Don't give up on white after Labor Day white wine, that is.
Not the usual, off-the-rack whites like chardonnay or sauvignon blanc. Instead, let's try some unusual designer whites and white blends.
Dry semillon: The semillon grape in France's Bordeaux region is used mostly in sweet dessert wines like Chateau d'Yquem. But consider dry semillon as a table wine. Here are a couple of different ones from California.
2009 Andiron Semillon, Alexander Valley (82 percent semillon, 18 percent sauvignon blanc): This is very dry, with aromas of camellias and flavors of honey, golden apples and limes, great with rich dishes with creamy sauces; $20 (recommended).
2010 Buty Semillon, Sauvignon & Muscadelle, Colombia Valley, Wash. (61 percent Semillon, 21 percent sauvignon blanc, 18 percent muscadelle): In this dry wine, the honeyed semillon is joined by crisp, tart sauvignon blanc and the flowers and musk of muscadelle to make a wine that is crisp, rich and creamy at the same time; $35 (highly recommended).
Moscato: This, the favorite wine equally of Italian gourmands and American hip-hop artists, is usually made from the muscat grape. But Australia's Peter Lehmann winery makes it from the similar white frontignac grape.
2011 Peter Lehman Art Series Moscato, Barossa, Australia: light, zingy and just off-dry, with floral aromas and lime flavors; $13 (recommended).
Multi-grape blends: Members of multigenerational, family-owned wineries tell me one of their greatest joys when the harvest is in is to sit around a pot- bellied stove in the picking shed, sip the season's just-made new wine and brainstorm what new blends they would like to try next year. Sometimes they just throw in the kitchen sink.
2011 Big House Winery Big House White, Monterey (27 percent viognier, 20 percent malvasia bianca, 13 percent gruner veltliner, 9 percent gewurztraminer, 9 percent albarino, 8 percent sauvignon blanc, 7 percent muscat canelli, 4 percent chardonnay, 1 percent riesling, 1 percent pinot grigio, 1 percent other aromatic whites): Crisp and rich, with flavors of ripe peaches and mangos and a hint of lime; $10 (highly recommended).
2009 Ferrari-Carano Bella Luce White Wine Blend, Sonoma County (chardonnay, muscat, semillon, muscat giallo, gewurztraminer, pinot blanc, riesling): light, crisp and lively, with a hint of sweetness and flavors of peaches, pineapples and other tropical fruits; $16 (recommended).