APWASI Blog

A Wine for Every Season – The Ultimate Pairing Guide

Just like the weather changes, some choose to drink wines based on the season. Maybe it is because of the different foods you eat; pairing it with the right wines go a long way. We explore the top wines and food pairings for every season. (Excerpts from Dr. Clinton Lee’s writings)

FALL

Fall is the time when harvest is completed, when the bountiful grapes bursting with flavor have been picked, destemmed, racked, filtered and lie as wine in wait for next year.

We celebrate this annual event as “Thanksgiving” and every respectable table should have a Pinot Noir, delicate with red fruit flavour of cherry and berries and possessing a high acidity level is perfect for the traditional turkey dinner

Why? The acidity of the wine pierces through the fattiness of the turkey and the flavours of the wine perform the most exquisite dance of the palate with red fruits and turkey meat

Selecting an Oregon, New Zealand or French Burgundy Pinot Noir would leave any unkind critic of this suggested combination, speechless.

The lighter bodied red wines of the Merlot grape are the perfect travelling companion of Pinot Noir in this season. Medium bodied in structure it matches the roast pork that is delicately flavored with herbs to bring out an unparalleled culinary explosion of pure bliss.

Personally, a Merlot from the Right bank in Bordeaux would be an incomparable pairing.

WINTER

Father Winter demands a red wine possessing a bold, robust and infallible body structure to match the competitors of whisky and cognac in this season.

We bring forth our undefeated grape varieties of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. These two varieties are matchless in their class.

Cabernet Sauvignons from blistering hot weathered Napa Valley, produce powerful dark cherry, blackcurrant and berries that are seamlessly blended in American oak barrels offering a seductive vanilla and coconut aromatic overtones.

Another priceless choice would be a display of French elegance and punch by choosing a wine from the Left bank of Bordeaux, Pauillac to be more precise in the South East of France. This wine’s pedigree is unsurpassed and the tannins offer a smooth silky touch on the tongue and then the slow and dissipating flavours that generously sizzle and tantalize the imagination are long, very long indeed.

FOOD PAIRING: Beef and lamb await their turn patiently to match these wines in a superb pairing that only the true believers of “exceptional quality” know will not disappoint.

Syrah from the Southern Rhone exemplified by Châteauneuf-du-Pape will not disenchant but exalt even the most demanding of purists. This wine is steeped in concentrated dark fruits and possesses a balanced black pepper finish.

FOOD PAIRING: Pair this wine with a blue cheese on top of a filet mignon, and a gratifying experience is heaven brought to earth. It would be mystifying and impossible not to be very impressed with this most regal of wines.

In Australia, the Syrah grape is called Shiraz. Barossa Valley Shiraz produces a strong, masculine styled red Shiraz wine that packs a heavy fruity punch like a Mike Tyson uppercut to the body. Its power is immense, its vibrating length matchless and it’s a wine if you imbibe a glass too many, you might not beat the ten count.

FOOD PAIRING: A Shiraz wine and a lovely Argentinian piece of Asado BBQ meat or a New Zealand rack of lamb, both with a touch of black pepper reveals a touch of true infallible culinary artistry.

SPRING

Vivaldi’s Spring section from his famed “Four Seasons” masterpiece mandates freshness, vitality something entirely new, not just a new beginning, but a spectacularly new beginning.

This is the time to herald in Nerello Mascalese from the slopes of Mount Etna in Sicily. Many have not heard of this grape that is similar to a Pinot Noir. It’s the uniqueness that coerces you to taste this wine, at least once.

FOOD PAIRING: Wild strawberry, cinnamon, volcanic rock and velvety tannins ensnare your palette and paired with fish fresh from the sea is like a harmonious symphony playing out.

Another choice would be the effervescent character of a youthful, overflowing and joyful Prosecco. Made from the grape Glera in the region of Conegliano e Valdobbiadene in North east Italy, this sparkling wine is the quintessential wine for the vivaciousness of Spring.

FOOD PAIRING: Versatile with cured meats and Asian cuisine Prosecco brings together East and West brimming with tropical fruits, hazelnut and citric aromas.

SUMMER

As Walt Whitman said about Summer, “You are so much sunshine in every square inch.” is an undeniable proclamation that for nine months we shall sacrifice our Summer styled wines no longer.

While we paying homage to the traditional grapes of Chardonnay from famed Chablis in France to California, USA and Sauvignon Blanc from Oyster Bay in New Zealand let us reveal something different and announce Lambrusco di Sorbara.  This divinely delicious red sparkling wine comes from a village called Sorbara located north of Modena, Italy.

FOOD PAIRING: Possessing lightness like a ballet dancer and aromas similar to holding a bouquet of violets and a definitively expressive acidity, Lambrusco is perfect for an assortment of meats, lasagna, grilled meats and cheese.

A far too frequently left behind wine that is ideal for Summer is Vinho Verde from Portugal, more specifically the Northern part of Portugal. Brimming with white melon, lime, citric and grapefruit this styled wine is predominantly white and made from six major grapes varieties. The prestigious sextet of grapes is comprised of the Trajadura, Loureiro, Azal, Alvarinho, Avesso, and Arinto grape variety.

FOOD PAIRINGS: The delights of the sea composed of shrimp, crab, lobster and fish with Vinho Verde is a perfect pairing as old as the Himalayan mountains themselves.

SUMMARY

SEASONS WINES AND FOOD PAIRINGS
FALL Pinot Noir: Choose from Oregon, New Zealand, or French Burgundy
FOOD PAIRINGS: Turkey Dinner

Merlot: Choose Right bank in Bordeaux
WINTER Cabernet Sauvignon: Choose from Left bank of Bordeaux, Pauillac
FOOD PAIRINGS: Beef and lamb

Syrah: Choose from Southern Rhone
FOOD PAIRINGS: Blue cheese on top of a filet mignon
Shiraz: Choose from Barossa Valley
FOOD PAIRINGS: Argentinian piece of Asado BBQ meat or a New Zealand rack of lamb, both with a touch of black pepper
SPRING Nerello Mascalese
FOOD PAIRINGS: Fresh fish

Prosecco
FOOD PAIRINGS: Cured meats and Asian cuisine
SUMMER Chardonnay
FOOD PAIRINGS: Assortment of meats, lasagna, grilled meats and cheese

Vinho Verde
FOOD PAIRINGS: shrimp, crab, lobster and fish

Life without change is as meaningless as wine without change is seasonless and meaningless. Like the Wine Gods have challenged us, we must challenge the wines of the seasons, discover new adventures, explore new horizons in our lives and our wine selection is one way of expressing that.

The seasons of our life demand it.