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Wine column: Sip these reds this fall

And just like that it's fall.

At 6:03 pm last night the sun was directly over the equator as it moved from north to south marking the autumnal equinox and the official end of summer and inevitable start of fall.

You can either be melancholy about it (after all, it means winter's cold and snow will eventually follow) or you can be ecstatic that it's time to switch up your wine drinking.

Fall's cooler days and darker nights automatically have many of us putting whites and roses on the back shelf and reaching for reds wines with their ability to comfort and warm.

Reds also pair nicely with the recipes we're trotting out again after summer -- pastas in a rich ragu, stew in the slow cooker, stuffed mushrooms and roast beef.

Plus, reds are perfect with the pizza and barbecued steaks we devour year-round.

</who>Perfect for fall drinking are these six BC red wines. From left, Stag's Hollow 2019 Dolcetto ($25), Stag's Hollow 2020 Merlot ($27), Stag's Hollow 2020 Syrah ($30), Hester Creek The Judge 2019 ($50), Fort Berens 2018 Reserve Cabernet Franc ($40) and Fort Berens 2018 Reserve Meritage ($40).

Here are the six red wines my wife, Kerry, and I debuted for our fall drinking with the aforementioned autumn menus.

- Stag's Hollow 2019 Dolcetto ($25) from Okanagan Falls

You've probably never heard of this rare-to-Canada varietal that originates from northwestern Italy.

Now that you've heard of it, grab a bottle of this silver medal winner from the 2022 National Wine Awards and discover its soft and juicy profile.

- Stag's Hollow 2020 Merlot ($27)

Classic Okanagan Merlot, plummy and smooth.

- Stag's Hollow 2020 Syrah ($30)

A mesmerizing dark purple colour leads to aromas and flavours violet, blackberry and black pepper.

- Hester Creek The Judge 2019 ($50) from Oliver

The best of the best Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc grapes that Hester Creek harvests goes into this top-tier blend to produce a luscious blackberry, toasted caramel and sagebrush profile.

- Fort Berens 2018 Reserve Cabernet Franc ($40) from Lillooet

Yummy with aromas and flavours of cherry and dark chocolate.

- Fort Berens 2018 Reserve Meritage ($40)

A quintessential Merlot-led Bordeaux-style blend bursting with plum and violet.

Remember any well-made red wine can be enjoyed young for its fruit-forwardness and bright acidity or aged for years to develop additional texture and secondary characteristics.

</who>These three California wines are also ideal for fall. From left, La Crema 2020 Pinot Noir Rose ($30), Murphy-Goode 2019 Chardonnay ($21) and Murphy-Goode Pinot Noir ($29).

California dreamin'

A sip of any of these three California wines is like a little trip to the Golden State.

Although it's fall, it's definitely not too late to drink pink on the patio in the autumn sun.

The 2020 La Crema Pinot Noir Rose ($30) fits the bill with a fresh, light and glamourous profile of sweet ripe raspberry and tart orange peel.

The undisputed champion of California white wines is Chardonnay and the 2019 Murphy-Goode Chardonnay ($21) is a prime example with the right balance of fruit and oak for a drink that's rich and full-bodied and reminiscent of grilled pineapple and crisp apple.

Much of California is too hot to grow finicky Pinot Noir.

However, Murphy-Goode sources the grapes for its 2019 Pinot Noir ($29) from coastal vineyards in Sonoma and Santa Barbara, which are kept cooler by Pacific breezes.

The resulting grapes maintain good acidity and fresh fruit flavours for a Pinot with a plush, cherry-and-vanilla profile.

Steve MacNaull is a NowMedia Group reporter, Okanagan wine lover and Canadian Wine Scholar. Reach him at smacnaull@nowmediagroup.ca. His wine column appears in this space every Friday afternoon.



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