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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.