What to Drink Now

> New Zealand Pinot Noir

September is a time of transitions: from hot to cold, from frivolous to serious, and—for many wine drinkers—from white to red. But there’s no need to rush into things. You could tie your tongue in a knot going directly from the light, bright whites of summer to the dark, brooding winter reds.

To bridge the gap, consider Pinot Noir. Neither heavy nor light, it’s a red wine that commands attention without requiring you to sit up straight to appreciate it. And its soft, sensuous personality seems tailor-made for this mellow time of year.

Pinot Noir is positioned to be the next big breakthrough grape for New Zealand. Wil Bailey, of the Wine Company (a St. Paul—based importer and distributor), recommends the Delta Vineyard Marlborough Pinot Noir, made from grapes grown in the same region that put New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc on the world wine map, but in the more Pinot-friendly clay soils of Marlborough’s higher ground. It’s lively yet supple—just the ticket for easing your way out of summer.

Delta Vineyard Marlborough Pinot Noir 2006, $17.45, at Hennepin-Lake Liquor Store, 1200 W. Lake St., Mpls., 612-825-4411