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More Fabulous Fall Wines!

Hello my Wine Old Owl watchers! I'm back with another great lineup of Fall wines.

I have to admit, this lineup was a surprise to me. Every one of these wines is great to enjoy during these cooler months.

Baseball season is over, football season is in full swing, and the weather is finally cooling down enough for us to change our lineup of wines.

This is the time of year for me that signals the beginning of more indoor cooking. As such, the wines I pair with my meals change. My whites become more robust and less light and crisp; and my reds become more complex, rustic, rich and full bodied. The flavors become more Fall-like, and reflective of the season. I hope you will enjoy trying these wines as much as I and my tasters did.

Let's kick things off with the Raymond North Coast Sauvignon Blanc.

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This wine is very light in color, almost clear, but the nose is not. The aromas of fresh melon and citrus flood out of the glass with pleasing results. The big surprise comes on the palate. I was expecting a light, crisp, "typical" Sauv Blanc. Nope! This is a full bodied, mouth-filling Sauv Blanc. Lots of flavor, lots of body. Big notes of ripe melon, apricots, nectarines and a strong citrus backbone of pineapple. WOW! It was delicious! This could easily pair with chicken in a white wine and sour cream sauce, or a muscle or clam stew.

Price Range: $12-$17

Our next wine is a newly released Chardonnay from Bread & Butter.

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I did not know what to expect from this one either, but it surprised me as well. Distinct notes of vanilla bean and a soft, muted note of golden delicious apple greet your nose and invite you to taste this Fall gem. On the palate, the vanilla provides a very welcoming flavor that gives way to light flavors of apple, honeydew melon, and a wet stone minerality. This Chardonnay is very reminiscent of a Grand Cru Chablis, where the fruit, minerality, and acidity are all in harmonious balance. A great wine to enjoy by itself, or with roasted chicken (or turkey) and all the trimmings. A classic Fall wine.

Price range: $11-$15

Buckle your seat belts, the reds are next! The first red one I have selected comes from Corbières, France.

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The Prieurè Saint Jaume red has intense notes of black licorice, followed by stewed plums, blackberry and cassis. There is a distinctly rustic earthiness in the background. On the palate, big, round tannins along with flavors of blackberries and plums fill your mouth. The finish is very smooth and easy with lingering dark fruit notes. This wine will pair nicely with several cheeses, I selected an Asiago cheese with rosemary and olive oil that went perfectly with it. It is also the perfect wine for Chicken coq a vin or a simple dish of ratatouille.

Price range: $10-$15

The next red I have selected is a beautifully done Cabernet from Paso Robles.

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The McClean Vineyards Cabernet yields a big nose of cherry fruit, blackberries some baking spice and mushroom. The palate consists of velvety soft, but big round tannins and flavors of blackberry, black cherry, and plums. The finish is silky, almost fuzzy soft and lingers for a while with dark fruit flavors, and a kiss of vanilla. This is a great wine to pair with a perfectly cooked prime rib roast. Roasted duck with a garlic and mushroom gravy would be another great pairing, or as some of my vegan tasters added, some steamed kale with grilled mushrooms and wilted greens.

Price range: $11-$18

Our last wine for this week is one of the most unusual and unique wines you will ever have, I promise.

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From the island of Sardinia comes the Shardana Carignano (Carignan to those who are familiar with the Rhone version of this native Sardinian grape). Carignano is a deep blue, almost black, colored grape with a relatively thick skin, and grows on the southwest coast of the island of Sardinia. Like its French offspring, Carignano offers deep, dark fruit notes of black cassis, black plums and blackberry.

Additional notes of cured meat, port, and tar can also be detected. On the palate the wine is noticeably less tannic, but more acidic than our last wine (Cabernet). The acidity gives the wine a fuller flavor of dark fruits. And all those black fruits meld together to produce a blend of delicious, rich flavor. There is a rustic, Old World quality about this wine, that comes from the earthy notes of old, used barrels and flavors of cooked mushrooms and baking spices of clove and cinnamon. The finish is where the surprise comes from: A distinct black pepper spice note accompanies the long dark fruit finish. This is definitely a heartier wine that reflects the season. Pair it with roasted beef dishes that include carrots, potatoes, celery, garlic and onions swimming in a juicy medium thick gravy. Cured, smoked meats and artisan cheeses will pair nicely with this wine for a pre-dinner snack.

Price range: $30-$37
As always, I hope you will take the time to try all of these wonderful wines. Pair them with foods to get their full affect and you will bring the flavors of the season inside your home. Until next time, keep trying new wines! Cheers!