Columns by John

John Brown has been a wine and food columnist in West Virginia since the 1980’s. His regular columns appear in the Charleston (WV) Gazette-Mail under the title Vines & Vittles and in The State Journal - a statewide business weekly

Some Sippers for Fall

Some Sippers for Fall

There's something exhilarating
about Fall. Mother Nature is dishing up the colors, colleges are playing football and wineries (in this hemisphere, at least) are harvesting grapes and making wine.  I love this time of year.  I am amped, and I have been taking action!

In the last month alone, I have:  roasted two bushes of sweet red peppers, crushed 1,000 pounds of grapes, grilled all manner of fish, fowl and cow and consumed enough food and wine to insure an ample supply of blubber to get me through the winter.     

And, dear friends, I have been toiling mightily at the alter of Bacchus -- just for you. This fine Fall day, I have a slew of tasteful recommendations for your consideration.  These little lovelies hail from all over the globe, and are very reasonably priced. I hope you'll give some a try and let me know what you think by posting a comment.

2007 Ancient Peaks Sauvignon Blanc - The aroma has the usual herbal and grassy notes associated with sauvignon blanc, but this one is a surprise because, once you  put it in your mouth, it shows a lively combination of peach and citrus flavors. Good as an aperitif or with lighter foods such as crab cakes.  ($15)

2003 Rentas de Fincas Crianza - Medium-bodied blend of tempranillo and grenache and chock full of forward fruit and spice. Give it a try with grilled chicken basted with kosher salt, black-pepper, olive oil and garlic. ($16)  

2006 Pierre Henri Merlot- Round and rich with nice balance, this is an incredible bargain, and a good bottle of wine from our French friends.  Would be nice with roasted Asian-style pork chops ($9)

martiniwine.jpg2006 Louis Martini Chardonnay (at right) - Always one of my favorite wines, this one combines richness with good acid balance, and is a style I really like in California chardonnay. Great with roasted sea bass basted with butter and lemon. ($25)

2007 Mark West Pinot Noir - Excellent central coast California wine with dark cherry and cola flavors, and a cinnamon spice note on the nose.  This one needs roasted salmon basted with honey and butter.  ($14)

2005 Dracula Zinfandel - The silly name trivializes a very good mouthful of zinfandel. Nothing complex here, but excellent varietal flavors of blackberries that give way to a nice long finish. Try it with a pork roast rubbed with cayenne pepper and garlic (guaranteed to keep the vampires away).  ($19)

2005 Kenwood Red Table Wine -   Spicy, round and rich, this bargain wine is surprisingly good with ripe dark fruit flavors. Try it with barbecue ribs basted with a sweet and spicy sauce. ($11) 

2006 Chateau du Donjon Minervois - From the Languedoc-Roussillon area of southern France, this blend of cabernet and merlot is very Bordeaux-like.  Rich, round and supple, it is drinking well now and would be a good match with grilled meats. ($14).

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