Labor Day has come and gone. It’s now dark by 8:00. Time to stop wearing (if not drinking) white. I’m all for pushing ahead to Fall. But first, must clean the cobwebs off the blog by sharing some summer leftovers and good news about things ahead…

Looking back, best white wine I had this summer was the Matthiasson 2008 Napa Valley White Blend. Have had two vintages previous and this one, decanted and poured during the Wine Bloggers Conference, was just as complex, deep and sublime. What I loved most about it was how it was…different. Fruity and earthy. Powerful and elegant. A real whodathunkit, combining Sauvignon Blanc, Ribolla Gialla and Semillon. [Full disclosure: I went to high school with Jill Klein, co-proprietor; back then she was just one of my sister’s friends. Did not even know she was in Napa ’til a couple years ago. Hubby Steve makes the vino.]

Surprise twist of the summer? I took a re-liking with Chardonnay, inspired by excellent bottlings from Stonestreet and Dutton-Goldfield. Yeah, they’re big and lusty, but secretly satisfying in a fling-with-an-old-girlfriend kind of way. Even better: the rim-rocking slam-dunk Tandem 2006 Manchester Ridge Vyd bottling from Mendocino Ridge.

I started recommending Russian River Pinots a lot this summer, mainly because I can’t remember having a bad one. Ever. And they seem to all deliver both fruit and spice but ne’er too much oak. Really like the J Vineyards regular RRV bottling for about $20. For a splurge: Eric Kent. One California Pinot that keeps haunting me: the Paraiso 2007 Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir; lipsmacking.

Maybe the most surprising wine-based beverage I tried all summer was a cocktail. At the Coffee Shop in Union Square in Manhattan, on a lazy, hot afternoon. I forget the name and have not dared try to replicate, but the dreamy combo included: Champagne, New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, simple syrup and a muddled red grape that was like a prize at the bottom of the cereal box. The elixir seemed to seep straight into my veins with every sip.

OK, now that I have those wines off my cerebellum, on to a more cerebral topic: I am back in the Wine Media Game. For the past month or so, this blog has been very…quiet…as I have been working on the launch of a new website: www.palatepress.com. If you are reading this on Wednesday, 09/09/09, do not click through just yet. The official launch is tomorrow, September 10, 2009.

In short, Palate Press is a natural next step in online wine media: an aggregation of very talented bloggers (and a few traditional scribes) creating original content for a centralized site. My title is Editor in Chief, but I see mysef as part cat-herder, part cheerleader, and part mentor as I help turn some very neat ideas into nice bitesize stories.

Palate Press is an idea whose time is NOW. Print wine magazines continue to NOT GET IT as they churn out bloated buying guides and act as if there are no perspectives worth considering other than their own. And yet wine, in the midst of economic rough seas, is more deserving than ever of an even-handed, open-minded source of fresh thinking. I am very proud to be a part of this new-age paperless venture. It’s going to have fantastic editorial with the thoroughly modern bonus of reader participation. Yes, every article will be a literal blog post, meaning that we want YOU to read, think and add your two sheckels. It is going to be a fun and interesting ride, with six stories launching on 9/10, and then stories added daily beginning the following week. So please, stop by and check it out at www.palatepress.com.