There are only two more Concerts on the Square left this season. But that means there are still two chances to sample the picnic baskets Jordandal Farms is bringing in Wednesdays for pickup at the newly opened Square Wine Company, 5 N. Pinckney St. Thirty dollars for a two-person picnic gets you a pretty assortment of "as local as possible" goodies: items like raw milk cheeses, braised pork salads, roasted veggies, and berries with balsamic and mint.
Such a showcase of handmade local eats is an ideal excuse to pick up a bottle to pair with our regional food.
Proprietor Andrea Hillsey has many delicious options to choose from, but I've been impressed with the Selbach-Oster 2010 Riesling Kabinett. There may be no better match for haut-Sconnie summer cuisine than a chilled German Riesling.
This is a bright, über-refreshing bottle that tastes of stone fruit, melon and slate. I always enjoy good minerality, but in the heat, mineral becomes a crisp foil to fruit - changing from mere preference to necessity. It lends clarity and lift.
Imported by Michael Skurnik Wines as a Terry Theise selection (Theise is Odessa Piper's husband), this Kabinett is gorgeous for $20. It will go stride-for-stride with every bite from your basket, from braunschweiger to cookies. And it's a screw-top.
Chasselas. It's the world's oldest grape varietal. And while it can be bland in the hands of anyone but the Swiss, it sings when done correctly. Or maybe it yodels. Whichever, it is what I drink when temperatures climb and I want something purely glacial.
Recently, I was out on a porch in the countryside; no breeze; temperature hovering near a hundred. In the ice bucket appeared a bottle from Chteau de Ripaille. The first golden sip transported me high into the Alps.
Okay, so this wine won't make you see your own breath. But it will make you think candied pears and apricots. And lime and almonds - although that could be the heatstroke talking. At a mere $13 a bottle, it is certainly delicate, creamy and divine.
Don't hold it against the Ripaille that it is technically a French wine, not Swiss: It comes from just over the border in Savoie. Imagine a vineyard in the French Alps, along the shores of Lake Geneva, still growing the kind of grapes that refreshed the Romans.