Round Up: Don’t Drink Pumpkin Spice, Drink Spicy Wine

People are lining up to buy pumpkin foods and pumpkin spice drinks, the stores are selling spooky Halloween decorations and candy, and home stores have changed their displays from grills and gardening tools to rakes and snowblowers. And it’s still August. Yup, we’ve still got two full days of August left.

Personally, I love the transition to Fall. And I’ll be the first to admit that I get a Pumpkin Spice Latte every year in celebration. I love watching football, picking out pumpkins, and seeing the world change from greens to golds.

This year, instead of Pumpkin Spice Latte, let’s start the trend of drinking spicy wine from the Finger Lakes!


Spicy? What does that mean?

How am I defining spicy? I’m not talking about adding jalapeño to wine (though I do know of a Michigan winery that was doing that… if you’re interested). I’m thinking wines with a spiced component. This to me includes three categories: pepper like spices, baking spices, and punchy herbaceous notes.

Peppery Wines

Wines like Syrah, Gamay Noir, Cabernet Franc and Lemberger (a.k.a. Blaufränkisch) can have notes of black or white pepper (white pepper is similar to black pepper, but often a little more subtle and earthy). Sometimes, in the right vintage with the right age, these can be so pungent it’s like someone dumped pepper into the wine. I’d suggest trying:

Billsboro Winery 2016 Syrah

Damiani Wine Cellars 2016 Sunrise Hill Lemberger

Keuka Lake 2016 Cabernet Franc

Ravines Wine Cellars 2016 Cabernet Franc Magdalena Vineyard

Dr. Konstantin Frank 2016 Grüner Veltliner

Baking Spice Wines

Baking spice as defined by the wine community usually include things like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and allspice. When found in a Chardonnay, it can have a smell reminiscent of homemade apple pie (think apple, cinnamon and nutmeg), and in red wines can remind you of the holiday season (think spicy clove). Some of my favorites of this year include:

Hickory Hollow 2016 Chardonnay

Red Tail Ridge Winery 2016 Barrel Fermented Chardonnay

Hector Wine Company 2015 Essence

Barry Family Cellars 2016 Cabernet Franc

Herbaceous Wines

Sometimes when we want spice, what we’re really looking for is herbs. If you’re not so keen on the two previous categories, and still looking for something a little ‘fresher’ (I mean, it is still August), check these out! These are what we might call transitional wines as you make that change from Summer to Fall.

Billsboro Winery 2017 Sauvignon Blanc

Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards 2014 Grüner Veltliner

Shaw Vineyards 2014 Unoaked Cabernet Franc 

Your Turn!

What’s your favorite Fall wine? Maybe a bold Rosé or an oaky white blend? Or are you digging one type of wine regardless? Share the wine that get’s you into the Fall season!

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