Grilling in the fall takes on a very different feel than in summer, even in California. Gone are long, leisurely and warm evenings. This time of year sunset comes quickly and a sweater may be required when tending the grill. And a head lamp. No matter, we still occasionally pull out the grill and when we do we need wine to sip with our meal. We recently received two wines, a spice rub and an olive oil, all as tasting samples, that will pair with whatever you grill regardless of the season.
The meat we grill in the fall doesn’t differ significantly from what we grill the rest of the year. Generally I choose chicken or pork and occasionally grass fed beef. What does differ considerably throughout the seasons are the side dishes. In general I try to choose seasonal vegetables. Gone are fresh tomatoes and corn. This time of year I look for squash, Brussels sprouts, carrots and other root vegetables.
On a recent weeknight we grilled pork chops seasoned with Dean & Deluca Barbecue Rub. The rub is a tasty combination of smoky paprika, herbs and spices that will be delicious with fish, chicken and beef as well as pork.
To accompany the pork chops I roasted butternut squashed seasoned with butter, salt and cinnamon. Alongside the squash I roasted carrots and mushrooms tossed with Tenuta di Arceno extra virgin olive oil. Chardonnay from Chile and a Bordeaux blend from Italy made delicious companions to our meal.
2015 Alcance Gran Reserva Cardonnay, Valle de Itata — golden yellow in the glass with generous aromas of stone fruit and toasty oak. Cedar leads the flavor profile with peach, pear and citrus flavors behind that. Roundness in the mouth is balanced by juicy acidity and the finish is medium+ in length. 14.5% abv. SRP $19.99
If you are a Chardonnay lover who enjoys the flavors of oak aging and texture of malolactic fermentation then you will appreciate this vibrant Alcance Chardonnay. It is made to pair with food, to my palate, and will successfully pair with everything from seafood to grilled pork. I preferred this Chardonnay with our meal rather than on its own only because I prefer Chardonnay with less oak influence.
Chardonnay was hand picked in the Cusco Vineyard located in the Valle de Itata, north of Bío Bío Valley. Alcoholic and malolactic fermentation took place in French oak with lees aging and stirring.
2014 Tenuta di Arceno Il Fauno di Arcanum, Toscana IGT — dense ruby with garnet at the edges. Deep red and dark fruit aromas follow with dusty earth and dried herbs in the background. Flavors lead with red fruit backed by dusty earth, leather and dried herbs. Cedar lingers in the background. Red fruit flavors are somewhat tart along with juicy acidity. Tannins are substantial and outlast the fruit flavors on the medium+ finish. Body is medium. 14.5% abv. SRP $31.99
This Bordeaux blend has delicious red fruit character and more substantial tannins that I experience in many California wines that are predominantly Merlot. A blended wine made of 72% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, 4% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Petit Verdot is not particularly unusual, but the fact that this wine is made in Chianti Classico territory is. It made a delicious partner for our grilled pork meal.
Tenuta de Arceno covers 2500 acres in San Gusmé near Siena in the southern corner of Chianti Classico. About 220 acres are planted to vines – a combination of Sangiovese, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. The Bordeaux-variety wines are bottled under the Arcanum label.
Olive trees also cover portions of the Tenuta di Arceno estate and they are the source for estate olive oil. This is an olive oil with complex flavors and the lingering heat of black pepper that lasts on the finish.
Both Alcante and Tenuta di Arceno are part of the Jackson Family portfolio of wines.