The clocks have already sprung forward, which means it's time to unpack the summer clothes and take the covers off the lawn furniture. And when the weather's nice, there's nothing better than having a few friends over to eat, drink and be merry. Since we just got through the winter grind, there's no need to make a big ordeal out of entertaining. Keep it light, keep it simple and, most importantly, keep it fun.
For starters, check out our past story "Simply Spring," where you'll find three wonderful springtime recipes, complete with wine suggestions. We've also dug up a few more recipes that are light, refreshing and simple to prepare—just make big batches, give everyone a plate, and let 'em dig in. Same goes for the desserts, which showcase the season's best fresh fruits. Last but not least, we offer a list of exceptional spring wines—fresh whites and lighter reds that match the flavors of the season.
Call your friends, start cooking, slide into a pair of flip-flops, head outside and enjoy springtime while it lasts.
|HOUGHTON Chardonnay Western Australia 2005||89||$15|
|Bright and nicely focused to show off its distinctive pear, quince and lime aromas and flavors, lingering on a refined finish with just the slightest hint of spicy oak lurking in the background. Drink now through 2008. 60,000 cases made.
|VIÑA SANTA RITA Chardonnay Casablanca Valley Reserva 2005||87||$12|
|Fresh pear and fig flavors with modest toast on the finish. Clean, fresh and nicely done. Drink now. 50,000 cases made.
|KEN FORRESTER Chenin Blanc Stellenbosch Petit Chenin 2005||87||$9|
|Tasty Chenin, with crunchy texture and freshly cut melon, white peach and floral notes. Plump finish. Drink now. 7,500 cases imported.
|LUNA Pinot Grigio Napa County 2004||88||$18|
|Refreshing acidity keeps the lemon peel, fig and honeydew melon flavors lively, finishing with a cleansing aftertaste. Drink now. 24,100 cases made.
|J.L. WOLF Riesling QbA Pfalz Saint M 2004||87||$12|
|Rich and succulent, this sports tangy citrus and white peach notes, with a hint of white pepper. It's balanced and fresh, with a lingering finish. Drink now through 2010. 50,000 cases made.
|DRYLANDS Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2005||91||$15|
|Bracingly tart, with a vibrant core of pineapple, passion fruit and guava flavors that linger nicely on the beautifully pointed finish. Drink now. 18,000 cases imported.
|SPY VALLEY Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2005||90||$18|
|A racy, vibrant mouthful of lime, mineral and tropical fruit flavors that seem to burst through the long finish, lingering with an intriguing hint of apricot against lively acidity. Drink now. 55,000 cases made.
|SAINT CLAIR Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2005||89||$16|
|A huge mouthful of passion fruit, grapefruit and more than a smack of green peas makes this a dramatic wine. Drink now. 40,000 cases made.
|MOUNT RILEY Pinot Noir South Island 2004||89||$17|
|Light and lively, charming in style, with lots of strawberry, raspberry and gentle floral aromas and flavors, lingering on the zingy finish. Drink now through 2010. 3,000 cases imported.
|STONELEIGH Pinot Noir Marlborough 2004||89||$16|
|Smooth and generous, a supple Pinot with good cherry, green olive and dusky spice aromas and flavors, nicely wrapped into supple package. Drink now through 2010. 2,100 cases imported.
|JEAN BERERD & FILS Beaujolais-Villages Nouveau Le Perréon Domaine de la Madone 2005||87||$15|
|Plump and generous, this shows ripe black cherry, plum and cola flavors. It's not as grapey and exuberant as a typical Nouveau, but delivers structure and depth. Drink now through 2007. 1,435 cases made.
|CASTLE ROCK Pinot Noir Monterey County 2004||87||$11|
|Fragrant, with intense ripe plum, olive, cedar and spicy red currant flavors, ending with a bright, lively aftertaste. Drink now through 2007. 5,100 cases made.
|SAINT CLAIR Pinot Noir Marlborough 2004||87||$16|
|Smooth and polished, with lively acidity to balance the ripe cherry and red currant flavors, finishing with a hint of mint. Drink now through 2009. 5,000 cases made.
|SIDURI Pinot Noir Sonoma County 2004||87||$19|
|Lots of ripe, up-front juicy fruit, with pretty plum, black cherry and blackberry flavors that are rich and fleshy, ending with a dash of nutmeg. Drink now. 1,393 cases made.
|SIDURI Pinot Noir Willamette Valley 2004||87||$19|
|Light and fragrant, with a spicy, earthy edge to the pretty currant and plum flavors. Best from 2007 through 2012. 1,341 cases made.
|WYNDHAM ESTATE Pinot Noir South Eastern Australia Bin 333 2004||87||$10|
|A lithe, silky Pinot Noir with lovely cherry and spice aromas and flavors, lingering on the polished finish. Who knew Australia could make good Pinot at such an attractive price? Drink now through 2010. 228,000 cases made.
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