The sunlight had a distinctly more golden cast in the Bay Area this weekend — a signal fall had officially arrived. Everywhere freshly picked apples, peppers, and pumpkins filled produce stands — especially in Half Moon Bay where autumn splendor was already in high gear, complete with hay mazes, haunted houses and even a Minotaur.
As menus, too, start to fill with fall flavors, we thought we'd highlight a few of our favorite wines for this time of year — wines that retain a certain summery brightness, but easily stand up to the heartier flavors of fall.
- 2010 J Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley. With its gorgeous, ruby hue, our 2010 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir has a lot of vibrancy on the palate, but also a polished, autumnal complexity. Bright cherry aromas fill the glass, followed by September-friendly notes of toasted nutmeg and black clove — with just a hint of smoke to presage October. Pairs beautifully with grilled Portobello, country ham, and duck confit.
- 2010 J Chardonnay, Jewell Ranch Vineyard. Mineral and lemon zest flavors contain something of summertime but, the distinct spiciness of the Jewell Ranch Chard is what makes it pop so perfectly during the early days of fall. Balanced pear, vanilla, and butterscotch flavors, too, seem to usher in the new season with elegance. This wine pairs well with warm autumn salads, grilled salmon, and smoky chicken tacos.
- J Cuvee 20 Brut NV. The fall equinox is when light and dark are in perfect balance, as are the the ripe apricot and crushed hazelnut aromas of our J Cuvee 20 Brut NV. Initial bright citrus flavors give way to a long finish of Fuji apples and Bartlett pears -- mirroring summer's graceful abdication to fall. "Hits all the right notes," says the Wall Street Journal.