Fall is in the air and even in the Sonoran Desert you can see changes occurring, though very subtly. At the vineyard in Southeastern Arizona the change is more evident since harvest has ended and the vines are beginning to change color.
Fall also brings forth different flavors that pair well with bolder wines. Now is the season for full-bodied reds like those that LDV produces. Also, our local farmers are beginning to harvest apples, pears, pumpkins, winter squashes, beans, and eggplants. This fresh bounty bursts with flavors that scream for big seasonings and bold wines. I can’t have apples without cinnamon or butternut squash without big flavorings such as a cherry almond glaze or eggplant baked with oregano, tomato, and cheeses. Try LDV’s four tips when pairing fall flavors with wines.
Balance Flavors – Think about the food’s flavors and balance those with the food you are serving. For example, the robust flavor of a mesquite-grilled New York steak needs to be paired with a wine that will not disappear under the intensity. A full-bodied, red wine like a Syrah or Zinfandel would pair beautifully. Try LDV 2015 Syrah.
Food Texture – The texture and weight of your food might dictate the type of wine you serve. The delicateness of certain dishes should not be overpowered by the wine. The goal is to complement and enhance the flavors. A poached halibut with a rich butter sauce should be paired with a light-bodied white wine such as a Sauvignon Blanc or a wine with strong acidity to cut through the butter sauce. Or try a like red wine such as LDV’s 2015 Sky Island Grenache.
Eat Your Vegetables – Wine is not just for meat lovers. Take into consideration the type of vegetables and how they are cooked when choosing the perfect wine. The most difficult vegetables to pair wine with are artichokes and asparagus because of the interesting flavors. However, mushrooms and roasted potatoes love a full-bodied wine. If there is a cream sauce on the spinach choose a wine that can cut through the sauce. If dinner includes caramelized carrots choose a full-bodied Zinfandel because it will have enough spice to complement the sugar. In any case, experiment and have fun.
Squash Season – This month the internet went wild with people questioning if that canned pumpkin was really squash. Quite frankly who cares. Nothing says fall like the variety of pumpkins and squash at the grocery store. Don’t be afraid of squashes like Kabocha, Butternut, Spaghetti, and Carnival. When pairing wine with the richness of winter squash dishes, ensure that you choose a wine that will complement and not compete. Roasted Butternut Squash Soup is a fall staple so choose a wine where the earthy flavors can sing together and a wine with enough acidity to cut through the cream. Consider a Grenache. Try Roasted Spaghetti Squash tossed with olive oil, salt, and pepper with a crisp, dry Viognier. Stuffed Pumpkin Ravioli with Browned Butter Sage Sauce pairs well with a complex, spicy wine like LDV Winery 2016 R.E.D. (Rhone Red Blend). Use the freshest products when you can and save the canned product when winter squash is not in season.
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