As the weather gets cooler and darkness falls earlier and earlier, our tastes in wine shift, too, from lighter, fruitier whites to fuller-bodied, richer reds.
So we asked Stu Levine, owner of Vino 100 in White Plains and our wine expert-in-residence through Thanksgiving, to choose eight great red wines to enjoy on these chilly nights.
“The wines I chose represent the shifting tastes of autumn,” says Levine. “And the final wine, a Port, works right through winter with its dark, sweet fruits and being fortified with brandy. Port is very warming and welcoming on a cold night!”
Here are his selections. (Click here to read 8 Great Red Wines for Fall on lohud.com).
2010 Loranque Tempranillo ($14). The same grape used in the famous Rioja’s can be had for a bargain from other regions in Spain. A medium-bodied wine with enough flavor to stand up to most foods without being too heavy. Fruity nose with hints of vanilla and oak. Velvety finish. Region: Toledo, Spain. Pair with: Tapas, roasted pork loin.
2009 Haraszthy Family Cellars Solus Sto Zinfandel ($15): True Zinfandel — not that pink sweet stuff — is big, rich, bold and in-your-face delicious. This big wine has chewy plum, berry, leather and black pepper flavors. Region: Amador County, Calif. Pair with: steaks, prime rib or even roasted turkey.
2009 Teorema Garnacha ($12): Grapes are harvested from vines from 40 to 100 years old for a fuller-bodied and more concentrated flavor of sweet black fruits and soft tannins. Region: Calatayud, Spain. Pair with: Roasted meats, cheeses or stews.
2009 Chateau des Mille Anges ($24): This stellar vintage produced many great wines, but a wine of this caliber for this price is outstanding. Oak, dark cherry, cassis, leather and a touch of earthiness make this a classic-style Bordeaux. Region: St. Germain De Graves, Bordeaux, France. Pair with: Rack of lamb, filet mignon or a nice Camembert cheese.
2011 Michel Torino Don David Tannat Reserve ($18): What a wine! An underappreciated grape varietal slowly becoming more well known. A great Cabernet Sauvignon substitute. Big dark fruits, chewy tannins and a lingering finish that makes this wine seem like something twice the price. Region: Calchaqui Valley, Chile. Pair with: Beef kebabs, strong cheeses.
2010 Collemattoni Rosso di Montalcino ($21): Many think the famous Brunellos from Italy are out of reach for everyday drinking. But for a fraction of the price you can enjoy its baby brother … Rosso di Montalcino. Basically the same wine, but aged for less time and under less-strict guidelines. The result is you get to enjoy this wine’s red fruits, bright acidity and elegant style for a pizza- night price. Region: Tuscany, Italy. Pair with: Grandma’s famous Lasagna, pizza, Italian cheeses.
2010 L’Arneseque ‘Cuvée Capelane’ Chateauneuf Du Pape ($44): This famous region is where the French popes vacationed. Today it is known for its fantastic wines based on the Grenache grape. Often blended with Syrah and Mouvedre, as in this case, the resulting wine is big, powerful and opulent with dark fruit, spice and noticeable tannins. This wine is also organically produced. Region: Rhone Valley, France. Pair with: Hearty stews or roasted game.
2008 Dow’s Late Bottle Vintage Port ($22): The ultimate fireplace wine. LBV Ports are aged in barrels for a number of years, then bottled to create the drinking experience of an aged vintage Port but without waiting decades. Sweet and opulent, this fortified dessert wine is a treat. Region: Douro Valley, Portugal. Pair with: Stilton cheese, almonds or just on its own, relaxing in a recliner by the fire.
As Thanksgiving and the holidays near, you’re sure to have questions. At noon Nov. 20, we’ll host a wine chat with Stu Levine on Twitter — but you can tweet (or email) questions any time until then. Email food editor Liz Johnson at email@example.com or hashtag #lohudfood.