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Some red wines to savor while awaiting fall's harvest.

Indian Summer Reds


Tired of tomatoes, corn and basil? I am! But as I anxiously await fall's harvest of sweet potatoes, game birds and wild mushrooms, the weather is still warm and big, bold reds like syrah and most cabernets are just too overwhelming. So, until there's a bit of nip in the air, I'm going to sip pinot noirs and Beaujolais cru as well as the wines listed below.

1998 Rosso Oriente La Casa di Bacco, $9.99. Look for the geisha girl on the label (the winemakers suggest this wine be served with Asian fare) and enjoy this bold — but not overwhelming — red wine with grilled steaks or grilled sweet sausages. (Mildly seasoned Asian fare would be good, too.) Made in Italy from Cabernet Franc and Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso grapes, this affordable, ruby-red wine has hints of biscuits and hazelnuts in the nose.

1999 de Lenardo Vineyards Refosco, D.O.C., $8.99. A terrific value, this red from Italy's Fruili region is medium-bodied with hints of ripe plums. Made from the Refosco grape (which is known as Mondeuse Noir in France), this wine is best served slightly cool but not chilled. It's terrific with grilled chicken or grilled veal chops.

1995 Torre Roa Nebbiolo D'Alba, $13.99. Garnet-colored with glints of topaz, this lean, dry, red with flavors of dried cranberries is delicious with rich meats such as butterflied leg of lamb or grilled sausages.

1997 Valle dell'Asso Salento, $7.99. Having a big party with a small budget? This is a terrific choice. The nose is full and robust with hints of ripe cherries and plums. The wine is lean, but full of fruit flavors and wonderful with grilled pork loin or roast chicken.

1996 Trentadue Sangiovese, $18. This California blend of sangiovese and petite sirah is garnet-red with aromas of mint and blackberries. Lean and elegant, it's delicious with meaty pasta dishes and rich dishes such as lasagna or eggplant Parmesan.

1998 Les Granges Chinon, $11.99. This garnet-red French wine is elegant and dry, with nicely balanced fruit and tannins that won't overwhelm lighter fare such as grilled salmon or sautéed chicken

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