We are very lucky. After being married for so many years, we still seem to agree on most things. But when it comes to picking our favorite wines to wind down the summer with, well, that's where we agree to disagree. While we both believe that Labor Day is all about saying goodbye to summer, we have very different opinions about the wine we chose to do it with.
So, as we prepare for re-entry back to the hectic world of school car pools, sports schedules and life in general, we each offer our perspective on the wines we pick to celebrate with on Labor Day. Retail prices are approximate.
I like wines that commemorate the final days of summertime. Since the temperature is still warm, I tend to opt for dry to off-dry white wines. These include sauvignon blancs, albarinos and rieslings. These wines are versatile, refreshing and seasonally appropriate.
I like sauvignon blanc and I love sparkling wines. The nonvintage Lake Chalice Cracklin' Savie Sauvignon Blanc ($19) from Marlborough, New Zealand, marries these two concepts with success. Classic sauvignon blanc flavors of tropical fruit, passion fruit and grapefruit are carried over the palate by just a slight spritz of carbonation. The notes of citrus on the finish are accentuated by the bright, refreshing acidity. QPR 8
Albarino wines are quickly catching on. These Spanish white wines are flavorful yet delicate and pair with a variety of seafood dishes, like the 2011 Martin Codax Albarino ($14) from Rias Baixas, Spain. The stainless steel fermentation lets the pure fruit flavors of apple, nectarine and citrus shine through on the front of the palate while the sur lee aging adds notes of pear and apricot on the charming finish. QPR 8.5
Summertime is a perfect time to break out a well-chilled riesling. These white wines can vary from bone-dry to very sweet, but the 2011 Joh. Jos. Prum Riesling Kabinett ($24) from Mosel, Germany, strikes a perfect balance. This refreshing white displays scents of citrus blossoms and petrol (a coveted characteristic) on the nose and flavors of white peach and fresh apricots in the mouth. Notes of jasmine and lychee nut add to the tangy finish. QPR 9
Labor Day does not necessarily signal the end of summer as much as it means a great excuse to have a party featuring grilled meats and red wines to complement. I consider the holiday weekend a warm-up for the much-anticipated arrival of cabernet sauvignon, zinfandel and syrah season.
I am a fan of the 2009 Rodney Strong Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley ($20), from one of the oldest winery operations in Sonoma, Calif. This beautifully made cabernet has remarkable structure and elegance for the price and offers up loads of dark plum, black cherry and blackberry flavors across the palate. Notes of spice and cocoa blend in on the supple finish. QPR 8.5
Old vines can make interesting zinfandels, and zin pioneer Joel Peterson knows how to coax the most complexity out of mature vines. His 2009 Ravenswood Old Vine Zinfandel ($15) from Lodi, Calif., offers scents of blueberry liqueur and cherry on the nose and rich flavors of spicy cherry, raspberry and blueberry in the mouth. Notes of pepper on the finish make it a classic. QPR 8.5
Crozes-Hermitage is a wine appellation in the northern Rhone Valley region of France. It does not garner as much attention as its neighbors, Cote-Rotie or Hermitage, but syrah-base 2007 E. Guigal Crozes-Hermitage ($23) is worth noticing. The smoky, meaty nose leads to flavors of dark plum, black cherry and spice in the mouth. The well-balanced finish has just a hint of black licorice on the back end. QPR 9
Note: QPR is a rating system that compares the quality a wine delivers relative to the price. A QPR of 10 is considered an excellent value.