Chilled Beaujolais or $6-bottle of Merlot fits bill

Light reds don’t get much action in this era of Shiraz-with-everything. Fashion rules and it takes a strong willed person to take the light-hearted route.


Light reds are like cotton short sleeve shirts, while rich reds (Shiraz) are like winter coats. You’ll feel more comfortable drinking the wine that’s appropriate for the season. I’m not saying NO Shiraz in summer, but maybe save it for late night suppers, or after-supper sipping.


So where do you look for light reds? Check out the north east of Italy. And of course, Beaujolais. Lightly chill these and start getting used to wine that impresses the moment rather than you. Light reds are about simplicity and sociability. They have the bright, lively spirit of summer.


End of lecture.

A good place to start your day or evening would be with Cesari’s $6 Merlot. Forget rich Merlot — this is a simple, cheerful summer gulper. Nice hit of fruitiness and refreshment. Takes you to an Italian sidewalk café, maybe with a platter of bruschetta. Or you’re on a picnic, or having a summer lunch. This is one of the most consistently good wines in the stores. I’ve noticed that some of the top restaurants in downtown T.O. are now pouring Cesari for one of their house wines.

Bouchard’s Beaujolais offers fun and refreshment along with something earthy. So here’s the plan: a couple of glasses as you barbecue the burgers and the rest of the bottle when you eat. If you’re following the math, you’ll notice that this is a bottle per person wine. That’s the nature of Beaujolais.

P.S. My recommendations for Vintages release are posted on www.billysbestbottles.comunder weekly picks. Sign up for my free e-wineletter to receive earlier notifcation.

P.S.S. Come to my “Moody Wine Tuesday” wine tasting and dinner at Southern Accent restaurant this Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. Call 416-536-3211 for more.


Billy Munnelly is author, wine critic and publisher of Billy’s Best Bottles Wineletter and Billy’s Best Wines For 2005.Visit www.billysbestbottles.comfor information about his in-home wine-tasting seminar. To receive a free copy of Billy’s Best Bottles Wineletter, e-mail


• CESARI 2005 Merlot, Venezie, Italy

LCBO No.: 572453

Price: $6.90

• BOUCHARD PÈRE & FILS 2004 Beaujolais Villages, France

LCBO No.: 665448

Price: $12.95