Changing Wines with the Season

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Well, it’s official! Today is the first day of fall 2009? With some cold weather already creeping into the Adirondacks and Lake George and the leaves beginning to change, people’s taste for wine change with the season as well.

While all our wines were very popular throughout the summer, the most popular were our lighter, sweeter wines. Refreshing delights on a hot summer day.

A Sept. 8 article By Tania Bazaldua of the Gatehouse News Service, titled “Wine Just Fine for Fall” reads:

As summer slowly but surely diminishes and September starts to creep around the corner, it’s not just the color of leaves that are changing. Wine dabblers and connoisseurs are making the transition from whites to reds and pairing them with their favorite dishes and cheeses just in time for fall.

“In the summertime, you see more refreshing, brighter whites like sauvignon blanc and pinot grigio,” said Lisa D’Adamo, owner of Tannins Wine Bar & Boutique in Elmhurst, Ill. “Rosés don’t sell in the cooler months, but when you get into fall, you have whites that blend like riesling, Gewurztraminer and chardonnay. As the weather gets colder, people transition to white wines that are heavier and higher in alcohol content.”

Because of the chemical balance of these drinks, the weight is more palpable, and they are good supplements for heavier fare, she said.

While some whites still are appropriate for fall, red wines make a bolder statement and see a rise in popularity because of the food they complement.

Chardonnay is a red wine drinker’s white counterpart, D’Adamo said. Although steak traditionally is eaten with red wine — like cabernet sauvignon and shiraz — riesling and chardonnay are the exceptions. They also pair well with Thanksgiving essentials: pork, turkey, stuffing, pumpkins and butternut squash.

“The fattier the meat, the heavier the wine you want because of the tannins needed to break it down,” said K.C. Gulbro, owner and general manager of Foxfire in Geneva, Ill. “It brings the flavor out and complements it.”

With spicier fall foods such as Cajun dishes or peppercorn-crusted meals, fruitier shiraz and zinfandel are perfect choices, he said.

Depending on the type of fish that is ordered and prepared, there are a variety of wines that pair best with seafood.

“If you have lobster tail or crab, go with the chardonnay. It’s a little bit dryer,” Gulbro said. “If you choose a fattier fish or white fish, then choose a sauvignon blanc or pinot grigio.”

He recommends a more oaky chardonnay that has been barrel-aged to accompany salmon. Chicken, on the other hand, can be tricky because it can be prepared in many different ways, he added. Usually pinot noirs and merlots are recommended with chicken. However, chicken with summer sauces usually pair best with white wines.

“If you drink heavy red wines, like a cabernet, you’ll overpower the flavor of the chicken,” he said. “Reds won’t pair well with chicken because there’s not so much acidity.”

Gulbro serves organic pork in his restaurant and always suggests his guests choose a shiraz or pinot noir. Lighter meats go well with those reds, or you may want to opt for an oaky chardonnay instead, he said.

“Every palate is different,” Gulbro added. “Some people like cabernet with their fish. Others don’t. One might say something is great paired together, but to someone else it’s not.

“I just make sure I always give a recommendation when offering my food,” he said.

RIESLING

This white wine is known for its floral perfume. It can be crisp and bone-dry, full-bodied and spicy, or luscious and sweet. The flavor often has a hint of peaches, apricots, honey and apples.

Say cheese: Try white cheddar

CABERNET SAUVIGNON

This is a red wine known for its depth of flavor, aroma and ability to age. It’s full-bodied and intense, with cherry-currant and sometimes herbal flavors. Cabernet sauvignon may have noticeable tannins.

Say cheese: Try bleu

PINOT NOIR

This is a red wine of light to medium body and delicate, smooth, rich complexity with earthy aromas. They are less tannic than a cabernet sauvignon or a merlot. Pinot noirs exude the flavor of baked cherries, plums, mushrooms, cedar, cigars and chocolate.

Say cheese: Try Le D’elice de Bourgogne

CHARDONNAY

This is a white wine that can range from clean and crisp with a hint of varietal flavors to rich and complex oak-aged. Chardonnay balances fruit, acidity and texture.

Say cheese: Try aged gouda

SAUVIGNON BLANC

This is a white wine best known for its grassy, herbal flavor. It is also called fume blanc.

Say cheese: Try brie
 
RIOJA

This well-known red originates from the Rioja region of Spain. Classic and bold, it has bright, fresh flavors.

Say cheese: Try manchego

Source: Foxfire, Tannins and WineIntro.com 

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