Wine-based cocktails

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By Robert Farmer

There are those among us for whom the thought of a wine-based cocktail is tantamount to heresy. Yes, I am firmly in that camp. Not since I sipped a peach-flavored Bartles & James wine cooler through a straw (only once, I swear!) have I even considered the relative merits of the wine cocktail. Sangria shot to the mouth from the spout of a bota bag notwithstanding, my current stance is that if somebody's making wine-based cocktails, it's probably because the establishment in which they are making them has not yet received its liquor license.

But that's not always the case. And I realize I am a bit of a hardliner on this topic. And so I am willing to concede that there are indeed some fine wine-cocktail creations and there is no better time to enjoy them than during the dog days of summer. Yes, some very reputable bars and restaurants--with very real liquor licenses--have taken into fashion the art of the wine cocktail.

And recently the winemakers R.H. Phillips and Ecco Domani announced they had gone one step further by hiring top-shelf cocktail consultants to create wine concoctions using their brands. The results have yielded such palate-pleasers as the Star Gazer, which blends Phillips' Chardonnay, dark run, vanilla-flavored simple syrup and pineapple juice. I have to admit, that sounds tempting enough to persuade even me out of my stubborn ways.

Would love to hear from you if you have a suggestion on a wine cocktail I should try this summer.

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