Our Wine of the Week, Turning Leaf California Chardonnay (non-vintage, $8) is a great wine to know about, especially in the fall.
The wine is fully dry but its bountiful fruit — especially lychee, mangosteen, peach and pineapple — carries with it both a suggestion of sweetness and of warmth, which in turn is buoyed by threads of oak and a big butterscotch mouthfeel. It's a good wine for cool and even cold nights.
These qualities engage with the foods we enjoy at this time of year. You'll love this bargain quaffer with winter squash in soup, risotto, mild curries and even as a simple side dish. It's excellent with lobster, including California Spiny Lobster, the season for which opens Saturday, and other sweet shellfish.
The wine is a natural with turkey, too, especially with cornbread dressing.
But its best companion may be sweet potatoes. Try it with baked sweet potatoes with butter, sour cream and a bit of paprika; with sweet potato soup; or warm sweet potato salad in a simple vinaigrette — all recipes you'll find at “Eat This Now” at pantry.blogs.pressdemocrat.com.
If you're feeling ambitious, the wine is a spectacular companion to these sweet-potato gnocchi, admittedly a bit labor-intensive but well worth the effort.
Sweet Potato Gnocchi
Makes 6 to 8 servings
2 pounds sweet potatoes, preferably yellow-fleshed
1 pound Russet potatoes
—White pepper in a mill
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
3 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
3 ounces (3/4 cup) grated dry Jack or Asiago cheese
1 pound young spinach leaves
1 garlic clove, pressed
1 teaspoon, plus more to taste, sweet Spanish paprika
3 tablespoons toasted and chopped pecans
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Use a fork or a paring knife to puncture the sweet potatoes and Russet potatoes in several places. Set them on the center rack of the oven and bake until fully tender when pierced with a fork or bamboo skewer; do not undercook them.