In the splendor of these glorious chilly evenings, I have come to realize that I do not follow societal rules very well. I wear white after Labor Day; I am nearing 40 and still skip at times; I prefer to eat with my hands, and I pair white wine with fatty red meat. I also believe that one does not have to ditch their favorite summer varietals once the temperature drops.
I like to seek out wines with earthy attributes leaning more masculine in body. Pinot noirs of structured tannins, high-pitched acid, and brooding mid-palates of dark fruit, damp wood, wet forest floor, and animal. Sauvignon blancs with some variation of skin contact, derived from a unique terroir, and a lengthy time on lees to offer up structured, opulent white wines rich of aged fruit, mineral, and funk.
In such weather, I tend to direct clients toward sauvignon blancs coming from the estate of Didier Dagueneau in Pouilly-Fumé, France, preferably the bottling called Pur Sang. They’re breathtaking wines still aged in the infamous cigar-shaped barrels that are now made by his son Benjamin after Dagueneau’s premature death. I recently stumbled upon a seriously funky and mature sauvignon blanc that moves like oil in the glass by La Pelle Winery in Napa Valley, California. For those brooding masculine Pinot noirs of earth and animal, I recommend Gros Ventre’s Campbell Ranch from Sonoma and Lingua Franca’s The Plow from Oregon. If you feel like breaking a couple societal norms, these wines can be found at various locations locally.
Lelañea Fulton has worked as a sommelier for reputable New York City-based restaurants including Megu and Harry’s at Hanover, and curated wine lists for The Rosy Oyster in Los Angeles and Dirty French in NYC. She also operates The Loving Somm, a website that allows her to lend her expertise to a wider clientele. Visit thelovingsomm.com to learn more.