Labor Day summer sippers

Two months of summer are gone, one month remains. Labor Day looms in dozen days as final hot holiday.

Soon enough thoughts turn from baseballs to footballs, from trips to grandparent houses to trudging to school, from praying for rain to grow crops to praying for rain to hold off so we can harvest crops.

That said, late August and September can be—are likely to be—scorching. We visit sip-while-you-sweat wines a final time.

Flash advice: Think bubbly. Think pink. Think whites, especially ones that avoided oak during their making. Think light, crisp, fun.

Some cool-weather countries make excellent hot weather wines: Austrian grüner veltliners and German Rieslings leap to mind.

Portugal’s vinho verdes are terrific bargains and great summer sips. You may have to ask wine store personnel to help you find these on their shelves, but it will be worth the effort.

Wine snobs flinch, but cool fun in the sun also works with pinot grigio-pinot gris and (here snobs really shudder) white zinfandel. All can be served in a tumbler on ice; some people even add ginger ale. Hey, it’s hot and no one is looking. Your kids will not be frolicking in the pool or sprinkler much longer—go ahead, enjoy light, crisp, refreshing one more time. Seriously expensive reds and assorted oak monsters pondered around crackling fires will command short days and long nights soon enough.

Another advantage: selling shelf life of lighter, brighter, summer whites are numbered—there can be some hot bargains. Go for it.


• Fâmega White Vinho Verde. Melon, green apple; light clean crisp cutting citrus acidity; touch of fizz; superb summer sip/aperitif. $7

• Big House Unchained Naked Chardonnay 2011. Clean, bright; green apple, pear; nice acidity & fruit expression; no oak/no malo (malolactic fermentation) value winner. $10

• Big House The Birdman Pinot Grigio 2011. Citrus nose, light body, soft palate; melons galore, apple & pear; fresh, crisp summer winner. $10

• J Vineyards Cuvee 20 Brut 25th Anniversary NV. Superb for summer; lemon, grapefruit, golden apple, raspberry; lively, crisp, refreshing sparkling wine. $27