Tag Archives: Pinot Noir

Fall Wines

Woman holding a glass of wine

If you love pumpkin, there are a lot of reasons to love fall. For those who frequent the coffeehouses and health food joints, there’s the pumpkin pie smoothie, the pumpkin spice hot cocoa, the pumpkin spice chai tea latte and the chocolate swirl pumpkin spiced smoothie. But of course anything goes with pumpkin in the fall, and alcohol is no exception, so, for those looking to let loose, there is the Kahlua pumpkin spice hazelnut coffee, the pumpkin spice whiskey cocktail, the pumpkin spice white Russian, and the always invigorating apple pumpkintini.

While these all seem very exotic, and are no doubt adventurous, to say the least, there may be a group that is not so tempted. There may be a group of purists out there who don’t want their alcohol tainted by large orange vegetables. These, ladies and gentlemen, are the wine connoisseurs. If you swear allegiance to wine, there is no reason to abstain in the fall. Even if your tastes do not run to pumpkins, there are plenty of wines that are perfect for the fall weather. The best choices for fall wines are full- bodied whites and light to medium-bodied reds, which pair wonderfully with cooler weather and fall foods.

Pinot Noir
Celebrated in the movie, “Sideways”, Pinot Noir comes from the Burgundy region in France, and is commonly referred to as red Burgundy by its producers. These wines have flavors of black cherries, sweet red berries, mushroom and “forest floor,” the term sommeliers use to describe the smell of damp, freshly fallen leaves. Pinot Noir can be enjoyed with all types of food and can also be served alone.

Woman holding a glass of wine

Merlot means The Little Blackbird in French. It is soft and elegant and is often the first wine a red wine novice is introduced to. Although it gained popularity in combination with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot came into its own when winemakers began creating wines with 100% Merlot. American winemakers found that the grape was easy to grow and that Americans appreciated its softness and low tannin levels.

Oaked Chardonnay
Rich and full-bodied, oaked chardonnays are buttery with flavors of vanilla and caramel, which come from the oak. Oaked chardonnay from a cool climate will tend toward a more citrussy flavor than its warmer climate counterparts, which tend to favor tropical fruit flavors.

Woman holding a glass of sparkling wine

Sparkling Wines
Although often referred to as champagne, wine connoisseurs will be quick to tell you that sparkling wine should only be referred to as champagne if it comes from Champagne, France. Sparkling wine is made by allowing fermentation to take place without gas escaping. The carbon dioxide returns to the wine in the form of tiny bubbles and can be enjoyed throughout the world.

Cabernet Franc
Cabernet Franc is a red medium- bodied wine which originated in the Basque country of France. It is known for its bell pepper flavor, and its medium high acidity, and its reduced tannin makes it ideal for food pairing. It is most suited to sauces with a vinegar base, BBQ included, tomato based meals and rich veggies. For best results, match it with real herbs.

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What Goes Well With Red

“Red, red wine, Go to my head, Make me forget that I, Still need her so.” These were the lyrics to “Red, Red Wine” as they were first written by Neil Diamond. Many GenXers will be more familiar with the UB40 edit which expanded to include lines such as, “Red, red wine, you make me feel so fine, You keep me rockin’ all of the time” and, “Red red wine, you make me feel so fine, Monkey pack him rizla pon the sweet dep line.”

Whether you prefer the more conventional Diamond version or the slightly more upbeat jams of UB40, one thing is clear, there are a lot of people who give red wine a lot of credit. If you are one of these people and are looking to incorporate red wine into your diet, remember, your tongue is your best judge of what goes well together, but dark to light is the general guideline. Red wines are normally served with heavier foods and are not usually paired with opening courses and appetizers. There are some food choices you may want to consider to complement your red wine choice.

1. Barbera
When Billy Joel sang, “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant,” he was probably drinking Barbera, the standard red wine found in Italian restaurants and pizza places. Its low tannins go well with tomatoes and the acidity is good for breaking down rich, fatty foods like salami and cheese.

Pouring a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon

2. Cabernet Sauvignon
Known for its nobility, the medium or full bodied taste of Cabernet Sauvignon goes well with hearty dishes like roast beef lamb and coq au vin. Recipe suggestions include slow roast lamb with cinnamon, fennel and citrus and beef fillet.

3. Gamay
Tossing some meat on the barbie? Break out the Gamay. It goes well with veggies from the griddle or sardines and sausage. Store in the refrigerator one hour prior to opening and serve lightly chilled. Try it with a sizzling sausage salad or some spare ribs with barbecue sauce.

4. Merlot
Merlot is a traditional holiday staple. Serve it with your Christmas turkey, road chicken or duck or winter casseroles or just open it up for a Friday night dinner in front of the T.V.

Glass of Pinot Noir

5. Pinot Noir
Another holiday classic, Pinot Noir goes perfectly with roast turkey and lamb and also works well with mild, creamy soft cheeses.

6. Shiraz
Enjoy the full bodied taste of Shiraz in the winter with roasted veggies and grilled steak. Enjoy its hints of mocha and blackcurrants with herbed pork fillet.

7. Zinfandel
Bring on the Zin as a fabulous complement to sautéed field mushroom or succulent roast or braised venison. California’s historic wine, Zinfandel was immortalized by leading producer Joel Peterson who characterized it with the slogan, “no wimpy wines here.” Get tough with this American classic and bring some class to the party.

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