In some parts of the country, the crisp corners of autumn are filling the air; in other places, it's as hot as ever. Such meteorologic schizophrenia brings up some tough decisions: what to wear, and, more importantly, what to drink.
To get you through shoulder season, memorize this word: Schiava. The wine grape, indigenous to the mountainous border of Italy and Germany, produces a red wine with all the grace and flexibility of a summer white. It is also refreshingly well-priced.
Here are three producers that we’ll be drinking through fall. As for your sartorial decisions, we’re afraid we can’t help.
2010 Gumphof Südtiroler Vernatsch ($18 for 750ml) Made by a father-and-son team, this organic wine is fermented with native yeasts. Bright with notes of cherry and embers, the wine sings when served with a slight chill. (A little piece of wine vocab: Vernatsch is the German word for Schiava.)
2011 Alois Lageder Römigberg Kaltersee ($20 for 750ml) This classic expression of Schiava from Alois Lageder, one of the leading wineries in the region, stands out with a dry streak. But the pronounced fruit stands up to fat and spice beautifully.
2010 Terlan St. Magdalener “Häusler” ($19 for 750ml) Schiava is blended with another local grape, Lagrein, for this juicy, mineral-tinged beauty. Slightly rough around the edges, it’s the perfect bottle to drink at your Indian summer barbecue.