Seasonal (Wine) Disorders

Cooler fall weather can present a dilemma for wine lovers.

Delicate wines that worked beautifully with light summer foods may no longer pair well with heavier autumn dishes. Similarly, bold, tannic winter wines may overwhelm the subtle spices in stews and roasts.

To avoid these wine “disorders” (aka ordering an unsatisfying wine), here are a few options that one can try.

Pinot Grigio fans might try a glass of Vermentino, another popular Italian grape variety. Vermentino has refreshing acidity and often is made in a slightly richer style than cool-climate Pinot Grigios. Like its northern cousin, it also delivers lemon and lime citrus flavors, plus some nutty aromas that blend well with roasts and stuffing.

Sauvignon Blanc drinkers might enjoy an Albariño from Stella’s Modern Pantry. This signature Spanish grape has a medium body with flavors of apricots, peaches and melon that pair well with seafood recipes that feature rich broths and cream sauces.

If unoaked Chardonnay is a new love, consider an Austrian or New Zealand Grüner Veltliner with your sautéed scallops. This wine shines with flavors of fresh apples, citrus and stone fruits as well as floral and mineral notes. (One should be able to find both Vermentino and Grüner Veltliner at their local wine shop.)

For reds, instead of Pinot Noir, visit the new 7 & 7 Coffee and Wine House and ask for a glass of their Spanish Garnacha. Garnacha is a red grape most commonly associated with the hearty red GSM blends of the Southern Rhone. But the Spanish choose to use the grape (mostly) on its own to make lush, rich, low-acid, low-tannin red wines that are wonderful with pork dishes, grilled meats and—because of its low tannins—a good pairing with mushrooms.

For diehard Cab-with-steak drinkers, break the Cabernet Sauvignon habit and instead try a bottle of Cabernet Franc (the “c” in Franc is silent). Cab Franc is a popular blending grape in Bordeaux wines, but it’s also being grown in California and Virginia. American styles often have a medium body and deliver familiar flavors of black currants, raspberry and bell pepper.

Finally, for those who prefer American red blends, try a GSM (a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre grapes) when dining at La Cuisine. These French blends have less sweetness than typical American styles, making them ideal partners for vegetables and savory foods.

Posted in The Dish

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