Savor The Season: DRIVEN’s Autumn Wine Roundup for 2015

VineyardWelcome, Autumn! And with it, welcome not just to the sense-worthy nuances that signal the change of seasons, like the crisp air, the colorful foliage and the sound of leaf blowers in the distance. I’m talking about autumn from a palate-centric vantage point. Welcome to Brussels sprouts, acorn squash and sweet potatoes. Welcome to heartier meals that get prepared in the kitchen instead of on the barbecue grill. And most of all, welcome to the wines that pair nicely with those meals, and with the seasonal atmosphere that pervades our senses.

A Perpetual Passion

Deborah and I are always thinking about wine, whether in a professional or personal setting. We’ve both been out of the wine trade for some years, but still find ourselves at NYC tasting venues large and small, at least 3 or 4 times each year. Our goal is to stay current on the massive wine market, keep in touch with our old colleagues, and hopefully find exciting wines to present at our live events (and maybe to tuck away in our own collection!). 2015 has been no exception, and if you attend our events (like the upcoming Common Scents educational wine & food seminar on November 10th), you can be exposed to some of our favorite recent wine discoveries.

What We’re Drinking This AutumnIMG_4159

If you’re excited like we are about switching gears in wine & food consumption to accompany the season, you might enjoy knowing what’s out there in the current NYC wine market to make it happen. Behold: Our new Autumn Wine Roundup! Try any or all of these 5 seasonal selections, and we promise you be glad you discovered them. If you are interested in having any of these beauties shipped to your door from our strategic partner Suburban Wines & Spirits, a discount will be extended to DRIVEN’s members and friends (provided the wine is not already marked down). Just visit Suburban’s website, build your order, and in the Shipping Options/Special Instructions field, indicate that you are a DRIVEN Professional. Cheers!

Pierre Frick Pinot Blanc ’12, Alsace ($17)Frick

Never be afraid to include a white wine selection in your autumn wine roundup. This world-class Alsatian Pinot Blanc has the creamy textural richness to satisfy any red wine-craving palate this season. Zippy, citrusy acidity cuts a swath across the dried apricot, honey and nut-laden flavors in this substantially weighty wine. Both exotic and serious, this will have wide appeal to the novice and the wine snob simultaneously. Biodynamic.

Peirano Estate Petite Sirah ’12, Lodi, California ($14)Peirano

Substantially complex for a wine in its price range, Peirano’s entry-level Petite Sirah comes across the way we wish more of them did. This is not over-extracted, excessively ripe or buried in oak; rather, it’s balanced and full of place-specific personality. Aromas mimic dark raspberry tinged by white pepper, cola nut, coffee and spice drawer. The plum/cherry/raspberry-dominated flavors reveal smoky cacao and licorice notes after a short decant. Quite versatile with autumnal cuisine.

Mooiplaas Cabernet Sauvignon ’06, Stellenbosch, South Africa ($17)Mooiplaas

It takes a really sophisticated example to get us excited about drinking Cabernet. Mooiplaas ’06 has hit its stride 9 years out, and it’s a rare new-world treat! One whiff reveals a subtle attack of suede, smoke, melted licorice and boysenberry reduction in all their fully-mature glory. The texture is still fleshy despite the tannins having almost fully resolved, and the finish lasts for over a minute. This is the type of wine to contemplate, and to pair with gamier stews and heavily seasoned fare.

Ughetto-Audoin Plan de Dieu Cotes du Rhone ’12 ($16)Ughetto

Many of today’s reds from France’s Cotes du Rhone have lost their traditional feel in favor of a more user-friendly “international” style. Not this wine! Plan de Dieu is not shy about delivering that classic, Chateauneuf du Pape-esque sense of garrigue. You’ll experience olfactory seduction inspired by notes of crushed herbs, rustic minerality and cracked pepper, leaving the elegant red fruit subtly in the background. The meaty, earthy flavors are backed up by the fruit instead of the reverse. This will play nicely with mushroom-based dishes or lamb.

COS Cerasuolo di Vittoria ’12, Sicily ($30)COS

With a more advanced budget, you can discover the difference of an island wine with Sicily’s coveted Cerasuolo. The COS wines are among the most elegant in the category, proving that a red wine need not be powerful or weighty to be compelling. This 2012 is a prime example, with its soft red fruit, lean texture and pronounced acidity, which quickly become complicated as you examine more closely. Look for aromas of leather, ash, truffle, licorice, clove, dark chocolate and spice cake, and round, balanced flavors that echo the bouquet. For the true seeker of pleasure.

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