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Perfect pairings for Fall flavours

Fall is in the air.

Fall colours - Benvenuti vineyards, Istria
Fall colours - Benvenuti vineyards, Istria

In Croatia this is an exciting time of year. It is the time for harvest with vineyards and olive groves abuzz with activity, with family and friends pitching in to gather the fruits for the upcoming vintage. In the region of Istria, the Fall is also synonymous with white truffle season. Walk into any traditional restaurant in one of Istria's medieval hilltop villages, and you will be welcomed with the captivating aroma of generously shaven white truffles. For gourmets, there is no better time to visit...

In Canada, Fall tends to represent a fairly distinct change in the seasons. With chilly nights well and truly with us, it's a time to make the most of any late season patio weather, embrace those cozy sweaters, get out and marvel at the fall colours, and welcome the tastes and aromas of fall flavours into our homes.

For many, a change of the seasons brings with it a change in go-to wines. Whites and rosés often are put aside to gather dust until the dawn of a new spring, with reds suddenly finding themselves back in the spotlight. Although a fireside glass of red wine is always difficult to beat, I am a believer that select whites and rosés are very much deserving of a four season seat at the table, and that orange wines in particular, can really shine when the days get cooler and the flavours on your plate get warmer and spicier.

With Thanksgiving fast approaching, and with our mouths starting to water at the thought of the pending family feast, we have pulled together some of our favourite Thanksgiving and Fall recipes from two of Canada’s most treasured chefs, and shared our thoughts on how to best pair these delicious dishes with wonderful wines...

Spice it up...

As the temperature outside goes down, we love to see the heat rising in the kitchen! Fall tends to scream out for a little extra heat and spice!

We love this curried squash soup recipe from Ricardo Cuisine, which comes with a healthy dose of curry and chili peppers.

Orange wines and spicy foods are perfect partners in crime. The skin-contact in the production process adds complexity and depth to these wines, and positions them really well to stand up to the kick of your favourite spice.

Our pick for this pairing:

Warm the cockles of your heart...

You don't always need hot spice to warm you up! Fall is the perfect time of year to stock up on great local farm produce and fill your kitchen with the flavours of hearty, fresh, locally sourced ingredients.

With root vegetables entering the spotlight, there are a wealth of highly nutritious and tasty ways to kick off your Thanksgiving meal. It is difficult to beat the warm, flavourful farm-to-table Sweet Potato, Pear and Sage soup recipe from Irene Matys. Dishes such as this one call out for a round, juicy white wine with presence, along with great acidity to refresh the palate.

Our pick for this pairing:

Earthy treasures...

Being an old world wine lover, the arrival of Fall is a magical time for me, as earthy flavours abound in the kitchen, and the pairing options with terroir driven red wines is better than ever.

This mushroom and pork stuffed turkey from Ricardo Cuisine, delivers in spades all those delicious, earthy flavours, and makes an impressive centrepiece for your Thanksgiving feast!

North Italian style reds, such as Teran - medium bodied, robust and spicy - make a perfect pairing for such a dish.

Our pick for this pairing:

For red meat lovers, fall flavours can truly enhance your favourite roasts. After all, who doesn't love a touch of pumpkin spice and roasted beets!

Ricardo's Fall twist on a traditional Roast Beef offers a great alternative for your Thanksgiving dinner. The blend of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves is a great way to spice things up and create a dish bursting with autumnal energy!

Consider pairing this with a fruity, medium bodied red, with earthy and spicy notes - a wine that will complement both the flavourful meat and the beet chorizo side.

Our pick for this pairing:

There are so many wonderful side options to accompany your Thanksgiving feast, or as a feast in their own right. Fresh, locally sourced vegetables form the basis of these and many other great recipes. Here's a few options to tempt you, thanks again to Ricardo Cuisine (Brussels Sprouts with pancetta & hazelnuts (left) and Roasted Squash with parmesan (right)).

Hopefully your tastebuds are tempted, and that this gives you more than a little food for thought, in advance of the long weekend and the season ahead of us!

All you need now, is a little glass of sparkle to start the party, and you may want to stock up on an Amaro or digestif to help your body manage any Thanksgiving weekend excesses!

Buon appetito and živjeli!

All recommended wines are available by the bottle at and by the case (of 6 bottles) from our web shop. If you'd like to sample our complete selection of pairing recommendations, you are in luck! Our Happy Thanksgiving mixed case is now available.

* All Recipe and Photo Credits - Ricardo Cuisine and Irene Matys.

** As a sign of our thank to all our subscribers, we are offering Free Shipping on orders of over $250 before end of day October 5th. For remote areas, we recommend ordering by end of day October 3rd, to ensure delivery for the long weekend.

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