Keep Cool, My Babies!


In Texas, the transition from summer to fall is nearly undetectable. Occasional breezes interrupt a steady flow of heat that typically gets us all the way to Halloween. So, while the rest of the world makes a clean break from crisp outdoor white wines and roses to deep, crunchy reds, we may be more inclined to take a measured response in the form of light-bodied, chill-able reds. Don't worry; Ensemble's gotchu.

1. 2014 Caecus Tempranillo. This joven-style wine from Rioja Altavesa is unoaked tempranillo with 5% garnacha. A small percentage of grapes even undergo carbonic maceration to increase the freshness and brightness of fruit. Do like the locals -- chill it and take it outside.

2. 2015 Pavillon de Chavannes Cote de Brouilly. Never wrong. Consistently smooth and bursting with strawberry goodness, the highest elevation vineyard in Cru Beaujolais also shows just the right amount of acidity and earthiness to pair with anything and everything short of a t-bone steak.

3. 2014 Georges Vernay Fleurs de Mai VdP Syrah. Yeah, now I suddenly want a steak, too! Fortunately, this wine can handle grilled meats and take a slight chill. How about syrah planted just above the Condrieu plateau and vinified by Christine Vernay with the softest touch. Lavender aromas, restrained plum, and just enough grip to remind you it really is syrah.