And just like that, there is a change in the air. The mornings and evenings are cooler and the days shorter. In the vineyards, the grapes have started to change color, vérasion, and harvest begins. At the farmers’ markets, tomatoes, corn, and berries give way to fall produce like figs, apples, hearty greens, and root vegetables. My favorite way to embrace this seasonal change is to come together around the table for a fall harvest dinner with wine pairings.
This month the Wine Pairing Weekend group is celebrating the season’s harvest. Topics will include climate change impacts, harvest reports from vineyards and wineries, and of course, here at Always Ravenous, food and wine pairings. The Wine Pairing Weekend group will be chatting live on Twitter, Saturday, September 12, 2020, at 11:00 AM ET. Follow the Twitter chat using hashtag #WinePW. More great articles on celebrating the harvest can be found at the end of this post from the group.
Fall Harvest Menu with Wine Pairings
Fig and Goat Cheese Salad
paired with 2018 Maître de Chai Herron Sauvignon Blanc
Cider-Roasted Pork Tenderloins with Roasted Plum Chutney & Parmesan Smashed Potatoes
paired with 2017 Ken Wright Freedom Hill Pinot Noir
Apple Spice Cake
paired with 2017 Old Westminster Vin Doux Naturel
My Wine Tasting and Food Pairing Notes
2018 Maître de Chai, Herron Sauvignon Blanc, Sonoma Mountain
13.5% abv | $30.00 | 100% Sauvignon Blanc
Maître de Chai (May-TRUH-DE-SHAY) was established in 2012 by Marty Winters and Alex Pitts. The Herron Vineyard was planted in 1969 on a 1.5-acre parcel on Sonoma Mountain. The vineyard is dry-farmed and one of the oldest Sauvignon Blanc parcels in the United States. The grapes were hand-harvested and fermented in neutral barrels with native yeasts. The wine remained on its lees for 11 months during the barrel fermentation. Nine barrels were produced.
Medium yellow in color. Citrus aromas of lemon and grapefruit. On the palate, dry, with medium body and medium (+) acidity. Balanced acidity with a soft texture from lees aging. Flavors of lemon, pink grapefruit pith, and stone fruit with a lingering flinty finish.
Food Pairing: Fig and Goat Cheese Salad, recipe below – This pairing highlights the citrus notes in the salad and wine. The creamy texture of the goat cheese echos the softness found in the wine. Overall a nice balance of acidity and texture.
Note: Saba Lemon used in the salad dressing is a vinegar made from grape must slowly cooked down into a syrupy consistency resulting in a less pungent vinegar and more wine-friendly.
2017 Ken Wright Cellars Freedom Hill Vineyard, Williamette Valley AVA
13.7% abv | $60.00 | 100% Pinot Noir
Ken Wright Cellars is located in Carlton, Oregon and was founded in 1993. The estate specializes in single-vineyard Pinot Noir from 13 vineyard sites in the Northern Willamette Valley. The Freedom Hill Vineyard was originally planted in 1982 and replanted in 2000-2004. The vineyards are east-facing on a 450-foot elevation. Fermentation is done in small batches in 1-1/4 ton open vat fermenters. The juice is then pressed and aged separately in 100% French oak barrels for about one year.
Pale ruby in color. Aromas of spices, cherries, raspberries, and a hint of toast. On the palate, dry with medium body, medium tannins, and medium (+) acidity. Flavors of cloves, cinnamon, cherries, raspberries, red plums, and earth with a lingering finish.
Food Pairing: Cider-Roasted Pork Tenderloins with Roasted Plum Chutney & Parmesan Smashed Potatoes Cider-Roasted Pork Tenderloins recipe, Roasted Plum Chutney recipe, Parmesan Smashed Potatoes
The pork and the wine are a good weight match. It is the spices in the marinade and plum chutney that bridge this pairing together.
2017 Old Westminster Vin Doux Naturel, Maryland
16.5% abv | Sample – $40.00 SRP | Valvin Muscat and Fortified Spirits
Old Westminster Winery is located in Westminster, Maryland, and established in 2011. Three siblings manage the winery; Drew Baker, the farmer, Lisa Hinton, the winemaker, and Ashli Johnson, the general manager. The Westminster Vin Doux Natural is inspired by the Vin Doux Natural wines of Southern France. This wine is made with 100% estate-grown Valvin Muscat, fermented with wild yeasts and fortified during fermentation with distilled grape spirits made from estate-grown grapes.
Medium (-) gold in color. Aromas of honey and floral. On the palate, sweet, with a bold body and medium acidity. Flavors of honey and ripe apricot. Nice balance of acidity and sweetness.
Food Pairing: Spiced Apple Cake Apple Spiced Cake recipe – Following the food and wine pairing “rules,” the Vin Doux Naturel is sweeter than the cake, setting this up for a beautiful pairing of warm fall flavors.
Fig and Goat Cheese Salad
- 1/4 cup walnuts
- 2 tablespoons Saba Lemon I found this at Williams-Sonoma. If you can't find lemon Saba, add a squeeze of lemon juice to regular Saba.
- 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- freshly ground pepper
- 5 cups salad mix of arugula and baby mixed greens
- 1/2 cup goat cheese, crumbled
- 6 fresh ripe figs, halves or quartered
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and roast for about 8 minutes. When cool, break the walnuts into small pieces.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the saba lemon, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
- In a large flat bottomed salad bowl, toss the lettuce and walnuts with just enough dressing to lightly coat the greens. Divide on to 6 salad plates and top with crumbled goat cheese and figs halves.
More articles on celebrating harvest from the Wine Pairing Weekend group
- Terrie at “Our Good Life” celebrates Harvest Time at Twin Meadows Winery .
- Andrea at “The Quirky Cork” discusses The Art of the Harvest .
- Deanna at “Asian Test Kitchen” pours French Style Wines by the Sea from Windy Oaks (With 3 Fab Food Pairings)
- Susanna at “Avvinare” declares Robert Biale Petite Sirah & BBQ, A Perfect Match .
- Nicole at “Somm’s Table” posts A Harvest at Forlorn Hope & Juicy Lucies .
- Jane at “Always Ravenous” hosts a Fall Harvest Dinner with Wine Pairings .
- Robin at “Crushed Grape Chronicles” highlights Regenerative Agriculture at Tablas Creek – A Meaningful Way to Farm .
- Cam at “Culinary Adventures with Camilla” shines the spotlight on Donkey & Goat: The Brandts Bring Natural Farming Philosophies Into the Cellar .
- Lori at “Exploring the Wineglass” describes Harvesting the Land While Overcoming Global Changes .
- Sue and Gwendolyn at “Wine Predator” have A Harvest Conversation with The Ojai Vineyard’s Adam Tolmach and Fabien Castel