Hot times call for cool wines, and the Sacramento area has plenty of both.
In the heat of summer, the less enlightened settle for central air conditioning and beers from the fridge, equally stale. Rather, try embracing our warm, breezy evenings. Find your own oasis, preferably one with flowering vines, tinkling fountains and table service. And an elegant glass of wine. Savor your Barbaresco alfresco. Pour that Cahors out-of-doors. Sacramento-area restaurants and cafes have perfected the art of patio sipping when everyone else is dripping.
We recently asked some of our favorite oasis proprietors the following question: “It’s hot as heck and we’re chilling on your patio. What’s in the glass and on the plate?”
Hope their answers tempt you to get out there and get some air.
“Rosés are my personal favorite wine for food, warm weather and afternoon fare,” says Rick Mahan. He serves a Grenache-Syrah-Cinsault Rosé blend from Château Routas by the glass. Order the local salmon if it’s on the menu; if not, get the niçoise salad with green beans, cucumbers, new potatoes, olives, tuna, cherry tomatoes and aioli. 2000 Capitol Ave., Sacramento; (916) 498-9891; waterboyrestaurant.com
Ella Dining Room & Bar
“On your plate, Ceviche Mixta (usually halibut, shrimp and scallops) with citrus, radish, chili and fried yucca chips,” says Joe Vaccaro. “And in your glass, Viña Nora Albariño, Rias Baixas, Spain 2007. . . soooo good.” 1131 K St., Sacramento; (916) 443-3772; elladiningroomandbar.com
L Wine Lounge & Urban Kitchen
Jonathan Klonecke would pair Pyramid Valley Vineyards “Lebecca Vineyard” Riesling from Marlborough, New Zealand, with chef Ame Harrington’s fish tacos. “Usually I associate Sauvignon Blanc with New Zealand, but Pyramid Valley Vineyards Riesling is terrific,” he says. “The wine is a dead ringer for a Spätlese-level German Riesling. For me, Riesling’s sour and sweet combination, similar to a cocktail, works well in the hot summer months.” 1801 L St., Sacramento; (916) 443-6970; lwinelounge.com
La Provence Restaurant & Terrace
Order La Provence’s most popular salad, the Aumônière au Fromage de Chèvre: organic spring lettuces, warm Laura Chenel goat cheese wrapped in puff pastry, fresh strawberries and strawberry thyme vinaigrette. With it, Shane White recommends the 2006 Cuvée du Golfe de Saint-Tropez Rosé, which he loves for its hints of strawberry and just the right amount of acidity. 110 Diamond Creek Place, Roseville; (916) 789-2002; laprovenceroseville.com
Magpie Caterers Market and Cafe
The hippest sidewalk in town runs in front of this cafe, one of several newcomers to the R Street corridor. Co-owner Ed Roehr recommends the Fra’ Mani Sampler sandwich, a showcase for Salame Rosa and dry-cured Nostrano, served on ciabatta and garnished with thinly sliced pickled onions and refreshing tapenade made with preserved lemon. The Grenache from local Revolution Wines cuts right to the meat of the matter. 1409 R St., Sacramento; (916) 452-7594; magpiecaterers.com
Kevin Tyson recommends serving Hawks’ local produce with a crisp local wine: a salad of heirloom vegetables with goat cheese mousse, teamed with Rail Bridge Cellars Sauvignon Blanc. Quarry Ponds Town Center, 5530 Douglas Blvd., Granite Bay; (916) 791-6200; hawksrestaurant.com
David Berkley Fine Wines & Specialty Foods
Michael Chandler would go for a half-pound Kobe beef burger with a glass of 2005 Sojourn Cabernet Sauvignon from Sonoma Valley. The burgers are grilled up every Saturday by “our own resident Aussie owner, Greg Rhategan,” says Chandler, who adds that Sojourn “is only a few years old, and they are making sick Pinot and Cabs in a great, not over-the-top style.” Pavilions, 515 Pavilions Lane, Sacramento; (916) 929-4422
Tucos Wine Market & Cafe
Whitney Stevenson suggests ordering the roasted asparagus salad with prosciutto, cheese, poached egg and hollandaise sauce, along with a flute of Belussi Prosecco di Valdobbiadene. “Most people would go with a cold white wine,” says Stevenson, “but why not go all the way with a glass of bubbly?” 130 G St., Davis; (530) 757-6600