It's OK to drink wine over the Labor Day weekend. Really. The beer police won't come and arrest you. Holiday picnics and back porch barbecues usually mean lighter wines, and I've offered several suggestions below. But, assuming this summer's heat wave is ending where you are, Labor day also marks the return of bigger red wines, like cabernet sauvignon or merlot -- not bad with ribs or burgers.
The Wine Curmudgeon will spend this weekend at the Kerrvile Wine & Music Festival, where I'll participate in a couple of panel discussions about Texas wine. It's one of my favorite wine events, and the music isn't bad, either. Stop by and say hello:
• Cortijo III Rose 2010 ($10, purchased): A solid and dependable Spanish rose, with more fruit (strawberry and watermelon) than most of its brethren but a bit of heft to remind you that it's still Spanish.
• Paul Cheneau Blanc de Blanc Brut NV ($15, purchased): This, along with a cava from Bodegas Sumarroca, were much better than the food at a Sunday lunch at a Dallas tapas restaurant. Very, very well done Spanish bubbly, with lots of tight bubbles. Highly recommended.
• Tormaresca Roycello Salento 2010 ($22, sample): This Italian white has lots of stone fruit (peaches) and a very floral aroma, similar to viognier (though it's made with fiano, a little known grape, even in its native Italy). It makes for a soft, relaxing wine that is very different from the usual sort of Italian low-fruit, acid-driven labels.