Fall & Winter Seasonal Foods and Wine Pairings
The fall and winter months offer a diverse selection of seasonal produce that can be enjoyed in myriad different dishes. We’ve selected our 10 favorite recipes and their ideal wine pairings.
Brooke Smith, Photo: Lee Harrelson; Styling: Mindi Shapiro
Cold Weather, Rich FlavorJust as the leaves change to warmer colors of crimson, orange and gold, so does the array of seasonal fruits and vegetables. This year, don’t let the chilly temperatures keep you from enjoying the rich, flavorful and nutrient-rich produce available at farmers’ markets across the country. To provide inspiration, try these 10 tasty recipes and wine pairings to match.
Pumpkin and Pinot GrisContrary to popular belief, jack-o’-lanterns aren’t the only uses for fresh pumpkins. This quintessential fall vegetable shows its culinary bravado in a Pumpkin Risotto with Prosciutto along with a bright, spicy Pinot Gris. The acidity of the wine will cut through the richness of the risotto, complement the earthy sweetness of the pumpkin, and counterbalance the saltiness of the prosciutto.
Fresh Rosemary and Cabernet SauvignonRed wine season is officially here. Make the most of it by grilling Strip Steaks with Rosemary Butter and enjoying them with a big, bold Cabernet Sauvignon. The hearty tannins can handle the slight bitterness that comes from al fresco grilling and the fresh rosemary flavors will be delightfully enhanced by the earthier, more herbaceous style of Cabernet from Bordeaux or Washington State.
Blood Oranges and TorrontésPeak-of-the-season blood oranges are so juicy and sweet that they are best appreciated in their purest state. For the perfect winter salad and wine pairing, sip a refreshing glass of Torrontés while savoring Shrimp Salad with Blood Oranges and Slivered Fennel. This fresh, vibrant white wine from Argentina features delicate floral and stone fruit aromas, but it’s the underlying orange blossom flavor that makes this pairing just heavenly.
Wild Mushrooms and Pinot NoirThe classic pairing of Pinot Noir and mushrooms must not be missed. A lush and spicy style of Pinot Noir will greatly enhance the earthy, meaty flavors of the mushrooms when savored with Penne with Wild Mushrooms. Oregon and Burgundy are go-to regions for rich, earthy Pinot, but New Zealand also offers some shining examples.
Root Vegetables and ViognierThe unique characteristics of Viognier, an aromatic white grape variety native to France but also grown in Australia and the U.S., make it an exceptional food partner. The wine’s rich, creamy texture, bright acidity, crisp fruit flavors and warm sweet spices perfectly complement Honey-Roasted Root Vegetables, a delightful holiday side.
Pears and Sweet Sparkling WineAn unripe, out-of-season pear leaves much to be desired, but once fall rolls around they’re in their prime. Let them shine on their own in this tasty, but not too sweet Champagne-Poached Pears dessert. When accompanied by a sweeter style Champagne or sparkling wine (look for the words “demi-sec” on the bottle), this duo makes a simple yet memorable ending to a holiday meal.
Butternut Squash and GewürztraminerIf you’re a squash fan, locally grown and harvested butternut squash is as good as it gets. For the perfect cold-weather comfort meal, slice up a warm, crusty baguette, make Curry Ginger Butternut Squash soup and pour a glass of Gewürztraminer, an aromatic white wine that boasts aromas of exotic fruit and sweet spice. Try one from the French region of Alsace.
Cranberry and ZinfandelIf you’ve always relied on canned cranberry sauce for your holiday meals, it’s time for a change. Grandma Erma’s Spirited Cranberry Sauce made from fresh berries will go perfectly with roasted turkey and a glass of fruit-forward, spicy Zinfandel. Choose a jammier style Zin from California with soft tannins and riper fruit to pair with the slightly tart yet sweet cranberry sauce.
Fresh Parsley and Sauvignon BlancNot many herbs thrive in cool temperatures, but parsley is an exception. For a lighter fall or winter pairing, make Salmon Skewers with Lemon-Parsley Pesto and sip a classic Sauvignon Blanc, one of the most versatile and food-friendly wines out there. The wine will pick up on the fresh parsley flavor, accentuate the citrus notes of the pesto, and act as a fresh squeeze of lemon on the salmon.
Apples and RieslingWhen the weather turns crisp and cool, apples steal the show at farmers’ markets across the country. You’ll wish they were in season year-round when you taste them in Caramel-Apple Crumb Pie paired with a sweet, late harvest Riesling from Germany. The wine’s bright acidity, roundness and inherent baked apple flavors paired with the sweet spices and flaky crust will have you polishing off that last slice of pie before you know it.
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