There’s a briskness in the air that signals fall is coming. The leaves are changing, some are starting to fall and swirl in piles. Decorative gourdes start to dot the landscape and an unmistakable scent of cinnamon and baking spices seems to permeate the air of every boutique and shop.
As the weather changes we put away summer dresses in favor of sweaters and boots. We think of cozying up by a fire and hearty winter fare. The days grow shorter and Mother Nature seems to signal that it’s time to hunker down and enjoy some time indoors.
We love this time of year for the root vegetables, rich stocks, and hearty flavors. It’s time to make coq au vin, beef stew, and braised lentils – something you can start the night before, or put in a slow cooker and enjoy with a crusty baguette dashing in the door from a long day. Up the ante with a pairing of crisp Chardonnay or always food-friendly Pinot Noir.
‘Tis the season, also, to relish those bolder wines that have been too heavy during the hot summer months. For the first time in a while dense, jammy Zinfandel – with its supple weightiness and brooding dark fruit sounds soooooo good. A rich Cabernet Sauvignon or bold Red Blend suddenly sounds perfect – the firm grip, black pepper spice and velvety texture will play nicely with those richer dishes of fall we so crave.
Try pairing a hearty like the Purple Cowboy Trail Boss Cabernet or Windsor Vineyards Three Vines Red Blend, from the North Coast with a spicy Texas-style slow-cooker chili. The smooth tannins and dense fruit of these two wines are a great match for the flavors and help balance the spice.
A night by the fire, all cozy and warm has the makings of a perfect fall evening. How do I improve on near perfection – with two things – a selection of cheeses and a bottle of wine. If the mood is romantic and flirty try serving a spread of cheeses and opt for a bottle of bubbly – like a Blanc de Blanc to enliven the evening. If you’re looking at relaxation and comfort, a buttery bleu cheese and a bottle of silky, voluptuous and palate pleasing Sonoma County Merlot is just the ticket.
Picking a wine, and pairing it with the occasion, season or cuisine is all about pleasure. So pop the top and make your moment – whatever that means to you.