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Jim Beauregard's Tasting Notes: A fall toast tastes of apples and pumpkins pumpk=kinsgourds


So as I was saying, apple season is upon us and with it comes many choices; there's apple juice, apple cider, apple wines, and, for our purposes today, hard cider.

Angry Orchard has been busy at work giving us some new flavors for autumn. Let's take a look at them today:

Angry Orchard Hard Cider, Cinnful Apple: Apple-juicy in color with a rich apple nose. Give it about 30 seconds and the spice starts coming through — cinnamon mixing with the apple and staying in the forefront. The palate is rich, mildly sweet, with good acidity. The flavor profile follows the nose with an apple base and cinnamon on top. Zesty.

Angry Orchard Hard Cider, Green Apple: Yes, it moves from the red-apple flavors of the Cinnful Apple above to a green-apple nose. You know when you bite into a really juicy apple, and the juice gathers under your tongue, exploding with flavor? That's what you find here. You can taste the apple, and the apple peel. Perhaps the most flavorful hard cider I've had to date.

Angry Orchard Hard Cider Apple Ginger: The color here turns more toward the amber of a dark apple juice. And gingery it is. It comes through very strongly on the nose. It's also is reflected on the palate; the ginger is very strong, and it's not until well along in the finish that the apple emerges. Strong, intense, makes one stand up and take notice.

All three are labeled as naturally gluten free with 5% alcohol by volume.

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Now, October is about apples, but it's also about pumpkins. Linus is about to go out in search of the most sincere pumpkin patch, and Red Hook Brewery rises to the occasion with "Out of Your Gourd Pumpkin Porter."

They call it a dark ale brewed with pumpkin, spices and maple syrup. It flows out of the glass slowly, the way a good Porter should, dark brown, close to black in color with a dark can head, thick and frothy. The nose is a fascinating combination of malt and pumpkin, with bread, chocolate, coffee, and roasted notes mixing with pumpkin spice. The palate is actually fairly dry, with good bitterness, medium acidity, balanced alcohol at 5.8%.

The bitterness is pretty intense and stays with you right through to the finish. Rich texture, high flavor intensity of malt, fruit and spices along a long finish.

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And now, let's switch to wine and pizza. If you are a pizza lover, I highly recommend purchasing a copy of Peter Reinhart's book "American Pie."

In it, he travels the world looking for the best pizza recipes in existence. This, of course, takes him to Naples, but also to Chicago and New York. His Neapolitan pizza crust is a marvel, so that's what I made when our friends Bart and Leisl came for dinner on Saturday night.

A pizza night, of course, means a stop at Angela's Pasta and Cheese Shop in Manchester. While my mission was to buy some fresh Prosciutto di Parma, I came out with some wine too: Le Preare Ripasso Valpolicella Classico Superiore, 2010, 13.5% abv, $18.95.

This is a wine from Northeast Italy, the region of Venice. It is a medium intensity red wine with a clean nose also of medium intensity, plum being the predominant fruit aroma. It is youthful still. On the palate it is dry, with medium-plus acidity and medium tannin, alcohol, body and flavor intensity. The flavor profile is fruit again, plum raspberry and blackberry. Medium-plus-length finish. Good quality, good balance, concentration and length. 88 points.

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The YMCA of Greater Manchester will be presenting its seventh Annual Wine Tasting and Auction on Thursday evening, Oct. 24, to benefit the Y's Dropout Prevention programs for at-risk youth. The event, known for its unique themes and excellent restaurant and wine vendor participation, will be held at the Brady Sullivan Plaza Concourse, 1000 Elm St., from 6 to 8:30 p.m.

Ten wine vendors, 14 restaurants and more than 80 wines will be available to taste and pair with dishes prepared by local chefs.

This year's theme is The Wines of Oz, coinciding with the 75th anniversary of the famous movie.

The Y's Youth Opportunities Unlimited Dropout Prevention programs serves more than 750 young people a year.

Tickets are $60 and are available by going to the Y's website, www.yogm.org, or by calling Sara McCarthy at 232-8624.

Contact local beer and wine writer Jim Beauregard at tastingnotesnh.com.


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