What better way is there to celebrate October Virginia Wine Month than to cook up a festive fall spread complete with regionally crafted vino? We’ve rounded up the most popular autumn staples and paired them with six handpicked Virginia wines to take your seasonal cuisine to new heights.
Pumpkin with Blenheim Vineyards’ 2018 Viognier
Come October, everything is doused in pumpkin flavor. Whether you’re crafting the bright orange gourd into a creamy pie or savory chili, elevate its earthy and nutty flavors with the complex aromas and fruit-forward sips of Blenheim Vineyards’ Viognier. The 2018 vintage is made from 100% Viognier grapes and boasts tropical notes of mango, passion fruit and nectarine. Its five-month stint in French and Hungarian oak adds a slight woody tinge that sips nicely with the fall relic.
Brussels Sprouts with Linden Sauvignon Blanc
For some, Brussels sprouts are an acquired taste. Elevate the childhood staple with a crisp glass of Linden Vineyards’ Linden Sauvignon Blanc. Bottled in 2017, the medium-bodied white is bursting with acidity, stone fruit and grapefruit zest. Its dry finish absorbs the fresh herbs, oils and cheeses tossed with roasted Brussels sprouts, making for a simple yet refreshing autumn dish.
Wild Game with Octagon
This four-year-old blend of estate-grown Bordeaux varietals, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Virginia favorite Petit Verdot is rich in fall savors and textures. The layers of red fruit in the Barboursville Vineyards bottle are lush and diverse, asserting it as the perfect accompaniment to roasted or stewed game like venison, lamb and beef. The richness of the tender meats is balanced by the heavy tannins of the wine, a combination that is sure to warm the stomach and soul on a crisp fall evening.
Sweet Potato with Ankida Ridge Pinot Noir 2016
Sweet potatoes straddle the border between a savory side dish and mashed saccharine dessert, so why not pair the starchy goodness with a wine that does the same? The 2016 vintage of Ankida Ridge Vineyards is full bodied, tannin-heavy, earthy and quaffable. Much like its edible counterpart, Ankida’s Pinot Noir can be enjoyed as a pre-feast libation or after-dinner cocktail. Its oaky body, courtesy of a 10-month stay in French barrels, emphasizes the potatoes’ naturally sweet qualities.
Apples with Gewurztraminer
Nestled in the fall foliage of the Blue Ridge Mountains is Afton Mountain Vineyards. With easy access to nearby Charlottesville orchards, Afton winemakers are experts in the apple pairing arena. The winery’s aromatic and slightly sweet Gewurztraminer offers a complementary pour to tart autumn apples. Its stainless steel finish is clean and crisp like an apple itself, so whether you serve the fall fruit mulled, baked or on a cheese charcuterie board, be sure to serve it with a glass of this fresh, young white.
Butternut Squash with Virginia FIZZ
Sparkling wine pairs well with almost anything, but this bottle of Thibaut-Janisson bubbly has found its ideal partner in butternut squash. Whether roasted, puréed, sautéed or toasted, butternut squash is known to lighten and brighten nearly every fall dish. The winter fruit is sweet and slightly nutty, both of which are accentuated by the Crémant-style sip of Virginia FIZZ. The sparkling wine is lush with apple and peach savors, so when paired with squash, you experience an explosion of autumn tastes on the tongue.