- Dave McIntyre The Washington Post
If the cool autumn air has you thinking of hearty stews, here are some wines to match: a lush syrah and a viognier from France's Rhone Valley, or an earthy Spanish red. And for a fun contrast, compare two styles of pinot gris: a lush version from Austria and a vibrant, fruity example from New Zealand.
Rhone Valley, France, $21
Ripe, with sweet red and black fruit flavors, this lovely syrah should pair well with grilled meats, stews and even spicy dishes. Give it about 30 minutes to open up and show its flavors. Alcohol by volume: 12.5 percent.
Marlborough, New Zealand, $20
This is an electrifying pinot gris, combining the freshness and acidity of a good Italian pinot grigio from the Alto Adige with the ripe, fruity flavors the grape can achieve in Alsace. Alcohol by volume: 13.5 percent.
Rhone Valley, France, $24
With flavors of jasmine and honeysuckle, pear and quince, and an appealing richness that can match hearty dishes, This shows viognier at its best. ABV: 12.5 percent.
Meinklang, in Austria's Burgenland region, is a Demeter-certified biodynamic winery and a consistent producer of energetic, high-quality wines. The Graupert pinot gris starts out rich and ripe on first impression, with pear and apple flavors. But with a little air it brightens to show berries and flowers, plus a lovely length and complexity. ABV: 12.5 percent.
This is a savory, earthy red, with surprising complexity for a wine this inexpensive. Mencia resembles cabernet franc in flavor, so fans of Loire Valley reds or Virginia wines should enjoy this. ABV: 14 percent.
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Three stars exceptional, two stars excellent, one star very good
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Prices are approximate. Check Winesearcher.com to verify availability, or ask a favorite wine store to order through a distributor.