As I watched (in horror, might I add) the Green Bay Packers/Seattle Seahawks debacle, I turned my attention to the IMPORTANT things that define fall for me: fire pits, good friends, and great wines. Ironically at that time, my friend and ‘head honcho’ of Preston-Layne, & Partners, Van Potts, wrote a new blog offering some WONDERFUL fall recipes and challenging readers to decide which wine they would pair with those recipes. His offerings included a brined and hickory wood grilled whole chicken, along with a Hubbard squash soup. All ingredients were from local markets (I love supporting local). If you’re interested in the particulars, you can read the blog post here: http://magnumwinesintl.wordpress.com/2012/09/23/a-perfect-fall-nfl-sunday/?year=2012&monthnum=09&day=23&like=1&_wpnonce=8e4650ac90&wpl_rand=bc254075fd
Being up for a good challenge, I tried to decide which wines from their portfolio I would pair up with the chicken/soup combination…and it was a tough choice, but I think I came up with a few that are sure to become favorites.
On the imported wine side, I went straight to Alsace. Cave de Turckheim puts out some of the most incredible wines I have ever had the privilege of tasting. For this particular meal, I would choose their 2008 Grand Cru Riesling hands down! Crisp acidity, citrus fruits, and a minerality that would cut through the richness of the soup, but make the flavors of the chicken come alive.
Domestically, I would choose the Foris 2010 Pinot Gris, Rogue Valley, with tastes of apples and baking spices that would be AMAZING with the ingredients of the soup.
But why stop with whites? It’s fall for goodness sake- give me a rich beef stew or a hearty chili, or even a good old fashioned pot roast! What to pair with those choices? Well, for a heavy pot roast with all of the fixin’s, domestically I wouldn’t even think twice: Robert Keenan Winery’s 2008 Cabernet Franc, Spring Mountain District. Cab Franc is one of the three main wines of Bordeaux, and usually hangs in the shadow of Cabernet Sauvignon, but this Napa beauty is pure magic! Dark, rich, luscious plum and blackberry, cedar, spice, and dense tannins hold up easily to a roast with potatoes and gravy. For a hearty stew or chili, I’d be reaching for one of my absolute favorite reds: Anderson’s Conn Valley 2009 “Right Bank Red” (sitting in my cellar as I write). Deep, ‘smoky’, amazing flavors of cassis, and ‘woodsy’ notes…bay leaf? Yes. It envelopes you like a favorite sweater on a cool night.
Of course, nothing beats my Spanish darling from winemaker Daniel Ramos. Don Juan del Aguila’s 2011 Gaznata Joven. All I can say is the man is a genius, the area is Garnacha heaven, and this red IS fall. Blackberries, dark cherries, and warm spices such as nutmeg and cinnamon. It is easy, laid-back, and perfect for pairing or just sipping by the fire. I am PARTICULARLY fond of this wine because I was fortunate enough to be present for the final blending. Import Manager Ashley Olbrys allowed me to join her during her trip to Madrid, and, although this wine is definitely her ‘child’, I feel like a proud, weird ‘aunt’. Forget the distant family members…love the wine!
And you WILL love these wines…all incredible values on wines of exceptional quality. Give them a try yourself, and then tell me what YOUR fall pair ups would be.
In the meantime, I need to pour another glass to drown out the memories of poor calls by the football referees.