(Shared with permission from Co-op Wines Spirits Beer)
Rich Autumn White & Red Wines with A Little More Weight
As the nights get a little cooler and you begin to reach for a sweater for the first time in a while, you may notice your wine cravings changing with the season. As we move into autumn, our cooking tends to get a little richer and we tend to reach for wines with a little more weight and texture – a little more warmth to make up for that chill in the air. Below are five wines that are must-tries this fall that will give you a bright and cozy feeling, while also pairing beautifully with harvest season ingredients like squash, mushrooms, carrots, apples and game meats.
Fall Wine #1: Pinot Gris
Pinot Gris is the most widely planted grape variety in Canada’s Okanagan Valley and it is tailor-made for Alberta’s fall weather. When grown in British Columbia, Pinot Gris is medium-bodied, with juicy flavours of pear, nectarine and almond. Thanksgiving is coming up, and Pinot cozies-up nicely to turkey. The 2016 Cedar Creek Pinot Gris comes from one of our favourite Canadian producers, which consistently makes excellent wine for a reasonable price.
Fall Wine #2: Viognier
It is not winter, yet! Viognier is a grape variety that seems to have one foot firmly planted in summer with its sunny flavours of peaches and honey, while at the same time feeling made for colder temperatures with its weighty, oily texture. The 2015 Delas Viognier from southern France satisfies the urge for heavier, riper wine without having to reach for a bitter red. Viognier – say it with me, “Vee-own-yay” – is usually lower in acid, and can handle richer foods. Do you like roast chicken? So does Viognier.
Fall Wine #3: Valdiguie
Chances are you have never heard of the grape variety Valdiguie. Don’t worry – it doesn’t matter. Valdiguie is a grape, like the popular and trendy grapes Pinot Noir and Gamay, which is light, fruity, silky and incredibly food-friendly. In other words, it’s easy-to-drink and delicious. The grape is most commonly grown in southern France under the name Gros Auxerrois, and isn’t very common in our market. But, it has been grown in California for generations, and the 2016 J. Lohr “Wildflower” Valdiguie is bright and tangy, with a lovely cranberry, pomegranate red-fruit flavour that will elevate your traditional Thanksgiving meal.
Fall Wine #4: Sangiovese
Sangiovese is what you’d call very “medium”. It is medium-bodied; not too heavy, but not too light. With its generous levels of acidity and tannin, Sangiovese will make its presence known, but it will never overwhelm. It is perfect for fall. As we tuck away our BBQs for the winter and dust off the slow cookers, Sangiovese pairs nicely with simmered tomato sauces, and braised meats. It loves hard cheeses, too. The 2015 Zingarelli “Rocca delle Macie” Chianti Classico is loaded with flavour of red cherry and fresh herbs.
Fall Wine #5: Tempranillo
With their savoury, leathery flavours, wines made from the grape Tempranillo have a very autumnal feel. Tempranillo is one of the most widely planted grapes in Spain, and is considered grape royalty in the Rioja region. The 2012 LAN Rioja Crianza is sophisticated and balanced, pairing brambly red-fruit flavours with oaky, spicy nuances. Tempranillo can handle a variety of food pairings, from pasta, to roasted meats, and even taco night.
Fall Wine #6: Grenache
In Spain the grape variety is called Garnacha and has good weight with balanced tannins. Fall is a great transition from light bodied reds into medium or full wines that have textured tannins without being too over the top. A Spanish Garnacha is just that red and the best examples are complex and food-friendly. The Bernabeleva 2016 Garnacha is a delicious wine that will warm you up and pair well with a hearty lamb stew.
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