By Marlise Ponzo

Summer is a joyous time for relaxing and having fun. It is for getting out of the house more and really taking advantage of the beautiful weather while it’s available to us for this precious few months. Summer is the time when we give ourselves a well-deserved break from the hustle and bustle of daily life. We allow ourselves to take the time out of our day to just sit without feeling the least bit guilty about wasting time.

Whether we are enjoying a weekend at the family cottage, lounging while staring restfully at the still water of a lake or lying in a hammock in our own backyards, curled up comfortably with an easygoing page-turner, the scenario can always be made just a smidge more blissful with a glass of ‘Hammock Wine.’

These wines don’t make you work too hard to understand their complexities. They are easily enjoyed with or without food accompaniment. They are not simplistic but nuanced and intriguing. Interesting enough to hold your interest for a few glasses while you do little else but lie still in your swaying hammock and sip them. They are quality wines that give you a sense of luxury for having opened the bottle for no other reason than to celebrate summer, toast to yourself and contemplate the magic of wine.

2007 Schloss Reinhartshausen Riesling Spätlese Rheingau Germany $20.15 LCBO Vintages
This highly regarded estate has been cultivating wine since 1337. This is their entry-level wine. It is a cuvee of late harvest (Spätlese) grapes from multiple vineyard sites harmoniously reflecting the typical style of a Riesling from this area. On the nose there are aromas of crisp cider, white peach and apple blossoms. Very distinctive fruitiness. The honeycomb and poached apricot fruit are complimented by pronounced minerality. On the palate there is a graceful play of sweet and sour… orchard fruit nectar and chamomile flowers give way to lean tart lemon, passion fruit and grapefruit zest. Creamy mouth-feel, piercing acidity, lengthy finish and gentle alluring sweetness. Age worthy but very enjoyable now. Fresh. Lively. Low alcohol. Perfect for a humid summer day.

2006 Laurus Gigondas Laurus Rhone Valley France $24.95 LCBO Vintages
Gorgeous blend of Grenache and Syrah. Deep rich aromas of blackberry and juicy currants. Toffee and fragrant wild rose abound. Aromas of simmering beefy Bolognese, savory charred red pepper and licorice root. Smokey toasted barrique (Laurus uses specially designed 275 litre barrels.) The palate is wild and brambly. Licorice and smoked sausage give way to herbal tea and black-fruit steeped in strong liqueur. Tannins are mouth drying and plentiful but fine and round, feeling fleshy in the mouth. Medium long finish. Best on a cooler day and even better with a plate of hard cheeses to snack on.

Marlise Ponzo, has been working in the Hospitality industry for many years and  possesses experience in many different roles from fine dining server, restaurant manager, sommelier to wine/food writer most recently. She is absolutely passionate about the culinary arts and the artistry of food and wine pairing. Being married to a chef, vacations become true culinary adventures and often land her at one michelin star restaurant or another. She has been working at Crush Wine Bar for the past eight years and has used this extraordinarily successful restaurant as a springboard for learning everything she could about the wonderful world of wine. In 2008 she graduated the Canadian Association of  Professional Sommeliers certification program with honours and accepted two awards of excellence for blind tasting from CAPS. Currently she continues to explore her passion for sensory development and wine appreciation through reading, tasting, traveling and writing.