As the temperature dropped this week, I began to think about the different types of wines to drink with the chillier fall weather. I don’t adhere to the idea that whites should be reserved for warmer weather and reds for the colder seasons, but there’s something comforting in pouring a fat glass of a full-bodied red wine and burrito-ing yourself in a blanket when its blustery and cold outside. The following is my attempt to provide a variety of options for early-fall wine drinking,whether you’re only into reds or never deviate from the lighter wines.
- Bogle Vineyards “Old Vine Zinfandel”
What’s in it: Zinfandel
Why I picked it: This was my attempt at getting a big red I didn’t know too much about. I expected it to be full-bodied and spicy, with more earthiness than fruitiness, but that’s because I didn’t research zinfandels well enough before I hit the wine aisle. Also, the 14.5% ABV, which is pretty middle of the road for zinfandel, was the highest percentage of alcohol in a zinfandel under the ten dollar mark. The higher the ABV in this wine, the bigger the flavor, apparently.
My notes: Instead of the complex spice and earthiness I was hoping for, this red wine delivered a medium to full bodied fruit punch in the mouth. Rather than being bright and tart like in a pinot or gamay, the fruit notes were jammy and somewhat sweet. I really enjoyed the first few sips, but soon grew tired of the rich plum and black cherry flavor.
Basically: If you like merlot and other jammy red wines, this zinfandel is not much of a deviation, but still offers something a little different. It’s also probably better with food than on its own.
What to drink it with: Meat, meat and more meat. Either poultry with a rich, creamy sauce or a beef or lamb dish.
- Albero Spanish Rosé Wine
What’s in it: Bobal, which I’ve never heard of before, but is apparently the third most planted grape in Spain.
Why I picked it: I wanted a rosé, but didn’t want to go right to France again in the spirit of geographic diversity. Rather than the light bodied, floral roses much of France produces, I was looking for a richer, darker rosé. The Spanish section had two. Hopefully the other has more going on than the Albero.
My notes: Like biting into a green strawberry, this wine is all underripe red fruit and tart cherry.
Basically: It almost tastes like a water-heavy red Kool-aid mixture. I’d pass and give the other dark Spanish rose a try or stick to something French.
What to drink it with: I would choose to not drink it at all, personally.
- Chateu de Seguin Sauvignon de Seguin
What’s in it: Sauvignon Blanc
Why I picked it: Initially I grabbed a California Sauvignon Blanc but put it back because I already had the California zinfandel in my cart and wanted more geographic diversity. So I went across the aisle to France. I picked the Chateau de Seguin because I thought the bottle was prettier than the other White Bordeaux of the same price. Sometimes picking a wine is nothing more than aesthetics.
My notes: While a little tart and citrusy with notes of lemon and lime, this wine is light bodied, dry and bright. As typical of old world wines from France, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Germany (the countries where wine making originated), it was better paired with food than drunk on its own, but that didn’t stop me from finishing the bottle after I finished my meal.
Basically: If you love New Zealand sauvignon blancs, give a White Bordeaux a go. You’ll miss a lot of the grassiness, but the tart, citrus notes are still present. And don’t mind the smell of cat pee. It’s typical, promise.
What to drink it with: I had it with goat cheese stuffed chicken breasts, which was perfect. Anything goat cheese, really. Or a dozen east coast oysters from Mariano’s during weekday happy hour.