Ottawa, ON

October 7, 2020

Today on CTV Morning Live, CTVs Jasmin Ibrahim and Sommelier Matt Steeves showcased the styles of wines they’re falling for and recommending we check out this Autumn.  Matt’s got some unique wines that are perfectly suited for the season and the meals we’re serving this time of year! 

From bottle-fermented Prosecco to Orange wines, canned wines, including some of his favourite Canadian and Italian wines, Matt’s Autumn-perfect wine list has some great ideas for all to enjoy this fall!

And with Thanksgiving celebrations happening this weekend, these wines are ideally suited to pair with that Turkey, or ham, or Autumn harvest dish so many will be enjoying.

Autumn Wines to Fall For…

With the changing of the seasons, the arrival of Autumn is a great time to fall in love with some new wines, wines that pair beautifully with the richer and heartier meals we’re serving as the temperature dips.

Just as the leaves change this time of year, so do our wardrobes, and the dishes we’re serving. Naturally, the wines we pair with those Autumn dishes also change to ensure we have perfect pairings. Think of it as moving from some of the lighter wines we enjoyed throughout the summer into fuller-bodied styles of wines complement those heartier dishes.

As Autumn arrives and the cooler weather sets-in, we see increasingly fuller-bodied styles of wine preferred in restaurants and wine bars, around dinner tables and backyard camp fires too.

Moving from crisp Pinot Grigio to creamy Chardonnay, or perhaps an organic ‘Orange’ wine, we also see a tendency for more reds, including medium-full bodied Pinot Noir and moving into bigger reds like Italian Valpolicella, Tuscan and Montecucco, as these wines pair beautifully with soups, stews, and roasts.

As we start enjoying richer and heartier dishes, our wines follow suit…richer whites (like Chardonnay) with more body and texture that pair wonderfully with Autumn soups and roasts…wines that are perfect for Thanksgiving meals and all fall and into the winter too.

Matt’s included some delicious Ontario wines, some convenient single-serve wines for extra precaution during the pandemic, and a few of his favourite Italian wines too, each perfectly suited for this season!

Here’s Matt’s list of Autumn-perfect wines.

  1. Casa Belfi Vino Bianco Frizzante (Organic Bottle-Fermented Prosecco) – Italy – $25.95
  2. Jackson-Triggs Entourage Brut Grand Reserve 2016 – Ontario – $29.95
  3. Charles Baker Riesling (in a can!) – Ontario – $6.95/can
  4. WildAss Rosé (in a can!) – Ontario – $6.95/can
  5. The Audacity of Thomas G. Bright ‘Orange’ Wine – Ontario – $16.95
  6. Le Clos Jordanne Le Grand Clos Chardonnay 2017 – Ontario – $44.95
  7. Meiomi Pinot Noir – California – $21.95
  8. Tribulo Montecucco (Tuscan) Sangiovese 2016 – Tuscany Italy – $25
  9. Ribusieri Le Maciole Montecucco Rosso 2016 – Tuscany Italy – $20

The changing of the seasons is a wonderful opportunity to explore some new wines that pair beautifully with seasonal meals.  As food becomes heavier and richer, we’re seeing more braised dishes and savoury sauces.  Likewise, we also see fuller-bodied wines being preferred given their natural pairing characteristics with those Autumn dishes.

From sparkling wines to whites, Orange Wines, Rosés, reds, and even Covid-friendly single serve canned wines, we’ve got some absolutely stunning wines to here today explore.

Every season is perfect for sparkling wine.  Today we’ve got two unique offerings for this season; a gorgeous biodynamic, bottle fermented, Italian Prosecco, and an Ontario traditional method wine, each fantastic to enjoy with Thanksgiving meals, celebrating anything these days as we can all use some something to celebrate these days.

Casa Belfi NV Frizaante Bianco ($25.95), Made in an ancient method called Col Fondo (“with the bottom”) meaning that there is sediment and/or lees present in the bottle, spurring an in-bottle refermentation which adds depth and complexity to the wine. These are old-school Italian Pet Nats, proudly organic and super unique – perfect for that Thanksgiving meal, with appetizers, or enjoying while watching Netflix this fall.  Available here – $25.95

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Jackson-Triggs Entourage Grand Reserve 2016 – Jackson-Triggs’ 2016 Entourage Grand Reserve Brut – A very impressive high quality sparkling wine from this well known Niagara-on-the-Lake winery. At $29.95, Jackson-Triggs’ Entourage Grand Reserve Brut has become a Sommelier favourite with each vintage given its consistent quality yet at a fraction of the price sparkling wines of this caliber often command. The 2016 vintage is the finest I recall tasting – every component of this wine is working in beautiful harmony, from its creamy mousse to the rich stone fruit and marzipan pasty notes, culminating with a long refreshing finish as the endless stream of micro bubbles persists. Enjoy 2020-2025. Tasted June 2020. Highly recommended! 93 points. Matt Steeves

Available at LCBO or Wine Rack stores across Ontario – $29.95

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Next up, if anyone said only quality wines come in bottles, well, these quality canned-wines will show them otherwise. From Niagara’s Stratus winery, we’ve got two Autumn-perfect wines that are conveniently served in a generous single serve format, which are great to enjoy with Autumn meals but also great for Covid-19 precautions as they’re designed for one, no sharing one you open but feel free to share a can with each of your friends so they can enjoy during your physically distanced gatherings.

Charles Baker Riesling (in a can!) – Fresh, delicious 2019 dry Niagara Riesling with low alcohol and high enjoyability. Grab a 24-pack and head alone, or with a friend or two in your bubble, to a picnic, a back deck, a rooftop deck, a beach, the moon, wherever cold lively Riesling is required.  $6.95/250ml single serving or buy by the case – and for speedy professional delivery in Ottawa contact David Foran @ DavidForan@CruWinemerchants.com

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Le Clos Jordanne Le Grand Clos Chardonnay 2017 – The 2017 Le Grand Clos Chardonnay explodes from the glass with ripe tropical fruits, pineapple, baked apple, perfumed spring blossoms, and sweet yet subtle vanilla bean notes.  One taste of this fine wine showcases how rich, complex, and unique it is, and serves as a great reminder for how loved Le Grand Clos was in earlier vintages and how much it’s been missed until now! Full bodied and beautifully textured, with zesty citrus, ripe orchard fruit, creamy butter, and toasty lees persisting on the long finish. A great example of what exceptional terroir and skilled winemaking can achieve when they overlap.  I greet the return of Thomas Bachelder and Le Grand Clos with open arms and thank him, once again, for showing what’s possible here in Ontario.  This is an outstanding expression of Niagara Chardonnay that I’d recommend enjoying over the next decade. A terrific wine to begin a vertical with in anticipation of other great vintages of Le Grand Clos to come.  Tasted November 2019. 94 points. Matt Steeves –  Available at LCBO – $44.95

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The Audacity of Thomas G. Bright Orange Wine – Contact with grape skins during fermentation yields wines that are complex and delightful with food. Experience aromas of rosewater and tangerine zest with added layers of clove and nutmeg. On the palate, the wine is crisp and dry, with flavours echoing the aromas. Serve with cider-glazed ham or seared duck breast. Available at LCBO – $16.95

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WildAss Rosé (in a can) – Raspberries, with hints of strawberry and juicy cranberry, dominate the nose, and a light sense of cedar leaf and dusty limestone that recedes slightly as the wine warms and grows in the glass (or can!).

Seductive raspberry fruit on the barely off-dry palate gives the wine a delicious glossiness and there’s a lovely redcurrant pastille quality that rises on the midpalate and carries through the summery finish. A true crowd pleaser.  $6.95 (250ml can) and for speedy professional delivery in Ottawa contact David Foran @ DavidForan@CruWinemerchants.com

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Meiomi Pinot Noir –  $21.95 – A rich garnet color, the wine reveals lifted fruit aromas of bright strawberry and jammy fruit, mocha, vanilla, and toasty oak. Expressive boysenberry, blackberry, dark cherry, juicy strawberry, and toasty mocha flavors lend complexity and depth on the palate. The well-integrated oak provides structure and depth seldom seen in Pinot Noir. Available at LCBO – $21.95

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Tribulo Montecucco Sangiovese DOCG 2016 – Produced from 100% Sangiovese grapes sourced from Tuscan’s Montecucco DOCG, it shows sweet dried cherry, plum, dark chocolate and fragrant Cypress (balsamic) notes reminiscent of the tall Tuscan Cypress trees that line vineyard roads throughout this beautiful region. Vibrant cherry and sweet herbs, there’s a plushness to this wine, every edge rounded, the fine tannins are well integrated and the fresh acidity makes this well balanced wine wonderful to enjoy with stews, braised dishes, and tomato-based pastas. Enjoy over the next five years. Tasted August 2020. 90 points. Tribulo Montecucco Sangiovese DOCG 2016 – $25

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Ribusieri Le Maciole Montecucco Rosso 2016 – Ribusieri’s Le Maciole is a blend of 80% Sangiovese, 10% Petit Verdot, and 10% Syrah, from their Montecucco DOC vineyards in the shadow of the ancient Mount Amiata volcano. An expressive, refreshing, and pleasantly rustic Tuscan wine showing the complexity of this fine Montecucco Rosso at a great price. Stewed cherry, sweet tobacco and balsamic notes, herbs, espresso, graphite and scorched earth on the nose. Sweet cherry, roasted tomato, and a hint of anise persisting on the finish. Great balance in this Montecucco red with fresh acidity and smooth tannins providing structure and finesse, making this a choice wine to enjoy any day of the week with lunch (BBQ’d burgers, grilled cheese sandwiches), or dinner (spaghetti bolognese, roast lamb with rosemary and garlic, and a must try, Bistecca alla Fiorentina). Enjoy 2020-2026. Tasted July 2020. 90 points. Matt Steeves – http://www.quercusvino.ca

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Here are some great dishes that I’d recommend enjoying this Thanksgiving, along with the wine noted above:

Butternut Squash Soup with Crisp Pancetta | Crisp pancetta adds lovely savory complexity to this autumn soup. Enjoy that beautiful Casa Belfi, JT Entourage Brut 2016, or Grand Clos Chardonnay for an epic pairing with this Autumn favourite soup.

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Creamy Roasted Mushroom and Brie Soup – another delicious and hearty soup to enjoy with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, or a delicious Montecucco red!

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Fall Cheese Platter – makes a great starter while that Turkey is cooking or if you’re not interested in a big Turkey dinner (and the 10 pots and pans that need to be washed after), opt for this convenient, attractive, and fan-favourite meal instead! Try with sparking wine, Orange wine, Pinot or Italian Montecucco for great pairings! 

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Leftover Turkey, perfect!

Consider this mouthwatering salad using leftover turkey. Feel free to add cranberries, walnuts and apples along with any other exotic fruits and creamy cheese.  Pair with a local Ontario Riesling, like Charles Baker (in a can!)!

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Vegan Pot Pie – wrap-up the autumn harvest in some pastry and enjoy this dish with a local Chardonnay or Pinot Noir.

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Bordeaux Style Roasted Leg of Lamb – ideal with Montecucco Rosso, Amarone, or an Okanagan red like Laughing Stock Portfolio, Culmina Cabernet Sauvignon, or Burrowing Owl Athene.

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Here’s wishing you a wonderful, safe and healthy, Thanksgiving. If you’re not able to be with your family, I hope you’re able to connect with them virtually, share a glass or two of these wines with them, and be thankful for all the great things in our lives, each other especially.

Stay safe and stay thirsty my friends!

Cheers,

Matt

Matt Steeves is a Certified Sommelier, Wine Writer, & Director with the National Capital Sommelier Guild – follow Matt on Social Media @Quercusvino or www.quercusvino.ca