It’s autumn, the leaves are turning crimson and sienna, and there’s a chill in the air. This is the time of year that I look forward to making stews, comfort foods and slow-cooked meals. It’s also my favorite weather for cracking open some hearty, full-bodied wines. I love to curl up next to the fireplace with a good book, a bowl of chili and a fantastic glass of wine.
With Halloween (one of my favorite days of the year) just around the corner, I’ve made some suggestions for wines to drink this fall and perhaps while you’re handing out candy to the trick-or-treaters. After all, the kids can’t have all the fun!!
Ghoulishly Delicious Wines
A fantastic aromatic white wine made from 9 different grapes, this is like the “kitchen-sink” of blended wine, and, is oh so tasty! The wine expresses a creamy, yet lively palate of pear, spice and dried fruit. It’s amazing with spicy foods such as Pan Asian, Indian, and Szechuan. This wine elevates the taste of take-out Chinese food to a whole new level! Approximate retail: $17
Friulano (formerly known as Tocai Friulano) is the local white wine in Friuli, a fine wine growing region in northeast Italy. This medium-bodied white is a favorite with many friends who say they only drink chardonnay. The wine is lush, with flavors of ripe peaches and zesty pineapple. An almond finish rounds out the wine. It’s the perfect wine to enhance salty foods like prosciutto, and it works equally well with seafood, or pork with spicy chutney glaze. Approximate retail: $16
I started enjoying this wine last year when it landed on the Wine Spectator 2009 “Wines of the Year” list. Since then, it has become one of my favorite Italian blends. This Super-Tuscan is a blend of Sangiovese, Merlot and Cabernet. “Tre” is a great everyday sipping wine, with flavors of ripe crushed raspberries, ripe cherries and hints of coffee flavor. It’s full-bodied and has a nice smooth finish. I love this wine with anything Italian, especially pasta with meat sauce, chicken cacciatore or simply my favorite Italian food—pizza!! Approximate retail: $20
What first attracts you to this fun, mouth-full-of-ripeness red wine, is the label. It illustrates two friendly, but gigantic circus elephants, which are in juxtaposition to the name of the wine! This jammy little number is a blend of Petit Syrah (a dark, inky-colored red) with Petit Verdot (a pretty, aromatic grape, typically used as a blending grape in Bordeaux). The wine creates a berry explosion in your mouth. It’s loaded with decadent inviting flavors of ripe blackberries and chocolate. Petite Petit is the perfect wine for sipping by the fire, or with a hearty bowl of chili or pulled pork. Yum! Hey, I even like this wine with Mounds bar, especially, when I can sneak one out of my son’s trick-or-treat sack! Approximate retail: $18
An absolutely terrific value, this awesome blend of Cabernet and Malbec (Argentina’s charmed red) offers a lot of wine for the money! Nicolas Catena, one of Argentina’s preeminent winemakers and the Lafite-Rothschild family, infamously known for making the incredible Bordeaux, Chateau Lafite, collaborate to make this wine. Amancaya is full-bodied, expressing intense dark fruit with some intriguing spice and toast notes from the well- integrated use of oak. The wine is still young and evolving, with some tannic firmness on the finish. Enjoy it now, by decanting it, and you will be greatly rewarded! Amancaya is right at home at an elegant dinner party, or with your middle-of-the-week meal. It’s delicious wine with that special aged porterhouse, grilled Portobello mushrooms or simply slow-cooked, braised short ribs. Approximate retail: $20