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The Pumpkin Spice Latte of Wines

The days are shortening, leaves are changing, and temperatures are starting to mellow out—the true signal of Autumn’s arrival. But in case you have't been outside in awhile, there's another indicator of the Fall season in your daily feed—Starbuck's Pumpkin Spice Latte... or "PSL" as the cool kids call it.

Introduced by Starbucks in 2003 (shit we're old), this seasonal coffee drink has become a cult favorite and continues to drive foot traffic every year. Despite its 'basic' association, Millennial and Gen-Zer's are obsessed with Instagramming the PSL. Perhaps the warm flavors of cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove can help soothe our cold souls. But first coffee? More like... At last wine.

This week, we avoided the latte calories and went straight for the spicy sauce—all under $20. Some grape varieties have natural spice flavors like pepper, anise and ginger, while others retain warm baking spice notes from yeasts or oak. So put down those foamy milk drinks, and make way for some of our favorite spiced-up values. Here are 6 Spicy Wines (Under $20) To Replace Your Starbucks PSL.

WHAT WE'RE DRINKING
      01 
2020 Lurra Garnacha
Grenache from Navarra, Spain 🇪🇸
$7.95

This is one of the best under-$10 wines you will ever have—there, we said it. Hailing from Spain’s Basque country, this friendly 100% Garnacha is your new weeknight go-to. It sees no oak, and is bright, fruit-forward, and fresh. The juicy palate boasts notes of strawberry, raspberry, cherry, white pepper, earth, and allspice. Some wines are considered easy-drinking. This one is like 'tap to pay'... No receipt needed.

    www.empirewine.com
      02 
2020 El Porvenir Amauta Absoluto Torrontés
Torrontés from Salta, Argentina 🇦🇷
$10.99

This spicy, youthful Torrontés from high-elevation vineyards in Argentina’s Calchaqui Valley is both vibrant and reserved—a balance that’s like walking a tightrope. The grapes were sustainably farmed from a single vineyard at nearly 6,000 feet, hand harvested, and produced in all stainless steel with 45 days of lees contact. While it does have intense floral aromas and flavors of white blossoms, lime, and melon, it's the sneaky backbone of acidity with a light and spicy finish of white pepper, ginger, lavender, and salinity that sends signals. 

     www.winelibrary.com
      03 
Maison Noir Horseshoes & Handgrenades NV
Red Blend from Willamette Valley, Oregon 🇺🇸
$14.99

Indicated by the name, this red blend from winemaker Andre Mack is big, bad and bold. It ages 18 months in American oak, which lends texture and spice. Full-bodied with explosive flavors and firm structure, you get all the jammy blackberry, blueberry, and plum components mixed with vanilla, clove, allspice, pepper, cinnamon and leather.  A hint of green pepper balances the richness on the close. Makes you feel like you’re enjoying a heaping slice of blueberry pie with vanilla ice cream. Yeaaa.

     www.winelibrary.com
      04 
2014 Jelu Estate Syrah
Syrah from San Juan, Argentina 🇦🇷
$12.99

Meaning “sun,” Jelu plants its grapes at high altitudes so they retain freshness while also receiving maximum sun exposure and ripening. Organic, biodynamic, and fully hand harvested, this red is medium-bodied and soft with bright acidity and velvety tannins. Ripe blackberry, blueberry and cherry set the stage for the intense punch of Syrah’s natural black pepper spice. It’s fermented in used oak, which also provides subtle smoke and tobacco notes on the finish. Someone fire up the grill for BBQ chicken or pork chops and you’ll be in heaven.

     www.astorwines.com
      05 
2018 Forstreiter Grüner Veltliner Schiefer
Grüner Veltliner from Kremstal, Austria 🇦🇹
$17.99

The Grüner grape is known for its white peppery zip typically noted on the finish, but that’s not all you’ll find here. This textural beauty’s got minerality, flint, citrus and stone fruits, sage and perhaps even a touch of jasmine kissed with that signature white pepper. As for your pairings, what grows together, goes together so dive into your sausages and Wiener Schnitzel, or some tasty kohlrouladen. Trust us, and you’re welcome.

   www.saratogawine.com
      06 
2019 Nicolas Réau "Ange" Anjou Rouge
Red Blend from Loire, France 🇫🇷
$16.99

Labeled the “Vincent Van Gogh” of natural wine, Nicolas Réau makes complex, delicious wines that are deeply expressive of terroir. Cabernet Franc’s natural spicy herbaceousness shines through, with fresh cut jalapeno and green pepper on the nose. But it's that very first sip of black cherry, red currant and raspberry, followed by pronounced black pepper, green pepper, tomato leaf, fresh mint, peppery arugula and star anise. Sounds like a kick-ass salad, right? The wine is fermented with indigenous yeast and is unfiltered, contributing those funky barnyard and earthy notes typical of natural wine. This is lively, interesting stuff.

        www.binnys.com
WHAT WE'RE READING

FOODBEAST
NEW NAPA WINERY LAUNCHES BUBBLY ROSÉ IN PENIS-SHAPED BOTTLES

 


WALL STREET JOURNAL
THE BEST AND WORST OF WINE ON TV, FROM 'FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS' TO 'EMILY IN PARIS'

 


NBC SPORTS
PORTLAND TRAILBLAZERS CJ MCCOLLUM PURCHASES AN OREGON WINERY

 


DAILY MAIL
ED SHEERAN CLUTCHES A £2,600 BOTTLE OF WINE LEAVING SCOOTER BRAUN'S NYC PARTY

 


THE VALUE
SECOND-HIGHEST SINGLE OWNER WINE COLLECTION ESTIMATED AT $11.4 MILLION

 


THRILLIST
COSTCO'S WINE ADVENT CALENDARS ARE BACK TO GET YOU THROUGH THE HOLIDAYS

THIS WEEK'S CONTRIBUTORS
     
                                                              Madison Varunok        Kristy Wenz
IF YOU DON'T KNOW, NOW YOU KNOW


A wine’s aromas come from the grapes, fermentation, maturation, and a host of other sources related to reactions of certain acids and alcohols. In other words, no, the winemaker didn’t add a drop of vanilla or fruit extract to the wine. This stuff is all natural. Some aromas develop in the grapes themselves like pyrazines (grassy, green bell pepper aromas) and rotundone (black and white pepper aromas). Others can be found in grape must which then becomes aromatic during fermentation. Here you’ll find both thiols and terpenes, which can release tree, fruit and floral aromas in a wine
That's a spicy-a Meatball

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