Slightly Chilled

What to pour during the shoulder season

September can be hot and muggy or cool and dry–often in the same day.

In terms of wine, such vacillating weather calls for versatile bottles. We prefer lighter-bodied reds, which will stay flexible at the dinner table as the season shifts.

Here are three styles to try: For best results, serve them (in the spirit of September) slightly chilled:

Barbera d'Alba The high-acid Barbera grape calls Piedmont home, and it's one of the most food-friendly varieties around. The 2007 Vietti Barbera d'Alba Tre Vigne is ultrabright and fruity–charming and flirty, it's anything but dumb (vietti.com).

Cru Beaujolais The region's more serious wines provide amazing value; the 2008 George Duboeuf Fleurie Beaujolais is a firm and slightly chewy bottling bursting with fresh fruit character (duboeuf.com).

Marlborough Pinot Noir New Zealand's Marlborough region isn't just for Sauvignon Blanc anymore: Its easy-drinking Pinots rival those from Oregon for the best non-Burgundy bottles on the planet. The 2007 Matua Valley Marlborough Estate Pinot Noir, which offers a surprising amount of depth and a very silky texture, seems as though it should cost twice the price (matua.co.nz).