Boom Boom Syrah, and other wines that pair perfectly with the arrival of ice hockey

Beyond the fact that it smells like fall and mums and pumpkins have taken over the landscape, there’s another reason to welcome mid-October.

The ice hockey season has started.

OK, as a lifelong Philadelphia Flyers fan, the last two seasons have been tough to watch. This season, which begins tonight with a home game against the New Jersey Devils, promises to be at least interesting with the arrival of coach John Tortorella. Meanwhile, across the state, The Pittsburgh Penguins will open another season with enough skill to challenge for the Stanley Cup, meeting Arizona at 7 p.m. tonight.

In the American Hockey League, the Hershey Bears will start on Saturday with their Home Opening Red Carpet Event, which includes a 3:30 p.m. performance by Central Pennsylvania native and rising country star Grant Bryan at the GIANT Center. Fans can participate in garden games like Corn Hole and Jenga, get their face painted, or win prizes. Player introductions will follow and the game against the Utica Comets will kick off the season starting at 7 p.m. Todd Nelson will be behind the bench in his first game as Hershey’s coach. The Lehigh Valley Phantoms will open on the road, then head home for two games against Cleveland next weekend.

With that in mind, here are some wines (and a spirit) suggested by Great Wines & Fine Spirits retail specialists located at opposite ends of the state that pair perfectly with the start of the 2022-23 season.

Fred Naddeo, Fine Wine & Good Spirits Premium Collection Store #2344, Springfield, Delaware County

Charles Smith “Boom Boom” Syrah from Washington’s Columbia Valley (#1501, $14.99; save $3 until 10/30): Boom boom, it’s hockey season! It’s time for flying pucks and hard hits against the boards. This Syrah presents notes of raspberry and blueberry with a spicy touch that some might call “grainy”. Serve it on game night, as it pairs well with barbecued ribs or rich stews.

Jawbreaker Cabernet Sauvignon (#9378, $13.99) from California: Broad Street Bullies fans know there’s nothing like a good fight on the ice. Hopefully there are no injuries. A fruity and well-balanced Cabernet Sauvignon, it shows typical dark fruit flavors and a “juiciness” that pairs well with cheese as well as burgers and steak.

Fred Naddio works at the Fine Wine & Good Spirits Premium Collection Store in Springfield, Delaware County.

Orin Swift 8 years in the desert California 2019 (#85167, $49.99) – The playoffs are a distant memory for many Flyers fans, but let’s hope our exile in the desert ends soon. You can drown your sorrows (or toast to future victories) with this big, bold red mix. Lots of dark fruit and spice from the Zinfandel, Syrah and Petit Sirah blend. It will be a great wine to open when the Flyers return to the Stanley Cup hunt.

Frosted Iced Riesling Washington’s Horse Heaven Hills 2021 (#86402, $14.99) – If you’re looking for some ice time, try this wine for dessert. It is a very sweet Riesling, but with a nice acidity for balance. It features flavors of pineapple and peach that pair well with fresh fruit or crème brûlée.

New Amsterdam ‘Pink Whitney’ Pink Lemonade Vodka (#679, $10.99; save $3 until 10/30) – No hockey roster would be complete without Pink Whitney! Based on the former Pittsburgh Penguin and co-host of Ryan Whitney’s favorite drink, the Spittin’ Chiclets podcast, it has a refreshing pink lemonade flavor that’s not quite Grandma’s recipe. Serve it over ice or with a splash of club soda.

Joe Loughner, Fine Wine & Good Spirits Premium Collection Store #0298 in Bridgeville, Pittsburgh

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Tenuta Ulisse Amaranta Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2018 (#79474, $17.99) From the warm climate of the Abruzzo region in central Italy comes the famous Montepulciano grape. It is a wine known for its soft and approachable style. This wine does not disappoint with its rich and punchy big black berries, plum notes and cherry and cola spice. A friendly wine that ends in style.

Joe Loughner

Joe Loughner works at the Fine Wine & Good Spirits Premium Collection Store in Bridgeville, Pittsburgh.

Hands of Time Sonoma County Chardonnay 2018 (#87554, $22.99) pays homage to the many hands involved in the art of winemaking. Hands of Time Chardonnay shows that working as a team leads to big wins. This chardonnay offers a wonderful balance between apple, pear skin and hints of tropical pineapple. A presence of toast and creaminess is complemented by acidity and freshness that make this Chardonnay a solid winner!

Ken Wright Cellars Pinot Noir Willamette Valley 2021 (#87597, $24.99) brings a sense of ownership to the art of winemaking. Ken Wright Cellars has roots firmly planted in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, home to delicious Pinot Noir, a grape grown around the world but which can only be excellent under the best of conditions. This pinot noir has generous notes of cherry, blackberry and cigar box. Ken Wright Cellars Pinot Noir is a wine that shows off its finesse and class, like how Sidney Crosby represents the NHL.

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