Epoch Wines: Fall Flavors
Epoch’s most exciting season is here—harvest is in full swing, cooler weather is upon us, and autumn-inspired foods are now begging to be cooked! As we transition out of the summer months, we are finding ourselves craving fall flavors and brainstorming how we are going to enjoy our big red wines with them! While summer BBQs and fresh green salads can create pairing challenges, the ease of pairing Epoch wines with fall foods is both refreshing and exciting.
Fall vegetables and flavors are naturally more wine friendly, and you are more inclined to reach for a Paso Robles red wine during this transitional season. The full-bodied flavor profiles of Paderewski Vineyard Syrahs found in Epoch’s Authenticity and Block B are the ideal candidates for a hearty meal. We also reach for our Tempranillos or the fan favorite, Ingenuity, when we begin our process of pairing wines with foods.
Good news! If you LOVE summer wines, you don’t have to say goodbye to them just yet! Fall flavor pairings can totally combine bright summer wines with the heartiness of winter wines, making all wine lovers happy. Let’s start with the perfect transitional wine – our Epoch White Rhône Blend!
Epoch Estate Wines White
2019 White | 47% Grenache Blanc, 42% Viognier, 11% Roussanne
“The 2019 Epoch White is our characteristic combination of Grenache Blanc, Viognier, and Roussanne but with a twist: we have added a new fermentation vessel to the mix for complexity, a French oak Foudre (or more simply called an oak cask). Having been raised in various concrete vessels and oak formats, this wine is mineral-laced with ripe yellow peach, lemon oil, green pear, fresh cream, wet clay, and a hint of brown baking spices. Our white is an ace at pairing with some of the most challenging foods (artichokes and Thai or Mexican dishes) and will not disappoint with a few years of cellar age.” – Jordan Fiorentini
When looking to create a pairing for our Paso Robles White Rhône Blend, it’s important to understand the three varieties that make up this wine: Grenache Blanc, Viognier, and Roussanne. We looked to the experts from Wine Folly and Wine Traveler to dive a littler deeper into pairing foods with each of these varieties:
Grenache Blanc “High on the intensity spectrum, you’ll note that Grenache Blanc will pair with a wide variety of foods from fish dishes to rich meats like lamb. The secret to pairing with Grenache Blanc is to consider its spiced flavors of cumin and tropical “greeness” in your tool kit when pairing with food. This makes Grenache Blanc particularly well suited with richly spiced dishes, whether they be of Moroccan, Spanish, Indian or Asian origin.” – Wine Folly, winefolly.com
Viognier | “The trick to pairing foods with Viognier wine is to fully respect its delicate floral notes and medium acidity. Thus, as a general rule, focus on embellishing and expanding the wine’s core flavors while making sure that the foods you pair with it aren’t too acidic or bold. A great example might be to match a bolder weight Viognier from Paso Robles, CA with chicken tangine with apricots and almonds served over a saffron rice. The aromas in the dish should heighten the fruit flavors and creaminess in the wine.” – Wine Folly, winefolly.com
Roussanne | “That acidity is what makes Roussanne both age-worthy and a very versatile food partner. Although still on the richer side, it can work with a range of seafood, chicken, duck, salmon, and turkey. Roussanne can even work well with pork depending on the preparation. Roasted squash and fall vegetables also work beautifully with Roussanne because they play off the nutty-spicy notes found in the wine.” – Wine Traveler, winetraveler.com
Pairing Epoch’s 2019 White with Fall Flavors
So what does all of this mean? It means that the possibilities for pairings with our 2019 White are endless! May we start by suggesting a fun fall flavor that is usually difficult to pair…California artichokes! While there are more traditional ways to prepare artichokes, we suggest that you get creative with this fall produce. Try artichoke risotto or a hearty artichoke soup. Another great fall flavor to explore with the Epoch White wine is butternut squash! It’s not quite as fall-trendy as its cousin, the pumpkin (hellooo pumpkin spice lattes), but butternut squash has all of the sweet and nutty flavors that you might seek in a fall food pairing with a Paso Robles White Rhône Blend. We suggest whipping us a butternut squash curry – the spiced flavors of curry pair beautifully with Grenache Blanc, the leading lady in this wine. Finally, we recommend pairing our 2019 White wine with pears. While pears are fabulous on their own, there is something to be said about pears thrown on a fresh autumnal salad, featured on a fall charcuterie board, or included in a grilled pear and fig pizza!
Epoch Estate Wines Ingenuity
2015 Ingenuity | 51% Syrah, 28% Mourvèdre, 14 % Petite Sirah, 7% Grenache
“Petite Sirah and Syrah leads this luscious blend of Grenache and Mourvèdre. Though the majority of its fruit comes from both Paderewski and Catapult Vineyards, the Petite Sirah hails solely from one west-facing limestone area on our Paderewski Vineyard. The blend on this wine varies vintage to vintage, but one things holds true: this wine is a fan favorite and a perfect example of a full bodied Paso Robles red wine!” – Jordan Fiorentini
We will be now taking a look at the 2015 Ingenuity. This crowd pleaser presents all its characteristic black and blue fruits, spice, and licorice, but in a more reserved fashion than most vintages. Enjoy the bramble berry, roasted herbs, smoked meats, graphite, wet rock, and sweet tobacco notes that ride high on the palate, continuously evolving. Once again, the best way to navigate the pairing process is by understanding the components of this wine.
Syrah | “With its massive full-bodied taste, Syrah pairs great with bold foods. You can pair Syrah with anything from a blue cheese burger to barbecue, the trick is to bring out the subtle nuances in the wine.” – Wine Folly, winefolly.com
Mourvèdre | “Full-bodied red wines like Mourvèdre beg for rich foods to absorb the high tannin. Look for meats with lots of umami like beef short ribs, pork shoulder, barbecue, lamb, rabbit, pork sausage, and veal. The spices that complement the floral character in Mourvèdre are regional spices found in Provence, France such as lavender, rosemary, and thyme.” – Wine Folly, winefolly.com
Petite Sirah | “Full-bodied red wines like Petite Sirah have high tannin (bitterness and astringency) which means you’ll want to match them up with richer, more fatty foods to create balance. With its smoky fruit flavors, Petite Sirah will pair nicely with bold exotic spices and herbs–just avoid making the dish too sweet.” – Wine Folly, winefolly.com
Grenache | “The spice in Grenache makes it a perfect pairing with spiced and herb-heavy dishes including roasted meats, vegetables, and a variety of ethnic foods. Alcohol is a solvent to capsaicin, which is the heat unit in spicy foods.” – Wine Folly, winefolly.com
Pairing Epoch’s 2015 Ingenuity with Fall Flavors
When it comes to pairing foods with Ingenuity, we consistently gravitate towards a couple of flavors. First off, we love to pair this Paso Robles Rhône red blend with mushrooms. Whether we are serving a mushroom confit on a garlic crostini or a stuffed french onion mushroom, the earthiness of the Petite Sirah in this wine lends itself to a fabulous pairing for a traditional fall mushroom dish. We also tend to pair the Ingenuity with asian spices, so a light bite like marinated Japanese mushrooms would be the perfect complement in spices and flavors for the 2015 Ingenuity! When it comes to pairing wines, generally speaking, the color of the food will be a hint to the types of wines you should pair to it. Lighter colored foods tend to pair better with lighter colored fall produce. The richer the hues and colors of foods, the more you can work up the wine color spectrum. With this idea in mind, darker and deeper reds (a la Paso Robles red blends) will pair well with foods like beets, figs, and pomegranates. While serving beets can be pretty straightforward – whether you serve them roasted or in a harvest salad, with a little ingenuity, you can create a fun holiday dish using this root vegetable and asian spices! We recommend giving Red Beet Char Siu Pork a try and serving it at the dinner table with our 2015 Ingenuity and maybe a side of those marinated mushrooms!
Our final pairing suggestion is a staple in every kitchen: onions! When talking about onions and wine, you have to talk about umami. According to Mark J Attard of medium.com, “Scientific research has revealed that low, slow heating of vegetables, breaks down the long chains of proteins into their constituent amino acids, some of which like glutamic acid are known to give foods a meaty savoury taste called – “umami”. We were all taught that we can perceive four tastes namely salty, sweet, bitter and sour. Now we know there is a fifth taste – umami and like each of the others there are receptors on our tongue dedicated to detecting its presence.” The slow browning of onions breaks down the sugars and amino acids in the protein content of the onion break down in the presence of heat. This leads to the development of umami, which pairs perfectly with Epoch’s full-bodied reds, especially the 2015 Ingenuity!
We would love to hear all about your pairing experiences with these wines, so be sure to tag us in your #epochmoments!