Fall Food and Wine Pairings

Fall Food and Wine Pairings

By Les Kincaid

There’s a chill in the air. Lighter, brighter foods of summer are giving way to heavier and more intense foods of fall (earthy vegetables, soups and stews, roasts and braises). You might even be craving Thanksgiving dinner.

Wines that go best with fall foods should be heavier and more intense. Lighter whites step aside for Chardonnay and reds. Here are some of my favorite fall foods and their wine accompaniment.

Chardonnay and Pinot Noir have enough complexity to pair with the meatiness of mushrooms, like a wild mushroom risotto. If your dish has meat- like beef stroganoff- go for something heavier, like Merlot.

Game-Day Chili
A fruity red, like Zinfandel or Syrah, works with chili’s intensity. Add a splash to your chili to seal the deal. Beware of too much alcohol- if your chili is spicy, a high alcohol wine exacerbates the burn.

Thanksgiving Dinner
The flavors are all over the map- turkey is savory, cranberry sauce is sweet, stuffing is earthy, green beans are vernal. Relatively middle-of-the-road Pinot Noir is big enough to handle the gamut, but light enough to work with poultry. Try Gewürztraminer if there are sweeter dishes in the meal.

Old-Fashioned Pot Roast
With big, beefy food, you need similarly big, beefy wine- like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot or Syrah. Make the combination sing by adding a little soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, or Dijon mustard to the braising liquid.