Warm weather means Rosé

Summer is here, and it’s time to start drinking more Rosé. Well-made examples of Rosé bridge the gap between red and white wines. Generally, using red grapes and white wine production methodologies Rosé’s tend to lean toward the structure of red wines and many of the refreshing qualities of white wines. That’s an oversimplification, but the real point is that when you drink a good Rosé, you’re in for the best of both worlds.

To be clear, when I use the word “good” here, I’m talking about dry Rosé’s, which have a long and storied history in many countries around the world. What I’m not referring to is White Zinfandel, Blush wines or other insipid offerings that lean closer to grape juice than wine. Here are four currently available Rosé’s you should consider keeping in your refrigerator all summer long.

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El Coto de Rioja 2015 Rosado ($12)

This Rosé from the Rioja region of Spain was produced from equal parts Tempranillo and Garnacha. The color is an intense bright pink. Aromas of red cherry and watermelon light up the nose. The palate is loaded with all manner of juicy, red fruit flavors. Bits of candied apple emerge on the finish along with wisps of savory herbs. Firm acid add to the refreshing and mouth-watering nature of this wine. Year after year, this is one of my favorite Rosé values. It’s a consistently delicious crowd pleaser, so stock up.

Sip 2015 Rosé ($15)

The fruit for this wine (entirely Pinot Noir) came from vineyards in Napa and Sonoma. The color is a lovely pale pink. Ripe wild strawberry aromas lead the nose. The palate is stuffed to the brim with appealing, bright red fruit flavors galore. Spices such as white pepper and hints of nutmeg are in play as well. Red raspberry, plum and continued strawberry notes are all part of the long, crisp finish. This ultra-refreshing wine is hard to put down. Pair it with all but extremely hearty foods.

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How You Can Become a Casino Superstar

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Before you hit the casino, now is the time to brush up on your skills, depending on your choice of game. High rollers often feel like superstars when in a casino, and there’s a big reason for that, as they win big often and are the superstars of casinos quite frequently. If you are looking for some tips on how you become a casino superstar, these aren’t guaranteed to bring you success, but they very well could help.

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Coming Soon: A Moviegoer’s Guide to July

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With summer blockbuster season in full swing, July is surprisingly full of original releases. Sure, there are three sequels, a remake and a reboot, but the rest are original (or adapted) films that seemingly have something to offer everyone. From horror to comedy, intense drama to family-friendly fare, and even some of those patented, action-packed blockbuster franchises, July looks to be an eclectic month for moviegoers.

“The BFG”

Who: Ruby Barnhill, Mark Rylance, Bill Hader, Jemaine Clement and Rebecca Hall
What: A girl named Sophie encounters the Big Friendly Giant who, despite his intimidating appearance, turns out to be a kindhearted soul that refuses to eat children.
When: July 1st
Why: Steven Spielberg returns both to family fare and summer spectacle with this adaptation of the beloved Roald Dahl book. On hand are some seriously funny people (Hader, Clement) and the always-welcomed presence of Oscar-winner Rylance to help deliver the story of childhood outcasts and strange friendships that helped cement Spielberg’s reputation back in the Amblin days of the ’80s. Will this be a return to form or too sentimental for most crowds? Will the darker elements of the story translate to the movie? And does that mean Spielberg’s old relishing of darker tones in children’s films will also return? Lots of unknowns, but this film may surprise a lot of people.

“The Purge: Election Year”

Who: Frank Grillo, Elizabeth Mitchell, Mykelti Williamson and Ethan Phillips
What: When presidential nominee Senator Roan vows to end the Purge, her enemies hatch a deadly plan, prompting new head of security Leo Barnes to spring into action.
When: July 1st
Why: After course-correcting from the first film, “The Purge: Anarchy” was a delightfully twisted exploration of the actual goings on of The Purge and became an action-packed “survive the night”-type film with a motley crew of survivors. Add in a touch of political metaphors about the tension between the Haves and the Have-Nots, plus timed expertly for the increasingly heated real-life election, and this could be another stellar entry in the series that delves into the darker sides of people’s psyches and the corporate political machine.

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Drink of the Week: The Country Gentleman

The Country Gentleman.Although today’s drink comes to us from David Embury’s 1940s cocktail classic, “The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks,” it doesn’t really have any particular story to go with its classy provenance or courtly name. Embury just presents it as one of a series of drinks “based on an Applejack Sour.” It’s potentially a very sweet drink, at least on paper, since it includes both simple syrup (or sugar) and a very sweet orange liqueur. Still, the notoriously booze-severe Emory cautiously approves.

“With a base liquor as pungent as applejack,” Embury notes, “and with a liqueur as sharp as curacao… such addition may be possible within certain limits without rendering the cocktail too sickish sweet. With a bland liquor, such as gin or white label rum, and with a heavy fruit liqueur such as peach or apricot, this would be wholly impossible.”

On the whole, I don’t disagree. It’s a reasonably well balanced drink. Still, especially as I tend to be a bit of a baby about very tart flavors, I had a hard time finding a mix that was entirely satisfactory to me personally. Nevertheless, if you don’t mind strong citrus notes playing alongside the still under-utilized family of apple brandy boozes, this one might well be for you.

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For Great Drama, Comedy is Key: Why the best television dramas rely on humor to tell their stories

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Mel Brooks once said something to the effect that comedy is harder than tragedy, because while it’s easy to make one person cry at something, it’s a lot harder to make them laugh. Whether or not that’s true, some of the greatest television dramas of the past couple decades have risen to this challenge by blurring the lines between genres. By incorporating comedic elements into their episodes, they’ve provided audiences with hilarious scenes that stay with viewers for years. But why? What advantage is there in inserting these moments of levity into otherwise bleak proceedings? The one thing that some of the most successful and beloved shows of recent years – like Breaking Bad,” “Game of Thrones,” “Mad Men,” “The Sopranos” and “The Wire” – have in common is a surprisingly deft comic touch.

First, it’s a necessary tension breaker. After scenes and entire episodes dealing with the various intricacies of betrayals and murders, an audience needs something to relieve that pressure, breaking up the funeral dirge of favorite characters and grim moments. The deftest writers, those of the shows previously mentioned, are usually very good at incorporating these moments of laughter into plot-driven parts, making it natural rather than a transparent attempt at easing the tension and angst inherent in life, death and tragedy. For example, in “Game of Thrones,” while the wedding between Tyrion and Sansa is a veritable downer moment that finds two beloved characters in a situation neither enjoys but are forced to undergo, the writers find time for a drunken Tyrion to make merry and therefore mock the seriousness of the occasion.

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