Fall Wine Pairing Guide

Now that it’s *officially* November, I’m realizing just how much I’ve missed Napa in the fall. Everything about it is perfect, but obviously one of the best things about wine country is, well, the wine. Lately seasonal pairings have been on my mind, like how to make the most of not only the abundance of fall wines, but the incredible seasonal foods and all the opportunities for entertaining November and December bring. The world of wine is straight up enormous, so if you haven’t read my wine 101 post, you might want to before checking out these pairings!

Fall Wine Pairing Guide via Tamera Mowry

Red Wine

Reds generally scream fall because they are often richer and more robust than white wine, and pair well with hearty meals and comfort foods you see this time of year. Even so, there are a few types that really make the most of the complex, warm flavors that seasonal dinners often come with. A few choices:

Pinot Noir with pumpkin, squash, carrots, and other veggie-focused dishes, because it’s a mild red that’s well suited to bring out these flavors without over powering them.

Zinfandel with hearty and creamy pasta dishes, even those mushroom and fall vegetable dishes above. Again, not quite as rich as red meat, but full enough for a light red.

Cabernet, Merlot, or blend with roasts, steaks, meat-heavy dishes. This can vary quite a bit, but you essentially want to match up the richness of the meat with that of the wine so that one taste isn’t overpowering the other. A pork roast for example will pair well with a red blend, while steak might be better for merlot. Also, if you’re pairing with sweet sides like a cranberry on Thanksgiving, keep in mind that you may want something a little more mild like a Zinfandel to work with both.

Fall Whites

If you’re a white wine drinker, don’t fret! Don’t overlook the power of a good white this time of year! There’s actually a surprising amount of seasonal pairings to put on your shopping list, and you don’t have to wait until warmer weather rolls around again. My suggestions:

Chardonnay with mushroom dishes and classic chicken-based meals. The more robust the meal is, the more full-bodied you want your white to be, so an oaky or buttery Chardonnay can be amazing. If you prefer white to red, you might try this instead of Pinot Noir with the vegetable ideas above.

Sauvignon Blanc goes well with many spring dishes but for the fall it can be paired with poultry and fish as well as cheese and charcuterie boards if you are looking for a crisper, fruitier taste than Chardonnay.

Try a Gewürztraminer, a fruity Chardonnay OR a Pinot Noir or Zinfandel for meals that contain varying levels of sweet and savory – such as those big family spreads like the ones served on turkey day. Or, opt for sparkling.

Dessert Pairings

Pinot Gris with pumpkin pie

Sparkling wine with pear dishes like tarts and pies

Riesling with apple pie (or if you’d like a red, Pinot Noir, depending on the recipe!)

And as for sparkling – we all know there are plenty of things to celebrate this time of year. Don’t forget to break out the bubbly when a celebration calls for it!

Are you doing any entertaining this fall? And, what other fall topics should I cover here on my site? I’m all ears!

Xx,
Tamera

How to Create the Perfect Mini Bar

If you love entertaining as much as I do, having a home mini bar is a must. You have everything in one place, can keep better track of what’s on hand and have a ton of options for throwing great parties or even just movie nights in with your girls. A mini bar doesn’t have to be a fancy dedicated space – hence the term mini – but just a spot to gather up your collection and mix up a cocktail for guests. However, when you’re first getting into entertaining, it’s intimidating! For those who want to create your own home bar, I’ll try to stick to the basics.

At home wine bar

Think like a hostess.
Even if your mini bar is for the most part going to be for you + your hubby to enjoy, it helps to think like a hostess when it comes to the set up. First of all, think of what type of mini bar you want. Is it a wine bar or will you be whipping up cocktails? Or a combination of both? Make sure it’s equipped with everything you might need for a party or romantic night in. And then there’s the fun part: a good hostess always thinks about design and décor, so make sure the mini bar is representative of your celebration and home. Goodies like cocktail napkins and drink stirrers (love this DIY) are helpful for creating a whole experience around your choice libations.

How to create the perfect at home mini bar

Get the tools you need.
A good mini bar has all the right tools, but my advice is to stick to the ones you use. A shaker, muddler and strainer are most likely going to get some use, so that’s a good start. And you can’t forget glassware. Having a few pairs of each type of glass – short glasses, tall glasses, and if you serve wine, red and white glasses and flutes – will ensure that you can whip up any cocktail like a pro. If you’re creating a mini wine bar, you’ll want a bottle opener, chillers and stoppers too, to start.

It really depends how far you want to go. If it’s just something you enjoy at home and only host during the holidays, there’s no need to spend extra money or take up space with a bunch of pretty tools you’ll never use. But if you love having people over and have regular parties, it’s worth investing in nice tools and even coming up with a few extras to impress your guests!

Stock it up.
The Kitchn has a great post on must-have bottles for your collection. It’s more fun and less expensive to form your collection over time instead of splurging on all sorts of alcohol at once. That way, you can play bartender with each before you decide on what you want to serve at get togethers. But over all, you’ll want classic bases (like vodka, rum, tequila, etc.), and the mixers you plan to pair them with. Even just a few different liquors can mean plenty of different drinks so just choose a few you actually enjoy and experiment to your hearts’ content!

Are you planning any fall parties? Let me know what drinks you’ll serve!

Xx,
Tamera