There are certain things you can always trust about wines in a particular region. They’ll always be a good fit for the kind of weather that the area experiences. So what wine could possibly be better for flannel season than Portland wine? These cool climate wines are made to suit a number of fall and winter experiences. We often think about how wine pairs with food. How a wine pairs with a season can be just as important.
The climate in which the grapes grow directly affects the wines that are created:
Cool Climate Red Wines
Cool climates mean that certain grapes will enjoy the temperatures and weather more than others. For instance, you’re going to have a tough time growing grapes for Cabernet Sauvignon in a cool region.
Cool climates provide perfect conditions for growing grapes for Pinot Noir, Merlot, Schiava, Gamay, Cabernet Franc, Rondo, Regent, Lagrein, Chambourcin, and others.
These wines are characterized by having a higher acidity. This makes them perfect for meals with roasted vegetables, and most meat – especially fish. They also have more spice to them than warm climate wines.
Their bodies are lighter and they’ll have lower alcohol content – a perfect excuse to have just one more glass.
As an extra tip, the blend of spice, light bodies, and high acidity in Portland wine makes these reds exquisite with dark chocolates, chocolate caramels, or desserts that feature these flavors. You know, just in case that information proves useful! Try Merlot with dark chocolate or a Pinot Noir with chocolate caramel.
If you like the effect, think about a wine & chocolate tasting party. These are a great way to celebrate the holidays or ring in the New Year. Comparing favorite choices and pairings is an immediate party icebreaker.
Cool Climate White Wines
Cool climate wines of the white variety tend to possess some of the same qualities: they have higher acidity, light body, and lower alcohol content. There is another element they add, however. Instead of standout spicy notes, white wines grown in cooler climates will tend to have a bit more fruit and tart to them. Both in taste and aroma, you’ll find hint of lemon and lime flavors that are exceptional.
Cool climate white wines include Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Muller-Thurgau, Chasselas, Solaris, Madeleine Angevine, and Bacchus.
Pinot Gris pairs very well with roasted veggies and seared fish. The higher acidity and complex flavor of the wine complements more straightforward methods of cooking. What many don’t think of is how well it pairs with cream sauces.
This is because of how its acidity plays with the fat content of the sauce. The mouthfeel that results from alternating a bite from the dish and a sip of the wine builds throughout the meal. Oregon Pinot Gris also tends to have pear flavors, which are some of the most exquisite to pair with cream sauces.
If you try the wine & chocolate pairing party above, you don’t have to banish white wines from the festivities. White chocolate is often made with citrus flavors. This goes well with a Sauvignon Blanc, where the fruity notes of the two help complete that connection.
What Oregon Fall Wines Should I Choose?
The Willamette Valley is well known for its richly rewarding Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris wines.
Pinot Noir: The Pinot Noirs of Portland wine typically feature great spice notes. There may be no better wine for fall than Pinot Noir and its berry tones. Best of all, Oregon Pinot Noir isn’t all the same. There’s a cultural focus to wine growing in Oregon that highlights the creation of a variety of options.
This means you’ll find Pinot Noirs that offer a number of different spice elements and body. What’s remarkable is how the quality remains high across them, with a focus on features that are perfect with hearty meals. Get some with a few different flavors and tones, to mix and match with your fall and winter favorites.
Pinot Gris: The Pinot Gris wines of Oregon take a different bend. These are remarkably fruity wines with complex flavors and bodies. Fall is also a time of harvest, and the Pinot Gris options pair exquisitely with a range of dishes from the vegetables that come in. Some of the hardiest vegetables make it well into fall, and these often make some of the most flavorful seasonal meals.
Chardonnay: Oregon Chardonnay blends smoky textures to its pronounced fruit flavors. Ideal for late summer days, this Chardonnay also has a strong argument for fall when you want something full-bodied.
Viognier: Viognier is gaining a foothold in Oregon. Its tropical flavors may seem like an odd choice for Fall, until you consider the fruits and vegetables we often eat at this time of year. Viognier’s flowery notes go best with fruits and veggies that have strong flavor – such as cranberries, apples, squash, and even lighter pumpkin treats. If you opt for a ham for any feast, Viognier pairs better with it than almost any other wine.
One Last Thing
Get yourself a few different options so that you have variety and don’t repeat. We all have our comfort wine for the season. Just make sure you can change it up a little for different meals. Find reasons to celebrate the season – first snow is as important to many as more traditional holidays. Use these little moments as opportunities to celebrate with friends, and to share your favorites in everything: wines, meals, music, desserts, films.
Fall and winter can be a very cozy time to huddle with your loved ones, to heal, celebrate, and share. Take advantage of these moments. Treat yourself kindly over these months.