Labor Day 2014

Labor Day falls this year on the first day of September. It can’t get any earlier, which means it won’t be fall for three weeks and we will experience the longest, most summery Labor Day possible.

Labor Day always strikes me as a bittersweet holiday. It signals the denouement of summer and baseball and backyard barbecues and summer camps and swimming pools and vacations and visits to grandparents (or by grandkids) and seemingly unlimited sunshine.

Labor Day also is the harbinger of football and school bells, the time when farmers stop praying for rain to grow their crops and start praying for dry so they can harvest those crops, the first crisp wisps of cool in the early morning light, the first sightings of bird flights winging south.

If you are into robust wines-killer cabs, raging Riojas, monster zins, bodacious blends-your time draws nigh. But not yet. Summer dies hard in Texas. Steady, steady grasshopper. Your time will come.

Labor Day is final holiday for wines served cool, or chilled on ice, or even poured on ice: lighter stuff you sip and sweat and spout Bubba wisdom such as “hot enough for ya?”

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

Good news: stores must clear inventory as sands drain from the summer selling hourglass; look for bargains. Look also to clear your own inventory. Most white, light summer delights do not winter well. They, like flowers of the field, grace a season and are gone. Pull corks, twist Stelvins now. Make room for your big reds. Wine’s synchronicity with the natural flow of nature is one of its exquisite joys.

This is the end-of-the-season the Lord has made. Rejoice and be glad in it.

Tasting notes:
•  Pierre Chainier Vouvray Roc de Châteauvieux 2011. (Chenin blanc), semi-dry, pears, almonds, vanilla, melon. Drink chilled. $12
•  Orlana Vinho Verde NV. Exceptionally light, crisp, lime, citrus; zesty, lively, frizzante bubbles; perfect pool pour, great example of Portuguese vinho verde. $11
•  Mulderbosch Chenin Blanc 2011. Crisp, clean, food-friendly acidity, creamy mouth; citrus, pear, grapefruit, melon. $15

Last round: My bucket list: ice, water, sparkling wine or a crisp summer white.