We have reached peak November in Kansas City meaning the leaves are all red, orange and yellow, it’s getting dark before 5:00 p.m. and I’ve transitioned into wearing nothing but cozy sweaters and clogs (with socks). It’s usually around this time of year that I dive head first into bottles of Zinfandel and Syrah like nobody's business because to me, a good Zin or Syrah tastes like the wine equivalent of a cozy sweater. However, I’ve been sticking to the lighter bodied reds for the most part, which has been surprising especially to me.
Last Thursday I went to a Spanish natty wine tasting at Underdog where they were pouring wines from importer, Jose Pastor. The way that Jose Pastor was first described to me was that he is the Jenny and Francois of Spain. How could you go wrong with a description like that? The wines were absolutely incredible. I’ve had a few Jose Pastor Selections bottles (I wrote about the orange one here) but I’d been aching to try more. I ended up purchasing three bottles from JP, one of which I knew I had to review. It is the Vidueño de Santiago del Teide by Chingao & Envínate. An interesting fact about this wine is that it is made with 50% white grapes and 50% red. Santiago del Teide is a small town situated on Tenerife, Canary Islands with super volcanic soil. Google it, it looks amazing.
The first thing you notice about this wine is the aroma. It is super funky to say the least and almost has a barnyard quality to it. Interestingly enough, this doesn’t translate to the palate where it is super herbal and floral-- the qualities of the Listan Blanco (the white grape) shine through though it still has some body from the Listan Prieto (the red grape). I decided to chill this, since I wasn’t really sure what else to do with a wine that is half white. It ended up being a good idea although I may have overchilled it. This has been sitting in my fridge for like 5 days and I should have let it chill (ha, but not literally) on the counter for a bit before I opened it. Oh well.
So what do I do when the season hits peak November? I’m glad you asked. I basically hibernate as much as possible, only leaving the house for essential things like work and Target runs. I also make a lot of comfort food. It was suggested that you pair this wine with roasted meat or a full flavored seafood dish and I am doing neither. I am actually pairing this with the most comforting of comfort foods, hotdish. Do you know what hotdish is? I had only heard of it in passing until I started religiously reading Molly Yeh’s food blog www.mynameisyeh.com. She is a North Dakota transplant who cooks dishes that fuse her Jewish, Chinese and now upper Midwest roots.I made her famous Chicken Pot Tater Tot hotdish from her cookbook, Molly on the Range (but you can also find it here). Oddly enough, the wine works with this dish.The hotdish is so rich that you need some acidity from the wine to cut through the creaminess of it.I never really thought of pairing a funky light-bodied wine like this with a casserole until I happened to have both on hand and it worked.
Well, it’s almost 5:00 and basically dark so I’m probably going to curl up in a blanket and watch bad TV (I’ve been rewatching The City, which is the spinoff of The Hills and it’ pretty entertaining). I hope that wherever you are, you are enjoying this season, eating good food and most importantly, drinking good wine.