Wishful drinking

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Technically speaking, spring doesn't start for another eight days. And with the weather rollercoaster we've been riding lately, you probably either feel like spring has arrived early or you've given up caring entirely.

Either way, raise a glass that'll lift your spirits. After a few sips from Jonna Brandon's suggested bottles, it won't take long before it feels like spring has arrived.

For the start of the season, Brandon, co-owner of The Twisted Vine in Grandview, advises choosing a light version of your favorite grapes - perhaps those grown in a different region or incorporated as part of a blend. A chilled rose is another great option, she said.

And Brandon's seen a lot of interest in Prosecco, an Italian bubbly that's a fraction of the cost of Champagne. Try a bellini, made with peach nectar and Prosecco, instead of a mimosa for your next Saturday brunch.

Ca'Tullio Prosecco (non-vintage)

Region: Prosecco, Italy

Cost: $15

Flavors: dry, but with a touch of sweetness and peach, pear and citrus fruits

Pairs well with: alone, mixed in a bellini or with desserts like fruit tarts

Jonna Brandon's advice: "We sold so many Proseccos for Valentine's Day this year. I think everyone is finally understanding what they are."

Laetitia pinot noir (2007)

Region: Arroyo Grande Valley, California

Cost: $20

Flavors: black cherry, vanilla and pie spices

Pairs well with: duck, salmon or steak with mushrooms

Jonna Brandon's advice: "This is from California, which means it's going to be more appealing to people who have a New World taste."

Heritages Caves de Papes rose (2007)

Region: Cotes du Rhone

Cost: $12

Flavors: very dry, with raspberry and strawberry essences and a touch of white chocolate

Pairs well with: alone or with fruit, fish or a salad topped with chicken

Jonna Brandon's advice: "Basically you get the flavors of a red wine without the tannins, in a lighter-bodied wine that you chill."