Wine Guy: Invigorating and comforting reds — without the brooding

It’s not all about brooding Cabernet Sauvignon and heady Syrah just yet. Here are three robust yet still invigorating reds.

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Admittedly, just the other week we were celebrating autumn-appropriate white wines. But then the first cold front of the year passed through, and the Pavlovian response kicked in.

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That first sign of cold temperatures immediately had me reaching for a comforting red wine. However, in the hopes that some fall sunshine remains in the forecast it’s not all about brooding Cabernet Sauvignon and heady Syrah just yet. Here are three robust yet still invigorating reds ready to both comfort and titillate the tastebuds.

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Wine Guy

Poggio al Tufo 2019 Rompicollo, Italy

($26.99, #780585)

Full disclosure, there is some Cabernet Sauvignon in this gutsy red — 40 per cent to be precise. But it’s the Sangiovese that sings in this Tuscan blend. Full on cherry, blackberry, and earthy aromas abound, with a juicy and fruity entry complemented by savoury tones. The Cab Sauv provides a stoic background, a foundation for the toasty oak to build upon before a dry, balanced and slightly gritty finish. This is a stalwart red ready to see you through windstorms and pending frost, ideally with a nice roast on the table — be it beef, pork, or nut-based.

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Bottom line: B “Kisses the tastebuds”

Wine Guy

La Pépière La Pépiè 2022 Cabernet Franc Merlot, France

(from $28.50, available at select private wine stores)

Sometimes a metaphorical punch to the palate is the right way to awaken the tastebuds. Enter La Pépiè’s new Cabernet Franc, which for the 2022 vintage features a robust 30 per cent Merlot in the mix. Made following organic grape-growing principles, this is the sort of red capable of perking up and comforting the palate. It’s quite aromatic, wafting a melange of red and dark fruit, violet, and herbs, leading to a juicy and vibrant mid-palate before a lingering fruity finish with a lick of spice. This is an easy food pairing partner: bring on the takeout Thai, fried chicken, or pizza.

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Bottom line: B+, Vibrant red wine all around

Wine Guy

Stoneboat Vineyards 2020 Pinot Noir, B.C.

($32, available at select private wine stores and through the winery)

Pinot Noir is a quintessential fall red wine, able to entice seasonal change through its leaf pile aromatics while providing enough heft to warm the cockles. Fortunately, there are numerous local Pinot Noir exemplars, including Stoneboat’s most recent release. This engaging red provides a true local expression of Pinot Noir, from its bright red fruit and floral aromas to its engaging freshness and acidity complemented by toasty oak and savoury tones. While it’s enough to pair this thoughtful red with a roaring fire, it’d be right to think about pairing with roast chicken or roasted mushrooms. 

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Bottom line: A-, Wine cashmere

The Swirl:  Fruit Forward Pottery Painting & Wine Night

The 2nd edition of Fruit Forward’s Queer Wine Social Pottery Painting and Wine Tasting is set to take place from 5-8 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 5 at Bahoo Studios, 256 East Georgia St., Vancouver. Participants are asked to come sip, savour, and embrace their artistic side with a glass of wine in hand. Tickets are $50 (plus fees) and include a welcome glass of bubbly along with a handmade ceramic wine tumbler to paint during the course of the evening. Details here.

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