The best red wines for fall
Living in Minnesota, I have learned to embrace Mother Nature’s seasonal
changes. In fact, it is a necessity of sanity to have something to look forward
to with each of the changes that range from gentle and beautiful to dangerously
harsh. A few trees are beginning to show their color and the temperatures are
dropping just enough to give us a pleasant coolness and relief from the
outgoing summer’s heat. My daydreams of dinner menus switch from grilling on
the deck to roasting luscious meats in the oven. Most importantly, it is time
to switch from the light crisp white wines of summer to fall’s bold, rich,
luxurious big reds.
Each year I am presented with an endless variety of red wines, some of
them new to Minnesota and many from wineries that I have sampled from previous
vintages. Most of them are well made and would be fine to have in our store.
However I am searching for a treasure of a wine that is not just OK, but
AWESOME. One of these reds has to be the perfect partner for my pork roast and
another must stand up to and complement my beef roast.
There are hundreds to choose from and many that are worthy, but these
three wines really stood out from the rest. Now it’s time to grab some root
vegetables, pick up a roast and fire up the oven.
Before Pinot Noir became the hottest must-have grape varietal,
California Merlot reigned supreme on the popularity list. At the time,
California Merlots were juicy and rich; high quality was easy to find at every
price level. Merlots are still very plentiful; however, finding a worthy
treasure has become extremely rare. The Textbook Merlot is a medium-priced wine
made with grapes from the exclusive Rutherford district of Napa Valley. It
reminds me of the luxurious and extremely expensive Merlot of my past and is
one of my favorite wines in our store. This is what California Merlot is all
Reserve Cafayate Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Argentina’s wine industry continues to develop – and the wines they are
producing just keep getting better and better. In the northern part of the
country, far from the crowded mega wine production area of Mendoza, is the
region of Salta. This high-altitude hidden gem has multiple soil types that are
perfect for producing grapes with extreme flavors. Jon Malinski, a local
Minnesota native, has partnered with Valeria Antolin and Alejandro Nesman, two
of the best winemakers in Argentina, to create Piattelli’s wines. This Cabernet
Sauvignon from the Cafayate Valley is my favorite of their achievements yet.
Argentina’s obsession with beef makes it no surprise that this is the perfect
match for my beef roast.
If you want to discover how great red wines can be, seek out wines made
with the Grenache grape. France, Spain, Australia and California all embrace
this fantastic varietal. Grenache can be a challenge to locate in the wine
store because of its multiple different spellings, depending on the country where
it is produced. The wide spectrum of flavors the winemaker can achieve with
Grenache ranges from rich and jammy to world-class elegance that is meant to be
aged in collectors’ cellars for decades. Grenache has an affinity for roasted
or grilled meats. It matches well with the pork shoulders and caramelized
vegetables that will warm my kitchen and family’s bellies throughout the fall
and winter. Le Paradou comes from the Rhone Valley in France and is an affordable
red that over delivers on what Grenache can bring to the table.
Look for these wines at our Wines
& Spirits locations. Selections may vary by store, so call ahead to see
if we have the wine you’re looking for!