Basics: Pinot Grigio from Friuli, NE Italy
Style: Clean and bright with a touch of texture
Notes: Dry and crisp with floral notes, stone fruit, minerality, and layers of spice
Why this wine matches *you*: I thought we would start your customized wine journey this month with an aperitivo!! Scarpetta’s Pinot Grigio has a lovely brightness and defined fruit notes, but there is also a textural aspect from lees aging (meaning the wine was kept in contact with dead yeast cells as it matured; this leads to added richness, flavors, and aromas) that you will appreciate. Your profile specifically noted enjoying ‘a touch of caramel’ in some Chardonnays, which tells me you have an awareness of the back palate (notes such as caramel are usually barrel indicators, and we feel and taste these most specifically in the back palate) as well as undertones, or less obvious flavors, in wine. Pinot Grigio is often overlooked since it’s so easy to get one that’s bland, so this simple, well-done wine might be the first step toward re-appreciating a written-off grape after seeing what it can do when presented carefully, with light layers and textural elements.
Pairs well with: light, flaky fish, herby lemon chicken, proscuitto, or just drink it on it’s own!
Basics: Chardonnay from Edna Valley, CA
Style: Fresh and smooth, balanced with weight
Why this wine matches *you*: I really wanted to make Meursault recommendation for you this month because of it’s smooth, fine texture and weight. Meursault is the region in Burgundy that lies between Volnay and Puligny-Montrachet. The Chardonnay it produces is known to have lime and hazelnut undertones, butter notes, honey, and French-oak spice. It is wine that is always beautifully balanced and will truly make you pledge allegiance to France (at least that’s what I do!) However, Meursault is expensive, so I brought it down a few notches and found this cool-climate California beauty that exhibits the fresh stone fruit notes you expect in Chardonnay, along with a touch of vanilla cream to border on caramel. It spent time in neutral for texture and new French oak for spice, so expect to find subtle brown sugar and cinnamon to complete the experience.
Pairs well with: ricotta ravioli, chicken pot pie, and Thanksgiving dinner!
$23.99 on sale from $28 from wine.com or winelala can order it for you!
Basics: GSM (Grenache/Syrah/Mourvedre) blend from the Rhone Valley
Style: Velvety texture complimented by smooth, silky tannins
Notes: Ripe red fruit with licorice, herbs, and spices
Why this wine matches *you*: This wine embodies the Old World, European style through and through; a style with which I know you personally connect. These classic leanings come through in the answers on your profile: a preference for classic rock (music that has stood the test of time and which remains a standard in its industry), impressionist art (gives an overall effect rather than an image that is static or exact — notice the label, by the way!!), and a flexibility and openness to all food. I chose this wine for you because I thought it represented an intersection of these philosophies. It is classic, it is has notes that could translate into more than just this style, but it’s undeniably Rhone, and it goes splendidly with food given its berry nice that gently lead into spice (particularly coriander and bay leaf!) that are underwritten by textural components that keep this wine elegant and long. Blend: 60% Grenache / 30% Syrah / 10% Mourvedre.
Pairs well with: stews and casseroles appropriate for the fall!
Basics: Syrah-based Rhone Valley blend
Style: Fresh, dark, and complex with herbal undertones
Notes: Dark berry fruit with an interesting blood orange note sits on top of garrigue and cocoa
Why this wine matches you: While we are still in the Rhone Valley in France with this wine from Costieres de Nimes, we have changed from Northern to Southern Rhone (in relation to the Jean-Luc Colombo’s wine, above) and indeed to Southern France outside Provence. The blend is now Syrah heavy, at 91%, meaning that the Grenache and Mourvedre just serve as enhancers. It is the history that made me think this would be a cool region for you to explore. Costieres de Nimes used to be part of Languedoc rather than Rhone Valley, but the border was administratively reclassified in 2004 on account of producers’ lobbying French regulating bodies to acknowledge that Costiere de Nimes wines had more in common with Rhone than with Languedoc. This wine is a step up from the last in terms of complexity and intensity with black fruits, minerals, garrigue (general herbal aromas) and toast notes.
Pairs well with: Eggplants, truffles, heavier fish dishes, charred meat (and I know I know you personally, but I think this would go well with your brisket!!)
$20.99 at wine.com or Winelala can order it for you!
Basics: Mencia (red wine) from Spain
Style: Elegant and concentrated with a wide range of flavor
Notes: Red fruits, wildflowers, spice and interesting minerality
Why this wine matches you: I’m super excited for you to try this really interesting, underrated grape from Bierzo, Spain. Mencia is starting to become noticed in restaurants (at least anecdotally) since it’s so easy to pair, given its concentrated fruit notes that range into darker, nonorganic descriptors. For example, while we find dark berries and plums up front in this wine, we’ll notice the finish veers more toward cola, chocolate, and smoke. I selected this for you since the style is similar to Burgundy, Rhone, and Northern Italy, but it's distinctive enough to remind us that nope, we’re in Spain. I like to recommend this grape as an alternative to Pinot Noir and Syrah since it is actually so similar, but it’s offbeat enough to make you appreciate it, and the former grapes, even more.
Pairs well with: tapas!! I had a fantastic experience with this style wine and Iberico pork, duck with black cherries, and paella, to name a few ideas.