As the summer slips away, I fight to hold on to the fading signs of a glorious season and embrace the last vestiges of its greatest glory -- the vegetable garden! Actually, having slightly cooler weather in the evenings has let me begin to shift from light summer wines to ones with a little more oomph. This past weekend I spent a few hours working on a wonderful batch of ratatouille and then enjoyed a fine dinner with a simply great wine match: Cotes du Rhone. Neither particularly big nor complex, this style of wine really lets the complexity of the ratatouille take center stage.

What to expect:

Rhone Blends are generally based on Grenache, though some may be predominantly Syrah or even Mourvedre. The fact that these wines are blends gives the winemakers unusual flexibility in creating the finished wine. In the Southern Rhone Valley of France the styles can range from light, fruity, soft Cotes du Rhone to big, bold, age-worthy Chateauneuf-du-pape.