hot. And you picked up a voice-mail


Perfect Picnics: What to Drink

PICTURE THIS: It's Friday; it's been a rotten, frustrating day to climax a rotten, frustrating week. And it's hot. And you picked up a voice-mail from your significant other announcing that your presence is required at a picnic being thrown by some people you've never heard of. Oh, and by the way: You're bringing the wine.

We posed this gruesome social scenario to a dozen or so leading area wine merchants and asked them: Suppose a regular customer came to you with that story at 4:55 p.m. on Friday. What would you recommend? Their answers follow.

Peter Schmalzer, Pike & Western Wine Merchants (206-441-1307)

"Castello di Ama sangiovese rosato, an Italian ros頦rom the same area in Tuscany where Chianti is made." ($15)

Jeff Fisher, McCarthy & Schiering Wine Merchants (206-282-8500/206-524-9500)

"Chⴥau Bellevue La For괠C� du Frontonnais ros頦rom the south of France. It's made from the indigenous n駲ette grape of the area." ($8)

Steve Body, Esquin Wine Merchants (206-682-7374)

"I'd sell them Bruno Giacosa's Roero Arneis from Italy's Piedmonte; it's a big, voluptuous white that gets its buttery smoothness naturally, not from too much oak." ($20)

George Kingen, Pete's Wines (206-322-2660/425-454-1100)

"There's a great South Af- rican sauvignon blanc from Mulderboschclean, crisp, with a great gooseberry flavor." ($20)

Emile Ninaud, Champion Wine Cellars (206-284-8306)

"I would recommend Sokol-Blosser's Evolution, a very interesting nonvintage blend of nine white-grape varieties from Oregon: It's refreshing, zingy, with just a little sparkle." ($15)

Al Davis, Seattle Cellars (206-256-0850)

"Ochoa Rosado from Spain's province of Navarre, a crispy acidic ros頭ade from the garnacha grape, which is the same as France's grenache." ($9)

Steve Springston, DeLaurenti Specialty Food & Wine (206-622-0141)

"The '02 pinot gris-viogner blend from Thurston Wolfe over in Prosser. It's bright, fruity, crispy, not oaky at all." ($15)

Tommy Garland, Fremont Red Apple Market (206-633-3663)

"The Commanderie de la Bargemone ros頦rom the C�d'Aix en Provence; it's got a raspberry-strawberry nose, a taste of white peach, but it's completely dry and perfect for all summer foods." ($13)

Doug Nufer, European Vine Selections (206-323-3557)

"I'd recommend a ros鬠but a lot of people haven't really 'got' ros頹et, so I'll go for a '99 Domaine Chaume-Arnaud C�du Rhone Villages, a light but full-flavored red." ($10)

Samy Beau-Marquet, Le Savoir-Faire Wine Cellars (206-729-5988)

"Val-Joanis ros頦rom Luberon, a blend of grenache, cinsault, and syrah: very refreshing, with anything from roast chicken to green salad." ($11)

Michael Dodson, La Cantina Wine Merchants (206-525-4340)

"Canto Perdrix, a classic grenache from France's home ros頲egion Tavel." ($12)

Catherine Reynolds, the Spanish Table (206-682-2827)

"Encostas do Lima, a vinho verde from the R� Baixas area of Portugal. It tastes like a young albarinho with that floral nectarine nose and just a little spritz." ($7)

Terry Tufarolo, Grand Central Wine Merchants (206-340-5999)

"I'd go for Chⴥau la Boutignane, a full-bodied dry ros頦rom Corbi貥s in Languedoc, in the south of France." ($10)

Larry Springer, the Grape Choice (425-827-7551)

"I'd recommend our Barbi Orvieto, a perfect light, dry white for chilling, a real quaffer. I'd give the customer a taste; if they were in as bad shape as you say, I bet I'd sell another bottle out of gratitude." ($8)


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