Goodbye, Labor Day. Goodbye long days, warm nights, beach vacations, dinners by the pool and drinking outdoors. Welcome chilly mornings, early evenings, long sleeves and lit fireplaces. With the passing of the holiday weekend, we give a sad salute to summer and gear up for brisker weather.
But summer hasn’t given up on us yet, and I resolve to hold on to its sweet promises until I have to pull out extra quilts from the attic. To help preserve the best of what summer has left, here are a few end-of-summer wines still perfect for dinners on your patio – even if you might have to move indoors for dessert.
This wine was mentioned as a top pick for picnic wines, but that’s because Provence rose is truly a fine pick for all sorts of summer tributes. Forget the sticky-sweet roses you may know – those are fine poolside, but this rose is made for heartier occasions. Provence roses are most often dry, pale and pink. These are herbal wines, with aromas of rosemary, lavender and anise. Grapes used to make Provence wines are typically Grenache and Cinsault, with some occasionally Tibouren thrown in for good measure. These grape varieties give Provence roses a good, full, spicy body – balanced best, for porch or no, when chilled deeply (say, just under 50°F) and drunk young.
Beaujolais comes from the Gamay grape; perhaps better said, Beaujolais comes from the Beaujolais region in France, squished between Burgundy and the Rhone Valley, where the Gamay grape grows. Beaujolais is a delightful red wine, full of scents of strawberries, raspberries and cherries – the best of summer’s harvest. Beaujolais is a relatively acidic wine, meaning it is wonderfully food-friendly wine: Beaujolais literally makes your mouth water. Serve it colder than you’d think necessary for a red wine (about 55°F), and it will serve you well as you savor the last warm summer evenings.
This choice is both a tribute to the end of summer as it is to the beginning of fall. Viognier is a full-bodied, floral white wine, often recommended in lieu of Chardonnay. Try a stainless steel fermented Viognier to enjoy its natural aromas to the fullest: rose petals, white peaches, tangerines. Viognier is originally from the Rhone Valley in France, it is now grown worldwide, from California to Chile. Some Argentine producers are making particularly good, spicy Viogniers. Though this wine, too, should be drunk chilled, try to let the bottle rest for a few minutes outside its ice bath or refrigerator home: you will better taste the full range of flavors when Viognier is about 50°F.
Tags: seasonal wine drinking