Fallen leaves crunch underfoot while crisp fall air brings in chill and a whiff of wood smoke. Fall has arrived to eastern Canada. The harvest season is upon us.
It’s time to put away refreshing rosés, crisp unoaked whites and light reds we enjoyed all summer long. Instead, bring in complex, robust and hearty, savory flavours of fall.
As we start to cocoon, our cooking style changes to stewing, baking, roasting, and soup-making, while ripe & earthy seasonal vegetables and fruits take over our kitchen counters.
We turn to warming soups, comforting stews and roasts. Our choice for wine-pairing follows the lead as we look for fuller-bodied, richer whites and robust reds to accompany our fall feasts.
Comforting stews and roasts are my favourite dishes as soon as it gets cold outside. Beef Bourguignon, a classic of French cuisine today, started as a humble peasant dish and over centuries become an essential part of French haute cuisine.
It contains well-marbled, bite-size pieces of beef, slowly braised in red wine with addition of garlic, pearl onions, bacon, mushrooms and bouquet garni.
The final result is the most tender, melt-in-your-mouth beef, a real treat for wine lovers. Not only you get to enjoy it with a glass of earthy red Burgundy once ready, but you also get the benefit of stewing aromas coming from the kitchen as you add it to the recipe close to the end of cooking. Pure bliss …
Considering the dish originates in Burgundy, the eastern part of France, it makes perfect sense to pair it with the local Pinot Noir.
Other great choices would be Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and New World Pinot Noirs, as they are all rich and robust enough to carry the weight of the dish. Here are a few great pairing choices for Beef Bourguignon:
Louis Latour Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2012, Burgundy, France
Perfect example of a classic red burgundy at a reasonable price point. Bursting with aromas and flavours of ripe red berries, blackcurrants and blueberries with a whiff of coffee. Elegant and complex with soft, velvety tannins, closes in a lingering, earthy-toned finish. A given as a pairing with crispy duck confit or slowly stewing beef stew accompanied by garlic mushed potatoes. Voilà! BC: 3566921002976, $ 27.99
Diabolica Red 2012, Okanagan Valley, BC
The grapes for this delicious red blend come from the desert vineyards around Oliver and Osoyoos in British Columbia’s most southern region. This is a big and bold red blend of Merlot, Petit Verdot and Shiraz with the small amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. It is bursting with juicy ripe black cherries and plums with a touch of smoke and spice, followed by a long, smooth finish. Fantastic with olive and lemon tapenade, grilled steak and earthy Beef Bourguignon. LCBO: 373001, $ 15.95
Excelsior Cabernet Sauvignon 2011, South Africa
The De Wet family has been producing quality wine at Excelsior Estate, in South Africa’s Robertson Valley for over 150 years. Cabernet Sauvignon is their most planted variety, with vines varying in age from 5 – 20 years, producing this opulent, full bodied red. It’s big and bold, with tons of dark fruit and plenty of weight. Abundant aromas and flavours of black plums, blackcurrants and dark ripe cherries and a whiff of chocolate. Superfine & silky tannins followed by a lingering, smoky finish. Fantastic with hearty stews and mature cheeses. BC:852848000007, $ 13.99
Calvet Reserve Merlot-Cabernet 2011, Bordeaux, France
Well structured, rich and elegant, this Medoc beauty delivers an intense bouquet of raspberries, black cherries and cassis with a touch of cinnamon and clove. Fresh and vibrant palate with fine, silky tannins, followed by a long, tobacco and cedar-toned finish. Best served at 16-18 C, it makes a great partner for comforting stews, game and flavorful cheeses. If able to decant and wait for a few hours, you are in for a treat as this opulent red develops its wonderful aromas even further. BC: 3159560510300, $ 15.99
Mirassou Pinot Noir 2012, Central Coast, California
Mirassou family has a six generation long tradition of wine making in the sun-drenched hills of Monterey and Sonoma Counties in California’s Central Coast. Their Pinot Noir is fruit forward, medium bodied with the abundance of ripe cherries and strawberries, hints of vanilla and a touch of toast. Enjoy with hearty fall and winter stews. LCBO: 185249, $ 12.95
Drawn to food from a very young age, Tania passed her weekends at the countryside house helping with the grape picking in her family’s Croatian vineyards, and then “assisting” grandpa with the winemaking. As an adult, she lived abroad in London, England, Milan and Venice, Italy, and explored the food and wine cultures while traveling throughout Europe.
While living in Toronto, Tania completed studies with the International Sommelier Guild (ISG). She continued her wine education with the prestigious, internationally-recognized Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET), based in London, England. In 2007, she achieved the WSET Level 3, Advanced Certificate in Wine and Spirits.
In 2013, Tania was awarded with a Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) designation by The Society of Wine Educators, based in Washington, DC. She is currently studying for the organization’s Certified Wine Educator designation.
Tania also offers sommelier services and tutored wine tastings, consulting and wine tastings via RunawayGrape.com and is a regular columnist with NatalieMacLean.com.