Wine for an 80 degree fall day…

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by Heather Puffer

Captain Freeman Cooking School season will kick off in just over a month!  While it’s hard to think about baking bread and slurping French Onion Soup (there’s no way to eat onion soup gracefully) while the thermometer is still breaking 80 degrees, these weekends were made for getting out on the bike, passing by the farm stands filled with colorful mums and pumpkins and picking up some apples.

During the ride, I’m contemplating, “What do you drink on an 80 degree fall day?” A cool glass of cider?  A leftover summer beer?  What wine?  My brain says fall, spicy, refreshing and then I remember that I’ve got a Gewurtztraminer from California.  Perfect!

A little about Gewurtztraminer…it’s a white grape variety that tends to be grown in cooler climate regions and the best examples are from Alsace, France but it also grows well in cooler areas of California, Oregon, Germany and Northeast Italy.  This grape’s characteristics combined with a cooler climate result in wine that is highly aromatic with flavors of lychee, citrus, peach and tropical fruits, notes of baking spice and ginger and floral notes of rose or honeysuckle. Gewurtztraminer will pair well with highly spiced cuisines of the Middle East, Morocco and Asia and is often recommended as a Thanksgiving dinner wine with its ability to complement herbed stuffing and gravy, roasted spiced butternut squash or ginger-scented carrots.

Today I paired Banyan 2013 Monterey County Gewurtztraminer ($10-$15) with herb grilled pork chops, cinnamon applesauce and corn on the cob with ancho chile butter.   This wine is lightly floral, slightly off-dry (a little residual sweetness) and features vibrant citrus, ripe peach, Granny Smith apple, and ginger.

Stay tuned as I promise to include a red wine in the next post as crisp, cool temperatures will eventually make their way here.  I’m excited about the wine pairings in store for the November 8th class on Paris, plus tips for wines to serve at those upcoming feasts.  Hopefully you’ll find at least one or two new favorites on November 8th. So, join us down at the Captain Freeman Inn and exhale before the hustle and bustle of the holidays.

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