In the United States, Labor Day is celebrated on the first Monday of September. While originally established as a day to acknowledge labor unions and to provide a day of rest and amusement for laborers and their families, Labor Day has long been regarded as a general bookend to the summer season, more associated with cookouts, back-to-school shopping and the Jerry Lewis telethon than with labor movements.
Here at WineSpectator.com, though, because we know that the wine business is all about hard work, we've decided to give the holiday the respect it deserves by exploring many aspects of labor in the context of winemaking.
To start, we've got notes on recently rated, value-priced reds and rosés from Southern France, where vignerons have long been at odds with the French government over the value of their vinous labors. To learn more about the tumultuous state of affairs in southern France, read the news articles When Winemakers Attack and Europe's Plan to Pull Up Vineyards Is Met With Disdain … Again. For some perspectives on labor here in the United States, read Where Have All the Workers Gone? and Rise of the Machines.
As harvest season gets underway across the Northern Hemisphere, we thought it would be a good time to remember all of the backbreaking labor that goes into making great wines. We've captured that work in a series of videos, each one showcasing a different step in the process:
And, if you'll be laboring over a grill on this last weekend of the (unofficial) summer season, check out chef Michelle Bernstein's recipe for a Mixed Grill of Skirt Steak, Lime-Butter Shrimp, Clams and Mexican-Style Corn, just one of the many star chefs' recipes featured in the annual Wine Spectator Food Issue. Our recipe search feature is another great source of summer recipes, from grilled ribeye steaks and sirloin burgers to lobster salad, pork chops and potato salad.
However you observe the holiday, enjoy!
|DOMAINE LIGNÈRES Corbières Aric 2002||90||$20|
|Lush, with a silky texture. Shows vibrant red cherry, spice and red berry flavors, which finish with chocolate and hints of vanilla. Very refined, structured and still quite fresh. Carignane, Mourvèdre and Syrah. Drink now through 2012. 2,790 cases made.
|MAS DE LAVAIL Côtes du Roussillon-Villages Tradition 2005||88||$15|
|Has a lively core of raspberry and red plum flavors, with a lip-smacking slathering of licorice and dark chocolate. The tannic finish echoes the fruit, with peppery notes. Drink now through 2008. 2,000 cases made.
|BARON GASSIER Côtes de Provence Rosé Sables d'Azur 2006||87||$10|
|This has a rose petal aroma and structured, well-defined berry, cherry and Fuji apple flavors, with a creamy finish. Drink now. 5,000 cases made.
|FAMILLE ICHÉ Minervois Château d'Oupia 2005||87||$12|
|A tight red, with a meaty aroma and concentrated damson plum, sanguine and dried cherry flavors. The powerful finish features graphite notes. Drink now through 2010. 10,000 cases imported.
|CHÂTEAU DE POURCIEUX Côtes de Provence Rosé 2006||87||$13|
|Has a pretty copper, salmon color, with lively flavors of berry, plum and delicious light spicy notes. The crisp finish shows hints of lime. Syrah, Grenache and Cinsault. Drink now. 11,000 cases made.
|DOMAINE CAZES Côtes du Roussillon-Villages Château Triniac Latour de France 2005||86||$9|
|Shows a vibrant aroma of crushed red fruits, with kirsch and boysenberry flavors and a peppery finish. A youthful red for barbecue fare. Drink now. 25,000 cases made.
|JEAN-LUC COLOMBO Syrah Vin de Pays d'Oc La Violette 2005||85||$12|
|This tasty red mixes roasted plum, boysenberry and spice notes with tangy acidity and light tannins, with a moderate finish. Drink now. 15,000 cases made.
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