As the leaves change their color and we enjoy the fruits and vegetables of this year’s harvest, here are some wines to enhance and savor the cuisine for this autumn season. This eclectic array of wines spans from California to South America and beyond to Europe. Through these wines one will visit Brazil, Argentina, France, Portugal, Sonoma and the Sierra Foothills of California.
Like all meals beginning with a sparkling wine is the perfect aperitif. Coté Mas Crémant de Limoux Rosé Brut NV St. Hilaire from Domaine Paul Mas in the Languedoc region of southern France fits the bill. Enticing with its salmon color and Mediterranean influences, this Rosé Brut is a blend of Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc and Pinot Noir that exudes the flavors of raspberry, stone fruit and almond.
Here are two white wines that are ideal for a first course or a poultry dish. The first is a Rhone blend called Turbine White from Anaba Wines in Sonoma Valley. The 2013 vintage is a delightful blend of Rousanne, Grenache Blanc, Picpoul Blanc and Marsanne. On the palate it is quite apparent that Rousanne is the primary grape associated with this wine. With aromas of citrus and lemon one finds a wine with viscosity and flavors of stone fruit, citrus, almond and hints of spice. What is unique about this winery is anabatic winds that drift upslope from Pacific Ocean and swerve through the vineyards enhancing the ultimate quality of the grapes. The winery is named after these winds. Anaba Wines was the first winery in Northern California to install a wind turbine to utilize power from these anabatic winds. As a sustainable winery in Carneros, this turbine generates the power that runs Anaba’s tasting room, wine storage and office facilities as well as the irrigation for the vineyards.
The Gary Farrell 2013 Russian River Selection Chardonnay reflects a more complex wine with nice acidity, minerality and viscosity. Aromas are those of lemon and other citrus along with wet stone. On the palate there are flavors of pear with spices of nutmeg and pepper.
Moving to the reds we start with the 2012 Chacewater Syrah from the Sierra Foothills. Chacewater is a family run winery that has vineyards in both Lake County and the Sierra Foothills. The name Chacewater pays homage to owner Paul Manuel’s family heritage that goes back to Cornwall, England and a small village called Chacewater. The wine exudes dark cherry flavors with hints of pepper, stewed fruit and raisins. It is a full-bodied wine that that is a good representation of this varietal and where the grapes come from.
From Mendoza, Argentina we have Bodega Septima with a 2014 Malbec. With its thick texture the wine displays dark fruit especially plum, leather, mocha. It is a smoky young wine from the Luján de Cuyo region. The winery name, Septima means seven and is derived from the fact that this is the seventh winery owned by Codorniu-Raventós Family, one of the oldest winemaking families in Spain.
By far one of the favorites of this group of wines is the Vista da Régua 2009 Vinhas Velhas Red. The family owned winery in the Douro Valley of Portugal goes back 450 years but this is their first wine to be distributed in the United States. The name Vinhas Velhas, which means old vines is apropos since the vineyard the grapes for this wine come from vineyards that are over 80 years old. This wine is a blend of eight different grapes including Tinta Amarela, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Barroca, Touriga Franca, Tinta Carvalha and Sousão. It is a full-bodied complex wine that is smooth, velvety and balanced. The dominant flavors are raisins and currants. It is an excellent example of the quality of wine created in the Douro Valley.
Established in 1910, when seven brothers united together to form this Brazilian winery. Vinicola Salton is one of the oldest wineries in Brazil and is still family. Three wines worth mentioning are the Salton 2009 Talento, a blend of primarily Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Tannat. This is a more austere earthy very dry red wine that displays dark fruit, tobacco, leather and mocha. The Salton 20012 Intenso Cabernet France aromas are those of Mocha and leather. Again a dry wine but more light to medium bodied compared to many Cabernet Francs. The flavors are those of sour cherry, blueberry with some balsamic, herbal and mineral qualities. The Salton 2012 Intenso Tannat has a deep purple color, is soft and thick in texture yet evolves into a wine that is rich and velvety. The prominent flavors are currants and raisins.
Any of these wines are befitting to accompany any meal during the harvest season depending what your mood or your palate is inclined to savor.