Labor Day

Ahh, Labor Day, an ambiguous holiday.

It signals denouement of summer, beginning of school, return of football, closing of swimming pools. Depending upon your frame of mind, all good. Or all terrible. Or a mixed bag.

If you are into robust wines—killer cabs, raging Riojas, monster zins, power ports and Maderias—your time draws nigh. But not yet. Summer dies hard in Texas.

Labor Day remains a celebration for wines served cool, or chilled on ice, or even poured on ice: lighter stuff so you can sip and sweat and spout classic wisdom such as “hot enough for ya?”

Pinot grigio/pinot gris, moscato, chard, sauv blanc, vinho verde, rosé, even white zinfandel (the Rodney Dangerfield of wines: “it don’t get no respect”) can be laudable Labor Day libations.

If you fire up the grill for a hot dog, ground red meat, vegan-horrifying jollification, even wizened wine writers concede a cooler of beer works. When belching subsides and the over-stuffed feeling lingers, recall why you prefer wine.

You have many choices if you pair steak and wine: classic cab, malbec, syrah, merlot. All best enjoyed inside with the AC doing hard labor on Labor Day.

If you are hooked on fish and grilled veggies, try a chilled, oaky chardonnay to complement the smoky char on the vegetables.

Shrimp on the barbie? That’s sauvignon blanc’s forte. Sauv blanc also will go with late-summer vegetables raw, grilled, or boiled. Actually, sauv blanc goes with just about everything in every season.

Tasting notes:

• Smoking Loon Chardonnay 2012. Vanilla, banana, custard, pineapple (what happens to chard in Chile); French oak; medium body, acidity; affordable crowd pleaser. $8

• Bogle Sauvignon Blanc 2011. Another boggling Bogle value; simple, refreshing, tangy citrus/acidity, slice of apple; light-medium body, very clean, very food friendly. $9

• Black Box Merlot 2011. Cherries, caramel, fruity, simple, smooth; box wine is not wow wine, but this certainly is quaffable party value; 3L (4 bottles). $18

Last round: Insecure country club swells need to calm down. It is okay to drink white wine after Labor Day.