Stories to fuel your mind

Wines to Chase the Chill Away

Share the story

Story by Daenna Van Mulligen

We wear fall like a cozy wool sweater. Our socializing moves indoors nearer the fireplace, our food gets heartier and subsequently the wine we drink is richer, warmer and celebratory. The sunny summer days are but a vague memory, the barbeque has been packed away and the patio umbrella folded up to return another day. This is the time of year to drink wine made for dinner parties, snuggling on the sofa and holiday celebrations.

Sponsored Ads

Here are a few Wine Diva suggestions…

From our own beautiful, bountiful backyard, the Gray Monk “Odyssey” Pinot Gris, Okanagan Valley ($21.99) is lush and rich, the colour of golden autumn leaves. With aromas of tropical fruit, smoke, minerals and grapefruit, it slides luxuriously across your palate with ripe peach and fresh clean citrus on the finish. This wine is confident enough for a lunch of a chicken salad sandwich and cream of mushroom soup and refreshing enough for a light crab cake appetizer.

If you are in the mood for velvet the Perrin & Fils “Les Christins” Vacqueyras, Rhone, France ($25.99) will not disappoint. A blend of Grenache and Syrah, its sweet red cherry and black plum aromas are tossed with dried fruit and dark earth. It caresses the palate like a warm thought hinting at spiced tobacco, cocoa and cedar box, lingering until you take the next sip. This wine is fabulous with strong hard cheeses like Mimollette or aged Gouda but would be lovely with rich French-style rabbit or chicken casseroles.

Holiday dinners can make wine decisions deceivingly difficult-sweet potato, tart cranberry, the earthy herbs and spices in stuffing. And don’t forget the turkey! My choice this fall and winter would be the Pfaffenheim ‘Steinert’ Grand Cru Gewürztraminer, Alsace, France ($32), a voluptuous, aromatic Gewürztraminer with pretty aromas of rose oil, orange blossoms, figs and nuts drizzled with honey. A cocktail of sweet spices, mandarin orange and mango flavours with a lush, oily texture and long, clean finish that will enhance all the flavours in your holiday trimmings. Don’t forget that Gewürztraminer is a classic pairing with boldly spiced, sweet and sour or curried dishes!

Looking for something bigger and redder, a wine with oomph to have with steak or your famous weekend chili? Look no further than the Katnook “Founder’s Block” Cabernet Shiraz, Coonawarra, Australia ($19.99) an opaque, masculine wine brimming with dried fruit, coffee, blackberry, earth, eucalyptus and liberally spiced with pepper. Ripe berry fruit explodes in your mouth with plums, cassis, sweet vanilla and licorice spices. Gripping tannins taper to a long smooth finish.

Sponsored Ads

People often ask me about giving a gift of wine. My response varies depending on the season, but for fall and winter even the wine savviest collector will be impressed with a bottle of Bolla Amarone della Valpolicella Classico DOC, Veneto, Italy ($47.99). History and romance abound with this wine. Since the times of the Roman Empire it has been made from grapes left to air-dry on straw mats. This intensifies the flavours and results in a depth and character not found in classic winemaking. The Bolla is a sexy beast oozing dried fruit and nut aromas, red cherry, tobacco and leather with dark flowers. It’s silky and spicy and abundant on the tongue with a long, hot finish. I seriously recommend you decant it at least an hour prior to drinking!

Port is one of those rare fortified wines that can also be a wonderful gift. Nothing warms you up in the cooler months or finishes a meal like a glass of port. The Ferreira Late Bottled Vintage Porto, Portugal ($16.49) is sweetly dense and chewy, almost fruitcake-like. It clings to the glass and coats the tongue. Aromas of dried cherries, hints of cocoa, leather and cedar-box abound. Sweet, earthy and rich on the palate, it warms your mouth before sliding down your throat and warming your tummy. I love port with extra-aged crumbly cheeses or potent Stilton served with a side of figs and pear slices.

Champagne should not be relegated to the Special Occasion box. I believe a special occasion can be made with the hiss and pop of a champagne cork, especially the Louis Roederer Brut Premier ($61.95). Pour it into a flute; watch the light reflect off of its liquid gold-ness and see how the bubbles dance merrily up the glass. Here is your special occasion! Crisp and clean with mouth-watering apple, creamy lemon and white flowers with underlying tones of toasted brioche. Elegant! Champagne may be the perfect drink. It’s an aperitif, an appetizer, dinner and desert wine all in one. Fish, shellfish and salads, white meat, spiced dishes, vegetarian dishes, nutty dark chocolates and pralines or a cheese plate; it really is the Wine Diva’s choice for every occasion!

Related Articles