Autumn! 1

One of My 4 Favorite Seasons to Drink Wine

The days are shorter and cooler, like Peter Dinklage.

But seriously, though, do we really have to wait until 2019 for Game of Thrones’ final season? C’mon man! The amount of alcohol I’ll consume between Season 7 and Season 8 is going to require one heckuva recap episode to get me back up-to-speed. By the way, I’m not including it in this review, but we did get some official Game of Thrones wines. They aren’t great, but they look cool. You could buy them now and let them age until the final season starts, which should give them time (too much time IMHO) to mellow a bit. See how I brought that back around to wine sold at my store? Marketing, my friend … pure, shameless marketing aimed right at your GOT-loving face <wink>.

Anyways, autumn! It’s such a great season, it really feels like it should be capitalized. For me, when the average daily high falls below 80°, red blends are the wine of choice. In case you didn’t know, red blends are exactly what they sound like; a blend of different red grapes expertly combined to create a mouthful of goodness that is usually less offensive and more interesting than a single grape. Folks who don’t dig a Petite Syrah or a Pinot Noir all by itself may find some serious deliciousness when those grapes are blended together with a little Grenache thrown in for good measure.

As for the proper temperature to drink a red blend, it depends. How do you like it? Conventional wisdom says “around 55°.” Some people say, “room temperature.” If I’m drinking alone and making my way through at least half the bottle (at least, I said), I like to start by chilling it to around 40°, then opening it up and letting it sit for a few minutes. After that, I drink the first glass with the flavors muted by the chill, then allow it to warm and open up as the evening progresses. Sometimes, the chilled version and the 15° warmer version taste like two entirely different wines. I think there’s something neato about that.

So as the nights get longer and the air gets crisper, take my good advice and grab a red blend from your favorite local wine shop (protip: Moore Liquor) and enjoy the season with a nice fat glass of dark red vino blended to perfection.

If you choose not to do so, I’ll tell Arya Stark you were an ally of Littlefinger and give her your address. You know she’ll put you on her list. So vengeful, that little girl! Winter is coming … but first, let’s drink to fall.

Here are my recommendations for some excellent reds:

from Orin Swift
$35.02 per 750ml bottle
Orin Swift’s winemaker, David Phinney, is famous for his blends. And, although he sold his winery to Gallo last year, the wines have continued to be excellent. This particular bottle is a blend of Grenache, Petite Syrah and Syrah from Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino. As you might suspect, this one is good and dry but, thanks to expert blending, the tannins don’t punch you in the face. This fruit-forward wine is dark, balanced and has a nice long tail on it (i.e., the swallow stays with you for a moment). It drinks well all by itself or paired with a hearty dinner that includes beef or seasoned pork.

from Chateau Diana
$20.74 per 750ml bottle
Sparkplug is part of new trend in wine that excites those of us who love both red wine and good whiskey. This blend is actually aged in bourbon barrels for 45 days, which imparts some of the former occupant’s whiskey qualities into the wine. This wine contains California Malbec, Petit Verdot, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. This is big wine with lots going on. I recommend you pair it with a hardy cigar and/or anything off the grill.

from Porter Family Vineyards
$23.98 per 750ml bottle
Clearly this is not a red blend … it’s a Merlot. But I included here because I think it makes a fantastic fall wine. From the Napa Valley, it’s got great body and, if it didn’t say “Merlot” on the bottle, I would swear I was drinking a bold blended wine. It would pair nicely with roast beef or a heavier cheese.

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Good wine and good wishes!