Note from the Artist: In this series, I want to share a quick insight into wines that are great for the season and the foods they love to spend time with. Enjoy!
The leaves are turning gold, and a new wealth of cool-weather vegetables have appeared. And while we love acorn and butternut squash, sweet potatoes and gourds of all shapes, versatile pumpkin is an easy fall favorite. When thinking about wine pairings, it doesn't have to be all sweet and spice to make things nice: crisp, dry style wines also get along well with pumpkin.
For a pumpkin risotto, accent the dish with a dry Prosecco. The clean, light flavors of the sparkling white wine help lift the almost floral aspects of the pumpkin without accentuating any sweetness. For affordable-with-quality options, try Nino Franco Rustico or the herbal freshness of Sommariva.
When incorporating cream into a pumpkin recipe, the food gets a little heavier, so a wine with a little more weight works well. Sangiovese strikes the balance of standing up to something like a pumpkin cream sauce without overpowering the pumpkin. For a pretty, red berry-like wine with smooth texture, look for Il Poggione Rosso di Montalcino or, for a little more spice, look to Felsina Berardenga Chianti Classico, both 100% Sangiovese.
Gruner Veltliner offers the zingy refreshment that can go well with pumpkin in any of its forms, but shows especially well next to a savory option like sage butter sauce on pumpkin gnocchi. To try a classic, look to Austria, the grape's first home. Nikolaihof Hefeabzug (the green label) is crisp and mineral, plus it's a taste of history (the winery has history dating back almost 2000 years, through Celts, Romans, and Germanic monks). Want to try something exciting and new? Look for Tatomer Wines from California.
When it's time for pumpkin pie, try an Oloroso Sherry to bring out the spice and smooth, rich flavor. Look for Emilio Laustau for a tasty bargain that will also last a couple weeks after opening.
About the Artist: Hawk Wakawaka is a wine drawing philosopher with a heart of gold. She also writes the website Hawk Wakawaka Wine Reviews.
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