But for now, let’s concentrate mainly on red wines that will match barbecued meats and grilled vegetables outside and an array of fancier dishes at the dining room table. Depending on your mood, there are some great, sophisticated red wines here, but there are also some lesser-known selections which will allow you to explore the Italian sub-Alps and the river valleys of the American Northwest.
Wines for review were provided by their producers or importers at no cost to the writer.
Bertoldi “Gran Passione” Veneto Bianco IGT ($14). A slightly sweet, juicy, floral combination of peach and citrus flavors.
Rocca di Montemassi “Calasole” Maremma Toscana Vermentino 2016 ($15). Expect to see more of vermentino, a delightful green-fruited grape, especially in wines coming from Maremma, a seaside region in western-central Italy. This wine is quite good with green flavors, but not as pungent and limey as a New Zealand sauvignon blanc.
Maryhill Columbia Valley Rosé of Sangiovese 2017 ($16). A little creamy with good cherry flavor and a crisp finish.
Santa Julia “Mountain Blend” Valle de Uco Red Wine 2017 ($12). Bright red berries with a tart finish.
Santa Julia Valle de Uco Malbec Reserva 2017 ($13). Very bright fruit for a “reserve,” but good cherry taste balanced by a crisp finish.
Septima Agrelo Mendoza Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 ($12). Medium-bodied cab with blackberry and raspberry fruit and some finishing savory notes.
Nals Margreid “Galea” Alto Adige Schiava 2017 ($14). Schiava is an underappreciated and inexpensive red grape — think of the vinous equivalent of Rod Stewart’s scratchy voice — that is great with pizza and tomato-based dishes. This one has bright cherry fruitiness, but with an anise-like bitters finish. Serve it chilled or at room temperature.
San Pedro “1865” Maipo Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 ($15). Good cherry fruit with some hints on gaminess and with savory notes.
Galil Mountain “Ela” Galilee Red Wine 2016 ($18). A mainly barbera-syrah blend, it has red fruits — cherry and berries — with a little spice and mild tannins.
Nobilo Marlborough Pinot Noir 2015 ($20). Cherry with cola and rooty flavors, lean, and with a lingering fruity finish.
Chronic Cellars “Sofa King Bueno” Paso Robles Red 2016 ($22). Cherry and raspberry flavors, medium body, light tannic finish.
Tiefenbrunner “Turmhof” Alto Adige Lagrein 2015 ($22). Very nice berry-chocolate fruit, but with a lean balance and a crisp finish.
Borne of Fire “The Burn” Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 ($23). Ripe, brambly blackberries and cherry, a bit on the lush side with a rich finish.
Frescobaldi Tenuta di Castiglioni Toscana IGT 2014 ($23). Enjoyable cherry flavor nicely muted with savory tastes.
Château Pontoise Cabarrus Haut-Médoc 2011 ($25). Mature, savory, murky fruit that fades a bit on the palate.
Donnafugata Cerasuolo di Vittoria 2016 ($33). From a little-known Sicilian appellation, this red blend has bright cherry flavors, a hint of spice and a crisp finish.
Fort Ross “Sea Slopes” Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2016 ($35). Quite nice, very rooty and cherry-spicy with good balance.
Youngberg Hill Vineyards “Cuvée” Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2015 ($36). Good complexity — lovely cherry tastes, nice spiciness, firm and a tangy mineral-y finish.
Adobe Road “Redline” Napa/Sonoma Red Wine 2016 ($40). Very red fruit supplemented with milk chocolate and some forest floor elements.
Youngberg Hill Vineyards Rogue Valley Syrah 2015 ($40). A good wine, but not one that most syrah drinkers would expect — light-ish with tart cranberry flavors.
Long Meadow Ranch Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 ($52). A steak-friendly cab — lean and tight with tart berry flavors.
Smith-Madrone Spring Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 ($52). A straightforward red with muted cherries and lots of earthiness and chocolate notes.
Youngberg Hill Vineyards “Jordan” Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2015 ($52). Very enjoyable with refreshing, tart, but nevertheless ripe cherry flavor and a good smooch of creamy oak.
Stewart Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 ($70). Very smooth at the beginning with muddled ripe cherries, then a pleasant, tannic kick at the end — quite tasty.
Fort Ross “Stagecoach Road” Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir ($80). Rich and intense dark fruit — mainly raspberry — with good balance and acidity. To get the most out of your last summer bash, pair any of the above wines with these 18 recipes for an epic Labor Day party.