Flavorful Wines for the Fall Season

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Savor–the word invokes the feeling of fall. It’s time for rustic dishes that simmer and bubble for hours, melding root-vegetable flavors with spice-driven sauces. The manic pace of the summer–running from the pool to a family picnic–is over, and the insanity of the holidays has not yet begun. This is my favorite time of year. The wines I have chosen for the annual fall wine blog all have a richness of character to them, with layers of complexity that make you want to slow down and enjoy them along with your savory meals.

Lion’s Lair Family Reserve White, South Africa 2011 –

The Dreyer Family blends Chenin Blanc, Grenache Blanc, Roussanne, Verdelho and Clairette Blanche to make this expressive, floral South African take on a white Cotes du Rhone. Orange blossom, grilled peaches and a refreshingly crisp finish make this a terrific aperitif; complement to roasted chicken; or choice for sipping on while sitting on your favorite lawn chair, soaking up some rays and watching the leaves turn colors.

Waugh Cellars Chardonnay Russian River, California 2011 –

Early this year, I was able to sit down with winemaker and owner of Waugh Cellars, Ryan Waugh (pictured above). I had already fallen in love with his Waugh Jr. Red Blend and was anxious to try the others. As Ryan talked, I could tell he had a true passion for wine, describing why each vineyard site was picked and the vinification of each wine. His Chardonnay has a fragrant nose of white flowers, mango and citrus. The texture of this wine is magnificent. Generally using malolactic fermentation, Ryan achieves a velvety mouthfeel by stirring the wine on its lees and then aging it in used oak barrels to let the vineyard-driven freshness of the grape shine through. Citrus and tropical fruit flavors lead to a bright, lasting finish. This is a white wine that would stand up to meat dishes with classic creamy sauces.

Josephine Dubois Pinot Noir Burgundy, France 2010 –

After tasting many fruit-driven California Pinot Noirs, it was refreshing to try this classically Burgundian Pinot Noir.  Brick red in color, with barnyard and red fruit notes on the nose, this Pinot is an amazing value. Light, earthy and elegant, it’s dry with blackberry, red currant and mushroom. Pair this with a leafy green salad, with warm roasted beets and baked brie.

Lodi Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Lodi, California 2010 –

This was a wow! And it’s going to be exclusive to Nino’s until January.  I know I didn’t want to get into the holidays with this blog, but this is the perfect wine to either stuff stockings with or pour for the big Christmas party. With its big, spicy, oaky nose and luscious, cooked berry, baking spice flavors, the Lodi cab will be a sure hit with anyone who says, “I’ll have red.”

 Before the snow falls and holiday parties begin, take some time to sit back and enjoy the fall. Try these unpretentious, flavorful wines, and savor the season.