Simple food, present mind, and passionate heart

Simple food, present mind, and passionate heart

Tips to easily find season friendly wine and my favorite fall to winter pairings and recipes

Tips to easily find season friendly wine and my favorite fall to winter pairings and recipes

Fall seems to have left us pretty quickly here in MN. In my mind, as soon as the first snow flies, it’s time to start feeling all the Christmas joy. Since we’ve officially had our first snow, I figured it’s a good time to share some of my favorite pairings so far before I gear up for all the Thanksgiving and Christmas foods and wines. I’ve also included some key tasting notes you might find on the back of a bottle, that will help you match the wine you chose to the season we are in. Let me know what you think!!

The charity and wine I would like to highlight today is the Prevent Cancer Foundation that the Shiraz gives back to. Every bottle helps provide a prostate cancer screening to those in need. 99% of men with the most common types of prostate cancer will survive more than 5 years with early diagnosis. The foundations’ vision is to “stop cancer before it starts” for lives across all populations by prevention and early diagnosis. This is a cause that is near and dear to so many hearts and the good news is, the Shiraz that gives back is super yummy and perfect for the giving season and all that winter brings. It has a medium body with a slight sweetness from the berry notes. It’s not too sweet of course, the pepper and what they call “inky” flavors make sure of that. It’s perfect to sip alone in front of the fire or try the ricotta toast below. Bon Appétit!

There are a million reasons to pick a wine but to keep it simple and make looking quick, here are somey key notes to look for while shopping that will simplify your experience and still get you closer than picking the best looking bottle. 🙂 We’ve all done it!

What to look for on the back of the bottle to find the perfect fall/winter wine:

  • Berries that fit the season: blueberry, cherry, blackberry, or whatever your favorite may be.
  • Apple or pear
  • Spice – Pepper or cinnamon are two of my season favorites
  • Vanilla or Caramel
  • Medium body or more to stand up to that cold chill
  • Sparkling is appropriate for every season or occasion

Favorite Recipes and Pairings:

  • Pumpkin Chili – I’ll leave the recipe below but if you have never tried this you must. It is NOT what you think. It’s also a two step, sauté onions to crockpot and sit kinda meal. Easy for those days that you just don’t feel like cooking. I made this and loved it before Pumpkin was ever something I enjoyed. It’s subtle and spicy too. Perfect for a football game and pairs so beautifully with our ONEHOPE Wine Gwertztraminer. I’ve never been a huge fan of sweet wines, but this one is an exception as long as I pair it right to kill some of the sweetness. This chili brings out all the spice in the wine and the wine brings out a bit of the sweet in the chili. They balance each other out perfectly, and you HAVE to try it!

  • Heirloom Tomato Tart – This sounds fancy but it’s not. It’s simple ingredients and minimal steps plus the ricotta is loaded with protein so you get everything you need in this basic dish. You can find the recipe here: in the book Forest Feast Gatherings. The most amazing cookbook, designed for entertaining simple vegetarian style. I paired this with an Un Oaked Chardonnay, Avant by Kendall Jackson. It’s under 20 dollars and you can get it at Haskell’s or Target stores. The wine is reminiscent of a Sauvignon Blanc but the flavors are better suited for a fall spread or bite. That’s why I chose this wine and food pairing, you can expect a light fare from this meal and wine combination.
  • Ricotta Toast – This is my new fan favorite, that I happened upon by accident since I can’t stand waste. Especially waste that involves animal products. In order to make the tart, I could only find a huge tub of ricotta. I found different ways to use it, and pair it so I didn’t have to throw it away. I have lots of options shared in stories on Instagram, this is a very kid friendly ingredient but my favorite take away was a baguette, ricotta, and lemon olive oil paired with our ONEHOPE Wine Longhorn Shiraz. The last impression you get is lingering notes of a blueberry muffin. The two together is so beautiful and if you are looking for a simple but filling snack, this is something to reach for. It’s quick and satisfying.
Ricotta, baguette, and honey – The littles love it!!!
  • Fall Harvest Sweet Potato – This recipe was amazing and a great way to switch up my usual sweet potato and Brussels sprout addiction. You can find the recipe for this one here: . I paired this with our ONEHOPE Wine 10 Year anniversary Cab. There were a lot of flavors going on with the stuffed potato but the Cab held strong. The cranberries brought out the sweet in the wine and the pepper on the potato brought out the pepper in the wine. It was a beautiful combination.

Just remember, for those of us who are not wine experts or looking to be one, keep the pairing simple! If you like the two flavors together, then it works. There are a few cardinal rules like spice and tannins do NOT go together but there’s not many hard fast rules like that. Ask if you don’t know, I’m here to help!

Tip to tasting: Try the wine with a clean palate. Next try the food. Now go back to the wine, and decide how it changed. Do this a few times before you decide if you like the pairing or not. You’ll be surprised, lots of things will grow on you!!!!

Vegetarian Pumpkin Chili
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
An easy but filling dinner that’s full of flavor, protein, and spice!
Recipe type: Crockpot
Cuisine: Lunch; dinner
Serves: 18 servings
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¾ large white onion
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 1 orange pepper
  • 1 large jalapeño
  • 1 tablespoon of minced garlic
  • ½ teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1.5 tablespoon of chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin
  • 1 15 oz can of pumpkin purée
  • 1 15 oz can of fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 4.5 oz can of diced green chilis - drain half of juice or more to kill the spice
  • 1 15 oz can of black beans - drained
  • 1 15 oz can of red kidney beans - drained
  • 1 15 oz can of white kidney beans - drained
  • 2 cups of vegetable broth
  • Cheese and Sour cream optional for topping
  1. Sauté onion, minced garlic, yellow pepper, and orange pepper in olive oil until onion becomes translucent
  2. Add to crockpot with all other ingredients on high for 3 - 4 hours or until heated through
  3. Top with cheese, sour cream, and fresh jalapeño - optional



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