The U.S. grape harvest and crush season is underway and some of our favorite wines across the country are being, or will soon be, picked and pressed. Festivals across the country will be happening soon, which will make it a good time to taste some new vintages some of our favorite wineries are producing.
The Wine Institute of California states that two-thirds of wine produced in the U.S. comes from California. If you’re familiar with wine country, then you’ll know that Napa Valley and Sonoma County are among the most popular and are known for their reputation for producing some world-class wines. Some of the most popular wines in Sonoma and Napa Valley are Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel and Pinot Noir for reds and Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay for whites.
You can find a good wine to complement numerous autumn dishes and the season change. A good wine to pair with turkey, cranberry sauces, lamb, prime rib, tomato-based pastas and hearty stews is a Red Zinfandel. The Duckhorn Paraduxx 2006 and the Nickel & Nickel Zinfandel Bonfire Vineyard 20 are both great red zinfandels that I recommend.
American Gewürztraminer is a great white wine to pair with foods like pumpkin pies, turkey with gravy, duck, sweet potatoes and caramel apples. It’s a sweet and crisp white wine that is full-bodied and sometimes dry. Try the Navarro Vineyards or the Thomas Fogarty Gewürztraminers.
Sparkling wines and Champagnes are great bubbly beverages to enjoy during the fall season. It pairs well with salmon, fried and spicy foods, white chocolate and creamy pastas. The bubbly isn’t just for toasting anymore! Pop open a bottle of the Domaine Carneros Brut Sparkling Wine or the Bollinger Brut Special Cuvée Champagne.
Sip on a tawny port when diving into some decadent dark chocolates, cheesecakes or pecan pies. This dessert wine has sweet nutty flavors along with a richer and heavier taste than regular red wines. It’s a great way to top of your seasonal meal.
There are numerous fall wine tastings and festivals that are a great way to try some new wines. Here are a few that you may want to check out:
• 25th Annual Barrel Tasting at Autumn Hill Vineyards (Oct. 20-21, 28-29, Standardsville, Va.): Newly fermented 2012 wines, cellar tours and discussions take place during this tasting along with light refreshments.
• Uncorked & Unplugged (Oct. 23, Scottsdale, Ariz.): Some of the best gourmet foods, wines and spirits and live entertainment that will benefit the Valley’s Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale.
• The Big Sur Food & Wine Festival (Nov. 1-4, Big Sur, Calif.): Top wines and culinary talents gather to raise money for health, education and safety for the community. Here you can hike, try new wines and meet some of California’s best wine makers.
• Northwest Food and Wine Festival (Nov. 10, Portland, Ore.): More than 600 wines and 50 restaurants are showcased along with silent auction and live entertainment.
• 9th San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival (Nov. 14-18, San Diego, Calif.): Over 200 wineries, 70 of San Diego’s top restaurants and gourmet food companies and exhibitors gather to raise money to provide scholarships for the American Institute of Wine & Food.