Fall is my favorite time of year – harvest and crush in wine country, cool sunny days for outdoor activities, foliage for leaf peeping and the World Series, especially when a local team is playing. Growing up in north Jersey during the reign of great Yankee teams (RIP Yogi), I experienced many of their 10 world championships and 15 pennants in an 18 year dynasty from 1947-1964. But the best day in fall is my birthday which coincides with the October birthdays of Yankee greats Whitey Ford and Mickey Mantle (I was an impressionable Yankee fan in my youth).
We recently celebrated with family and friends by serving home-made food accompanied by wonderful wines. In the spirit of supporting our local “Amazins” (GO METS), I submit the “lineup” of wines we served.
“The top of the order has three lean white wines. The lead-off dry Riesling (rees ling) is snappy and zesty, the #2 is zippy Soave (swa vay) with medium body and minerality, and Vermentino in 3-hole is full of flavor and richness. The middle of the order has three red Pinots from California, Oregon and Burgundy with the ability to deliver consistent aroma, flavor and balance. And finally, the lineup includes three powerful reds from California and Tuscany which are full body with depth, balance and a strong finish.”
1. ALSACE WILLM Riesling Kirchberg de Barr 2012
Alsace, France $20
Wine Spectator rating 89 “Svelte and snappy, with a minerally underpinning and subtle notes of fresh-cut apple, melon,…Well-knit and fresh. Drink now through 2019.”
2. PIEROPAN Soave Classico 2014
Veneto, Italy $18
100% Garanega, lively and fresh with apple aromas, very tasty medium-bodied white from northern Italy. Pieropan is one of a few reputable producers from Soave region where many wines are made by bulk producers.
3. POGGIO AL TESORO Solosole 2012
Bolgheri, Italy $15
100% Vermentino. The winery is one of the Allegrini properties, a large Italian wine company from northern Italy. Antonio Galloni 92 rating says “2012 Vermentino is intriguing in the way it balances textural richness and minerality, something I haven’t seen to this degree in the past. Intensely aromatic, the 2012 could use another few months to soften. Lime, crushed rocks, mint and white flowers are layered into the pointed finish…”
I selected a flight of Pinot Noir wines to illustrate the differences between California, Oregon and France Pinots. It was interesting to find the wines consistent with their profiles. The California Pinot was more fruity, deep ruby in color and higher alcohol compared to Burgundy’s lighter color, stronger aromas and lower alcohol. Oregon Pinots are often described as Burgundian because they resemble Burgundy’s color, body and alcohol.
4. DOMAINE BALLORIN Burgundy 2013
Morey-St-Denis, Cotes de Nuit, France $34
With the exception of a few grand cru wines from Chardonnay, world-famous grand crus from Burgundy are produced from Pinot Noir grapes. Burgundy climate with warm sunny days and cool nights is ideal for growing Pinot Noir, one of the most difficult grapes to grow. Domaine Ballorin and many Burgundy producers practice bio-dynamic farming which yields light colored, medium body, well balanced wines with lower alcohol levels (12.5%).
5. SOLENA Pinot Noir 2013
Willamette Valley, Oregon $24
Pinot Noir is the most successful grape grown in Oregon. Oregon’s wine regions such as Willamette Valley have cooling breezes from nearby Pacific Ocean which create a climate similar to Burgundy. Lighter body and lower alcohol (13.5%) are characteristics of Oregon Pinots that are more similar to Burgundy than California.
6. LANDMARK Overlook Pinot Noir 2012
Sonoma, California $24
Grapes sourced from Sonoma, Monterey and San Benito counties. This Pinot is lush with full fruit and higher alcohol (14.5%); probably a result of the warm California climate which increases ripeness and sugar levels in grapes.
7. LA RASINA Brunello di Montalcino 2010
Tuscany, Italy $35
The 2010 vintage for Brunello di Montalcino is being compared to Montalcino’s best years in 2004 and 2006. Many Brunellos are commanding prices over $50 which won’t be in their prime until a few more years of aging. La Rasina is ready to drink with or without further aging though it is best with decanting.
8. LA MASSA Toscana 2012
Tuscany, Italy $24
Super Tuscan blend of Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon from village of Panzano in Tuscany. I featured this wine in my blog Super Tuscan from Chianti.
9. HONIG Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 2012
Rutherford, California $39
Family owned winery in Rutherford where I met Mike Honig while visiting this past spring. Excellent Napa Cab with small amount of Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc and Merlot.
There you have it – a lineup to enjoy while watching World Series. LETS GO METS!
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