Commentary by Elizabeth Morse
There’s finally a little chill in the air, which means we can think about leaving summer wines behind. Now’s the perfect time to try some bust reds. You know, the kind that will put a little pink in your cheeks. Some of my fall favorites are jammy, brambly and even prunish sorts like Zinfandel, Syrah and Cabernet Franc (holla!). Most folks have tried the first two, but the latter? If you haven’t taken the plunge with Cab Franc, you should.
An all-time favorite is a Sonoma producer with a cult-following and an artistic touch with (Red) Zinfandel. You can’t make a poor choice with RIDGE Wines, but the 2015 Lytton Springs is an excellent option. Technically, the 2015 isn’t Zinfandel because it is blended with 16 percent Petite Sirah and small amounts of lesser-known varietals: Carignane and Mourvedre. This wine is full of the aforementioned bramble flavors (raspberry and blackberry), smoky oak and the expected peppery finish. Great with barbecue or brownies, $38ish.
France’s Rhône is on point when you are looking for affordable and affable Syrah (Shiraz in other parts of the world). Right now, I’m digging Chateau de Nages Joseph Torres Rouge. A bit more budget-driven than the RIDGE, this one’s about $25 and is intense. You remember the little candies you tried in French class as a child? The ones that came in a pretty tin? They tasted like violets and smelled amazing? That’s what’s going on here, elegant and feminine but in a big way.
Grand Finale: Robert Sinskey Vandal Vineyard Cabernet Franc, 2013. This has all of my favorite flavors in one very balanced bottle. Berries, chocolate, green olive, lavender and a big bunch of leather up the back. A tiny bit spendy at $50 and worth every penny.
Elizabeth Morse owned the Corner Wine Bar in Broad Ripple for nearly 20 years. She is a graduate of IU, a Hoosier chef, food writer, wine guru and Hamilton County Master Gardener who believes in supporting all things local. Morse has been a resident of Hamilton County for more than a decade. Check out her blog: schlepicurean.com.