Gervasi's Winemaker, Andrew Codispoti, put together information and suggestions on wines perfect for the fall weather that will soon be upon us. Enjoy!
Summer has yielded to autumn. Seasonal color emerges on vineyard canopies and earth tones dot the landscape. Evenings are cool and mornings are brisk but the sun’s radiance warms during the day. Autumn’s colorful display is nature’s grand finale to summer as we lament summer’s passing while snuggling into a more soulful mood.
While our favorite wines can be enjoyed year round, certain wines do find special seasonal favor as they uniquely lend themselves to activities and foods associated with calendar events and celebrations.
In both France and Italy, a special style of wine is produced for consumption only weeks after harvest. In France these are called “nouveau” and in Italy “novello”. Our impatience with the normal timeline of wine development and the delayed enjoyment and cash flow have resulted in this style of wine, mostly red, that is fruity, soft and aromatic.
But on a grander scale, autumn brings climatic shifts and cultural activities that beckon for correlated styles of wine. Scouting truffles in Italy, wild game hunting, apple and chestnut harvests, and of course our Thanksgiving are some of the events that reach out for companion wines.
Playing on this seasonal stage, we can identify wines appropriate for autumn as those that offer characteristics of increased body, greater texture, earthiness, soulfulness, and in some cases higher acidity; wines that complement the foods and occasions of the season. Late harvest wines also have role this time of year.
Among the red wines that are predisposed toward autumn’s bounty are Pinot Noir, Brunello Sangiovese, Barbera, Barolo, Rhone wines and aged Bordeaux’s. On the Blanc side of the wine cellar, some examples that I like for autumn are barrel fermented Chardonnay, Viogner, Pinot Gris/Grigio and late harvest Riesling. At this time of year, serving temperatures can be slightly elevated to allow greater expression of aromas and impact on the pallet.
Gervasi Vineyard offers a complement of red and white wines to allow guests to enjoy their favorite wines with their favorite foods year round. In considering specific wines inclined toward autumn, I suggest the following.
Red Wines; Barolo, Barbera, Truscano Sangiovese, Velluto Pinot Noir
White Wines; Bellina Chardonnay, Dolce Sera, Ciao Bella Chardonnay, Lucello Pinot Grigio for the lighter side of the fall menu.
In all of the pairing suggestions below, attention must be given to seasonings, spices and sauces which can steer a wine pairing in surprising directions. Be adventurous in your pairing. You may be surprised with the great results. Just don’t experiment on the boss.
Nouveau Wines: Because these are light and fruity, they will pair well with a variety of chicken dishes, roasted or grilled with autumn harvested vegetables.
Pinot Noir. Pair game birds such as quail, pheasant and duck which have a finer flesh and lighter flavors. Pinot Noir with its fruit flavor, lighter tannins and earthiness make an outstanding marriage with these game proteins. Consider adding mushrooms, another great partner for Pinot Noir.
Barolos, Brunello, aged Bordeaux, Truscano Sangiovese. Pair stronger flavored game such as venison, rabbit and boar. These wines are woodsier and have higher acid to counter the more sinuous and muscled proteins of these dishes.
Barolo and truffles or truffle sauces on strong proteins are an exceptional pairing that enjoins their earthiness and soulful richness.
A Late Harvest Riesling such as Dolce Sera has the weight and sweetness to complement apple deserts and confections with dried nuts and fruits.
A barrel fermented Chardonnay such as Gervasi’s Bellina will complement the butter basted and roasted flavors of turkey and bridge the array of harvest flavors at the Thanksgiving banquet.