Wine for Pumpkin Pie
Fall has fully arrived, the air is crisp, and the fiery leaves are crunching beneath my feet. All I can think about when fall comes around is pumpkin. I want to light pumpkin candles and use pumpkin face masks and eat lots of pumpkin pie. Is there anything more fall than pumpkin pie? There’s a wine for that.
2001 Isole e Olena Vin Santo del Chianti Classico
Ok, that’s a long name so let me break it down for you. This is a type of dessert wine from Italy called Vin Santo. Vin Santo translates into “Holy Wine” and drinking it is definitely a spiritual experience. It’s made out of white grapes, in this case a blend of two thirds Malvasia and one third Trebbiano. This particular wine is made in Tuscany by Paolo de Marchi, considered one of Italy’s premier winemakers.
Making Vin Santo is a difficult endeavor that requires patience. The grapes are carefully selected and harvested early to retain acidity. Then they are spread out, usually on straw mats, and allowed to dry until they become raisins. Afterward the grapes are pressed and then placed in small cigar shaped barrels called Caratelli to ferment and to age. The minimum requirement for aging in barrel is 3 years, but this wine is left in the barrel for 6 years which allows it to develop luscious nutty flavors and a deep amber hue. Even its color matches pumpkin pie!
At the wine store where I work, we taste through lots of wine everyday from reps. Usually we taste a little and the rep takes back the bottle. This wine was so good we kept the bottle with us to finish in the back. Life is tough.
So how does it taste? It exudes wonderful honey notes, ripe apricot, and sweet spices that complement pumpkin pie like cinnamon and clove. You can feel a balancing acidity on the inside of your cheeks. The finish is haunting…it goes on and on. You won’t forget it. The wine’s sweetness level matches that of the pie, a key factor in pairing wine with dessert.
So indulge your fall instincts. Pull out your warm jacket, jump into a pile of leaves, eat that pumpkin pie – just don’t forget to pair it with this Vin Santo. Also, I recommend drinking the wine BEFORE jumping into a pile of leaves, especially if it’s cold outside. Just a wino tip.