Our columnists' picks for what to drink this month.
Belmont Vineyards’ Bella Rosso
Provenance: Leasburg, Missouri
Pairings: Blackened swordfish • Prime rib • Lasagna
It's rare to find a local red blend made with both Norton and traditional European grape varietals. Belmont Vineyards’ Bella Rosso is about 50 percent Norton blended with Tempranillo, Syrah and Merlot. Norton’s high acidity can present challenges in the cellar; blending it brings balance, enhanced flavors and a spicy finish, especially from the Tempranillo. This wine packs a lot of flavor and is perfect for fall. It has smoky aromas with notes of dark fruit, spice and oak. This limited-production wine is available at the tasting room in Leasburg, Missouri, near Cuba. –Hilary Hedges
Hilary Hedges worked at Amigoni Urban Winery for more than five years as the director of sales and marketing and assistant winemaker. She's currently a freelance wine writer, and marketing manager for a local nonprofit.
Boulevard Brewing Co.'s Dark Truth
Style: Imperial stout (9.7% ABV)
Pairings: Bacon-wrapped dates • Beer-ice cream float
When the weather turns cold, beers turn dark. October marks the unofficial start of stout season, and Boulevard Brewing Co.'s Dark Truth out of Kansas City is a perfect example. This high-ABV stout is made with Belgian yeast, which is a slight twist on the typical version of the style. When poured, the beer emits aromas of plums, dark chocolate and coffee. Once you take your first drink, the hops make their presence known, and the beer's bitterness shows up in a big way, competing with those dark fruit and roasted flavors. The next time you're around a bonfire, this is one beer you'll want to savor. –Justin Phelps
Justin Phelps is a Certified Cicerone® and the founder of saintbrewis.com, a website dedicated to covering current events and trends happening in the St. Louis craft-beer scene.
Restless Spirits Distilling Co.’s Stone Breaker
Provenance: Kansas City (46% ABV)
Try It: Neat, or with a single ice cube
Inspired by their own heritage, Mike and Benay Shannon of Restless Spirits Distilling Co. in Kansas City wanted to bridge the flavor profiles of Irish and American whiskeys. This led to the creation of Stone Breaker, a blend of whisky from Great Northern Distillery in Ireland and Restless Spirits Distilling Co.’s own American malt whiskey made in Kansas City. This blending creates a distinct spirit, combining the best of both products. The nose is earthy; slightly heavy on the palate, there are subtle notes of citrus and more noticeable notes of cream and butter. The finish lingers, with the earthiness dominating the overall impression. There’s a lot of subtlety here, which is why I recommend drinking it neat or with a single ice cube, to really experience the nuance that makes this whiskey so special. –Jenn Tosatto
You can find Jenn Tosatto running the bar at Mission Taco Joint's Kansas City location. She also loves donating her skills to many charity events around the city, as well as working private events.