Darren’s Fall Picks
Tornatore Etna Rose (Nerello Mascallese) 2018
Family owned and operated Tornatore began operation as an oil mill and vineyard in 1910, almost 45 years after the Great Grandfather Tornatore had begun farming land around Mt. Etna. Hand Harvested on the decomposed granitic schist soils of the Northern side of Europe’s highest altitude active volcano. Beautiful salmon color rosé. Watermelon and field berries dance between a light salinity. Medium light weight, with soft acid and a pleasing texture keep this rose seamless. Bright red berry flavor on the mid-palate moves into a finish with a touch of florality. Perfect as an aperitif, with charcuterie and cheese or an accompaniment to pork dishes or raw fish.
Taubenschuss Gruner Veltiner Weinviertel DAC Classic
This property has been producing wine since the early 1600’s in a town called Poysdorf in the historic Weinvertel DAC of Austria. Family owned for a number of generations the Taubenschuss brothers are now owners/operators of this historic winery. Employing organic practices for a number of years now, Taubenschuss will be fully certified organic by the 2024 harvest. Fantastic shimmering pale yellow, on first whiff there is gentle citrus and stone fruit character reaching from the glass. With a bit of time in glass the wine develops a lovely touch of white pepper layered over the fruit. On the palate the body is medium, with fantastic acid that lifts the apricot and peach aromas. The finish brings forward the white pepper aromas and mixes with a very subtle vegetal note. Gruner Veltliner is a versatile varietal and this wine is no exception. Pair this with any manner of vegetable based dish such as ratatouille, or try an Asparagus and goat cheese quiche.
Durhberg, Alte Reben DAC, 2020 100% Gruner Veltliner
This winery is located in the picturesque town of Falkenstien. Yellow and shimmering to the rim. Yellow grapefruit, orange blossom and nectarines come to mind on the first few sniffs. There is a faint crushed gravel minerality adding to the intrigue. On the palate this gruner is medium bodied with a lovely floral element mixing with apricot or nectarine. Varietal typicity shows through with a mix of cooked vegetal and peppery spice notes on the lengthy finish. An exciting example of the finesse and versatility of this Austrian variety. The forward acid and peppery vegetal notes will work well with a variety of fish and vegetable dishes. Fish tacos are a must, and if you’re feeling ambitious, grill some asparagus, throw it on a bed of arugula and then cover it all in lemon, olive oil and parmesan cheese… Enjoy!
Louis Bernard Tavel
Produced in one of the only Rosé “only” appellations in France. Located in the Rhone valley Tavel produces rosé wines from a blend of Grenache & Cinsault with some Syrah and Mouvedre. Louis Bernard’s Tavel is a blend of Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault, and Mouvedre. The fantastic color is an indication of the fun intensity in the glass. Red currant aromas mix with citrus, sumac, and dried leaves. Full bodied with medium acidity, a lovely smoothness to the texture of this wine with a red berry and pepper finish. Burger’s, BBQ, or maybe arugula salad with thinly sliced lamb, pomegranate and mint with an herby vinaigrette.
Anciano Old Vines Garnacha
Anciano’s uses vines with a minimum age of 35 years to produce this “old vine” garnacha. Mid-crimson in color, initially aromas of raspberry and kirsch reach out of the glass and mix with a heady cedar spice. The palate has surprising verve with fleshy wild berry fruit, pleasantly developed tannic structure and earthy notes that culminate in a textured spicy finish. Versatility is the name of the game with Garnacha, its generous fruitiness combined with a full body and lighter tannin allow it to go with all manner of foods. Try any manner of heavily charred grilled meat. If you wanted a red with that white meat dish, this is the place for you. Grilled lamb chop with a rustic chimichurri and seasonal veg, or maybe a venison stew, the world is your oyster (but don’t pair THIS with oysters!).
Cave de Ribeauville Gewurztraminer Organic
The Cave de Ribeauville is a cooperative managing over 265 hectares of vineyards that boast many Grand crus and other quality plots. Organically farmed, this gewürztraminer shows classic Alsace style with intense floral, lime and lychee fruit aromas spiced with cardamom, nutmeg and ginger. The palate of this generous wine is spicy exotic fruit and roses. Semi-Sweet, with just enough acidity to balance the wealth of fruit and spice aromas. Pair with roasted pork loin stuffed with apples and fall vegetables, braised duck breast with roasted parsnip and a ginger gastrique or a roasted root vegetable soup.
Pierre Andre 2018 Savigny-Les-Beaune
Dark ruby, consistent to the rim. Darker red fruit dominate, slight spice aroma mixes with damp earth. Light-medium body with a smooth mouthfeel and tart cherry flavors and there is some very light earthiness to this Pinot. The tannins are soft and feather the teeth with their drying presence. Plum and cherry flavors dance with nutmeg, vanilla and a touch of florality on the finish. Traditionally styled and great value, this Savigny will drink well for another 5 years and will develop further tertiary aromas of mushroom and earth. Pair this with Duck Confit, or lightly smoked Pork with a cherry sauce and fall vegetables. Don’t forget the mushroom toast!
Sella & Mosca Monteoro
Pale lemon yellow Monteoro is a Vermentino di Gallura. The glass reaches out with initial aromas of preserved lemon, almond and bees wax. On the palate the minerality shows through with a saline note that expands into green olive, almonds and a light florality as it finishes long and crisp. Beautiful with grilled Halibut in an olive chutney and preserved lemon, fish stews or try a traditional Galluran dish such as Mazza Frissa semolina flour combined with fresh cream and broad beans.
Gaintus One Night’s Rose
Fantastic salmon pink blush from Montrubi using the indigenous varietal Sumoll. Named so for the maceration with the skins of 24 hours. Light bodied, dry, with pleasingly tart acidity. Aroma’s of watermelon, wild red berry and sweet grass dominate with a light minerality on the lengthy finish. Glorious on its own as an aperitif. Fantastic with light salads (think arugula with a lemon vinaigrette and young goat cheese), rice dishes such as Paella, or charcuterie with light cheeses.
Perez Cruz Carmenere
Carmenere is a Chilean darling. The nose is full of red fruit and hinting at a little characteristic green pepper. Medium-bodied with flavours of cherry and raspberries and light aromas of green pepper combined with a flinty/smoky element. The marked acidity makes me dream of food with this palate pleaser. The light vegetal notes would mix well with vegetarian dishes, such as a hearty Moroccan Eggplant Tagine or a Ratatouille Gratin. Smoked meats and charcuterie would also be perfect pairings!
La Mascota Cabernet Franc
Harvest time is in the air. Fall for me is when my drinking preferences move to full-bodied wines, reds mostly, often with a mineral edge and complicated aromas. I like wines with restraint and finesse to pair them with the bounty of fresh ingredients we experience this time of year on the Island. This beautifully aromatic wine hails from the Maipu Valley in Mendoza. On the nose you are romanced with aromas of blackcurrant, cassis and a subtle floral element. The palate explodes with red fruit flavours with minerality, while your mouth is wrapped in a pleasing tannic embrace. This medium-bodied charmer would be amazing with grilled lamb with a minty herby drizzle of EVOO, charred/roasted veggies, eggplant parmigiana, or a mix of mature cheeses.
Graham’s 30 Year Tawny Port
As the cool weather sets in, I always feel the need to retreat to warmer climates. My palate is no exception, bring on the desserts (or at least the baking spices)! I love my tawny port as a digestif on its own or an accompaniment to a variety of desserts. Tawny’s offer complexity, balance and history of place, all in a tiny glass of beautiful sweet luxury. Graham’s 30 Year Tawny Port doesn’t disappoint. Intense aromas of figs and other dried fruit, notes of bread pudding and burnt caramel hint at the excitement that is awaiting me in the glass. The palate is resplendent with brandy notes, dark chocolate and honey covered charred almonds. This port has a smooth mouthfeel that bursts with baking spice and chocolate covered dried fruit. Pair with dark chocolate, chocolate covered fruit, spice cake, black forest cake. Serve slightly chilled.
The Glenlivet 12 Year Old
Steeped in history, The Glenlivet distillery opened its doors in 1824. The 12 year old is part of its core range of single malts. On the nose are aromas of honey and heather. This scotch is medium bodied, smooth, and malty on the palate with a slight vanilla note. The finish is pleasantly lengthy and sophisticated.