Welcoming Fall with a Flavor-packed Risotto and Hearty Wines

Fall has most certainly arrived in NE Ohio, although I fear we may already be contending with winter in early November, as flurries have been spotted. But no matter – that’s what heart-warming food and wine are for! Probably my favorite part of this time of year is squash and its many incarnations. As much as I dislike peeling and chopping butternut squash, the end product is typically worth the effort. I discovered a recipe for Butternut Squash, Swiss Chard, and Apple Risotto, and the combination is to die for. Earthy, sweet, and creamy flavors all swirled together meant I never wanted to stop eating. The ideal wine I found for the risotto was the 2009 Domaine de la Ferrandiere Viognier, a Vin de Pays d’Oc, which I received in a two-pack from Cinderella Wine. Even though it’s a white, the fuller body of the Viognier proved a good match for the creamy risotto, but at 13% alcohol, it didn’t overwhelm. This wasn’t the most complex Viognier I’ve ever had, but considering the wide variety of flavors in the risotto, that may have been a good thing. On the nose, the wine offers pear, apricot, and a some minerality, although it is rather subtle. The palate is full-bodied, with a bit of petrol, some citrus and apple, and good acidity. A perfect wine with which to transition into the cool weather!
I also recently tried a rather unusual red blend, the 2007 Lioco Indica from Mendocino. I actually read about it in a feature on the Grape and Bean wine shop in Alexandria, VA – the owner recommended this wine, and I realized we had it at SoMar. It is 78% Carignan, plus Petite Sirah, Mourvedre, and a splash of Grenache. Both the aromas and flavors were very unique – I smelled floral scents, with cooked blueberries and stoniness, and in the mouth, there was more blueberry, as well as cranberry and perhaps some herbs. The acidity was great, and the tannins do not overwhelm. A very different, but great wine!

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