There are so many things about autumn/fall that make it my most favorite season of the four! Where do I start? How about the changing colors in nature, sweaters, scarves, sunny days with crispy air, and of course Thanksgiving (my favorite holiday as it’s just about eating and drinking with no expectation of gift giving – I’m not a Scrooge, but it’s just a lot of stress and expectation. You nor I need another Chia Pet). However, what really makes me giddy is fall food and wine.
I use the crock pot all year long, but it really gets a workout this time of year. Soups, stews, hearty pasta sauces, casseroles and my most favorite – cassoulet. If you don’t know what cassoulet is, you’re missing out. There are many ways to make it, but the traditional method uses duck confit as the base, but there are many ways to get around that if you must. The reality is that duck confit can be hard to find, a bit pricey, and cassoulet is a somewhat time consuming to make. So let’s be frank – we all can be a bit lazy at times.
Fall wines I consider “transitory”. In the summer we tend to drink much lighter, with whites like Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio etc. and lots of crisp rosé! From my observation big red drinkers rarely deviate from their favorite Cabernets and Malbec’s, even in the summer. But for those of us who follow that seasonal pattern of wine drinking, now is the time to transition.
Starting with the whites, we are looking for wines with a little more body and character. You can’t go wrong with Chenin Blanc, Gewürztraminer, Riesling, Viognier, Roussanne and Marsanne. If you like Chardonnay, go a little more oakey rather than wines that use stainless steel in the aging process. All of these are brilliant food wines that can hold their own with some of the dishes I mentioned above.
For reds, you want wines that tend to be lean and light. They don’t use a lot of oak, are low in tannins and sometimes can be a little more on the fruity side – not to be mistaken as sweet. These include Dolcetto, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, Gamay, Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre/Monastrall to name a few. I also find that many of these reds can have a spicy white pepper quality to them that contribute to their excellent pairing ability with food.
Let’s not forget rosé. They not just for spring and summer drinking. There are many degrees of rosé that can easily guide you into fall and winter. I recommend finding a wine that uses the Saignée method (French, this word translates to “to bleed”). This winemaking process is generally a byproduct of the red wine production process, rather than a method specifically used to produce rosé wine. Winemakers who emphasize bold red wines with big flavor use this method most often. And if you’re not sure, look for a rosé darker in color. They will more than likely be richer and bolder.
So have I tempted you to dive deep into the wines of fall? Here are a few recommendations we have now at Amitie Wine Company:
Sobon Estate Viognier $18.00
Gard Vintners Freya White Blend $20
Lang & Reed Chenin Blanc $25
Friends White Blend $12
Jordan Chardonnay $26
Poderi Elia Dolcetto d”Alba $16
WillaKenzie Pinot Meunier $29
Bodegas Lavia Plus Monastrall $20
Clos des Lumieres Ma Vie Rouge $12
Three of Cups GSM $14