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Summer wines.

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A meal taken alfresco or a gathering of friends on a sun-dappled terrace is sweet, but the moment is immeasurably enhanced by a perfect pairing. Summer is the ur-season to discover new sparkling wines, bright whites, and reds best drunk chilled. Oscar Wilde put it perfectly: "Pleasure without champagne is purely artificial."

Pictured: The new Riedel Veritas collection draws on the famed glassware company's expertise to produce a deceptively lightweight vessel. This Veritas New World Pinot Noir glass is ideal for rose champagnes. (Riedel is also launching a "Champagne wine glass," a bold departure from the flute, designed to avoid throwing your head back at ungraceful angles). $69 for a box of two glasses. Riedel.com

Sparkling Discoveries

Champagne may hog the spotlight, but there's a whole world of effervescent wines out there to be discovered. Here, five of our favorites to brighten up the dog days of summer.

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PROSECCO

To arm yourself against the tsunami of bad prosecco out there, remember these two words: Superiore and Cartizze. Prosecco's governing agency created these designations to highlight the best of the best, wines made according to strict regulations--no mystery additives here! Cartizze is at the very top, produced quite literally at the top of a mountain on a 260-acre plot of land, drawing the best of the Veneto region's limestone minerality into an elegant sparkler.

TRY THIS: Bisol Cru Cartizze valdobbiadene NV

CAVA

Before its residents decided to try their hand at bubbly, Catalonia, in northern Spain, was a cork producer for the French. But cava is no Champagne copycat; local grapes Macabeu, Xarello, and Parellada add yeastiness and a toasty hazelnut edge. Perfect for an evening with some cheese and Marcona almonds, or for popping bottles at your next big bash.

TRY THIS: Recaredo Gran Reserva Brut Nature 2008

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TXAKOLI

From west of the cava caves comes a Spanish sparkling that is fresh, crisp, and ever-so-slightly briny. Txakoli is only very mildly effervescent in the bottle; much of its fizz is added in the showstopping way it's poured--from as great a height as possible into a wide-bottomed tumbler, aerating the wine on its way down.

TRY THIS: Ametzoi Txakolina 2015

LAMBRUSCO

If all you know of lambrusco is the boozy pop that had an American moment in the '70s, keep reading. These sparkling reds hail from Emilia-Romagna, the culinary heart of Northern Italy, and range from bone-dry to, yes, fairly sweet. Our favorites balance a bright acidity with tannic fruit notes to offset rich foods such as grilled meats or pastas.

TRY THIS: Lini 910 Labrusca Lambrusco Rosso NV

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BUGEY

Long before old Dorn Perignon figured out how to make yeast and sugar into fizzy magic, the people of Cerdon, a region in Bugey, were using their own methode ancestrale to make a bubbly rose from a blend of Gamay and Poulsard grapes. It's lightly sweet and intensely fruity.

TRY THIS: Patrick Bottex, Bugey-Cerdon "La Cueille" NV

OH! NATURAL

The meaning of the newest idiom in winemaking

Additive-free, minimally processed, no preservatives...no, we're not talking about dinner. Natural is the newest watchword in wine, and just as in food, it's all the rage with the health-conscious set. Mega-batched "industrial" wines can contain all kinds of mystery ingredients (everything from beet sugar to charcoal and the scarily named additive "Mega Purple"), and since wine is not regulated by the FDA, winemakers aren't required to list them. To fight back against Frankenstein wines, small winemakers have adopted the term to describe their oenological labors of love.

Along with eschewing additives, natural wines are small-batch, made using traditional equipment and fermented using the wild yeasts that occur naturally in the winery, contributing to the terroir of the finished product. While it's not yet an official designation like "organic," your local wine store will be able to point you to the natural wines, or you can look on the label for the name of an all-natural importer like Jenny and Francois Selections. Aside from being on-trend, they're also wildly delicious, with a light funkiness that echoes that of a farmhouse ale. We'll drink to that.

Primo Picks

Summer wines selected by Dry Dock, in Red Hook, Brooklyn

ROSE

Mourat Rose 2015--Loire, France. Pinot noir, cab franc, and negrette. Cherry, watermelon, fresh herbs on the nose. Well-balanced and soft acidity. $77

Maris 2015--Minervois, France. Grenache. Medium-bodied, crisp, refreshing. Strawberries and orange zest. One hundred percent organic and sustainable. Our favorite Languedoc. $75

GLASS: Riedel Vinum Extreme Rose. $69 (set of two)

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WHITE

Vetriccie 2014--Corsica, Italy. Vermentino. Floral on the nose; hints of jasmine. Bright acidity, citrus, and silky mouthfeel. A staff favorite. $16

Brunn 2013--Kamptal, Austria. Gruner. Sustainable. Velvety, elegant, green apples, stone fruit bright acidity and hints of oak. Delicious! $25 GLASS: Riedel Veritas Riesling. $69 (set of two)

RED

Coturri Young Carignan 2015--Mendocino, Calif. A wonderful new addition to the store. Light, fresh young fruits. No sulfites. One hundred percent natural wine. Must be cheerfully consumed after opening--will not last a day once open-- it's that natural! $25

Schmitt Spatburgunder 2014--Rheinhessen, Germany. Pinot noir. Dry, fresh berry fruit, strawberry, very bright acidity. Can be a wonderful chilled red in the summer. $19

GLASS: Riedel Vinum XL Pinot Noir. $69 (set of two)

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THE GEAR

Arteriors Pierre Ice Bucket

Designed by Jay Jeffers and made of antiqued brass, the bucket has a glass liner that holds two bottles. $1,295, Barneys.com

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Skybar Wine Chill Drops

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They gorgeously chill wine faster than a refrigerator: 90 seconds for red wine; eight minutes for white wine. Set of two. $19.99, Amazon.com
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Title Annotation:Surveillance: THE OUT GUIDE TO LIFE'S DEEPEST MYSTERIES
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Date:Jun 1, 2016
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