The porch is better with the Other Guys

The porch is better with the Other Guys

>DRINK IT

Who: The Other Guys Winery
What: 2012 Leese-Fitch Merlot
Where: Napa Valley
Why: Because it's a great outdoor wine
How much: $11

My front porch is whispering my name. Not outright calling me yet, just whispering and letting me know the time is drawing near. Yes, it won't be long until I'll be spending many evenings there: writing these articles, talking with the neighbors, petting my cats and relaxing with a glass of wine in hand.

Last spring I took a lot of time accessorizing the front porch with comfortable chairs, a side table, a rug and lots of palms, ferns and plants. It served as my personal oasis all spring and summer to spend time alone or share with others. It seems the porch has become a special place where we've had many important family discussions, shared intimate thoughts and secrets with friends and just plain had fun. Those who have been part of these times have even mentioned that the porch feels safe and comfortable and seems to encourage important life examinations and talking about things that matter. My husband and I are looking forward to the season.

One wine that will be there with us is The Other Guys Merlot. This is a lighter varietal that's heavy with the taste of vanilla bean, but in a good way. Even after swallowing I had a slight aftertaste of vanilla and I liked it. Also present is a pinch of cardamom. If you're not familiar with this spice, check it out. It's in the ginger family with hints of lemon and mint, causing this wine to fall between sweet and tart. This keeps it bright and makes it perfect for an evening outside on the porch. I was drawn to the bottle of Leese-Fitch too, because it mentions the view from "the porch of our home on the second story of the Leese-Fitch adobe." These winemakers have the right idea.

While we're talking about drinking wine outside, I want to mention that heat is a wine killer. It's common to run errands, pick up some wine, and drop the bottle or case in the trunk of the car. Did you know your trunk can easily reach 100 degrees on a summer day? Wine will begin to cook at 90 degrees, tainting the flavor and causing an unpleasant sourness, sort of like canned prunes. Sounds appetizing, huh?

Enjoying wine poolside can be fun too, but keep your bottle on ice, red or white, if it's outside with you. The bottle can act as a lens, cooking the wine with a laser of sunshine. When storing wine, keep it some place cool like a cellar or basement. Avoid placing it close to windows or in attic spaces where the temperature fluctuates. It's sad to spend money on wine, only to open it and find the taste disappointing because it got too hot.

So, protect your wine this spring and summer to enjoy it to the fullest. And, I hope you have your own porch or special place to savor family, friendships and relationships. If not, ours is always open.