November has arrived! Here in Houston the weather has been fantastic, with cool mornings and sunny afternoons. This type of weather always gets me into the fall mood with my palate turning towards heavier, richer foods and wine. If you’re feeling the same way, you’re in luck. Today we’re discussing three wines that are perfect to drink now through Thanksgiving.
Riesling is one of those wines that people either love or hate. If you’re one of the haters, I get it. Not everyone is going to enjoy everything. But I do have to ask- have tried all of the sweetness levels Riesling has to offer? If so, keep on scrolling, you’ve done your best and this is just not the wine for you. If not, I would encourage you to seek out some new options and see if you can find on you enjoy.
The cool thing about Riesling is its versatility. It can range anywhere from dry to very sweet, it can age quite well due to its high acidity, its flavors can be light and bright (lime, white flowers) or a little richer (honey, gas), and it is very food friendly.
Riesling is particularly good with are rich with a lot of spice. Since Riesling is a fairly simple wine, your palate won’t be overtaxed with too many flavors. The wine’s high acidity helps enhance flavors, and any residual sugar will soothe any spiciness. It also works well with sweeter vegetables (think fall squashes and roasted vegetables) and with any dessert with apples and cinnamon. It’s really perfect for fall flavors.
When looking for a new Riesling, look for ones from Germany, Alsace, or Austria. Closer to home, check out Rieslings from New York. Winemakers there are making the full range from very dry to super sweet late harvest.
Where are my Pinot fans who want to mix things up a little? Gamay, or Beaujolais as it’s often known, is the wine for you. It’s lighter bodied with similar flavors to Pinot Noir (think raspberry, cherry, violet, and earth) and is typically drunk young, when it’s fresh and fruity.
Like Pinot Noir, Gamay is very food-friendly, pairing well with poultry, fish, and creamy cheeses. It’s light enough that it won’t overpower lighter foods, but has enough depth and acidity to stand up to rich dishes, especially the kind you might be serving for Thanksgiving.
Beaujolais is the most well-known region for Gamay, although it can also be found in other wine regions around the world. Gamay is so important to Beaujolais that there is an annual festival held the 3rd Thursday of November each year to celebrate the release of Beaujolais Nouveau. This wine is made from just-harvested grapes that are fermented for 4-6 days. This wine is intended to be served lightly chilled and consumed within a few months- perfect for an aperitif before Thanksgiving dinner or even with the main meal.
Don’t worry, my full-bodied red drinkers, I didn’t forget about you. Barbera is one of those wines that is an adventure in every glass, with layers to explore. It has high acidity with beautiful red fruit notes followed by chocolate, vanilla, and spice. It’s rich but not overwhelming; a wine that you can drink with your dinner and then curl up with a 2nd glass in front of the fireplace. The wine is a little deceptive, too. Even though the flavors and dark red color of the wine make you think heavy and full-bodied, it’s lighter than it appears but deeply satisfying even when you’re looking for something fuller-bodied.
While Barbera isn’t an overly aggressive wine, it’s definitely not one that you want to pair with white fish or a salad. Red meat works very well with Barbera’s high acidity, and mushrooms or other earthy dishes will draw out some of the wine’s depth.
Piedmont is the place to go if you’re ready to try Barbera, although some wineries in Texas are making great examples. In Italy, Barbera is known as an everyday wine, with Nebbiolo saved for special occasions. This speaks to its versatility and value, and is definitely something to put on your list this fall.
Whether you’re looking for something light and refreshing or rich and satisfying, there is a wine for you this fall. If you try any of these (or already know and love them), drop me a line and tell me what you think!