10 Favorite Fall Wines

Autumn is the perfect time to linger a little longer in the kitchen and cook those soul warming meals we crave when the weather turns chilly. It is also the perfect opportunity to switch up what you’ve been drinking to pair with these more savory meals. I put together 10 grape varieties I think you should try this fall. Cozy up, drink a glass, and decide what will become your go-to wine this season.

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  1. Lambrusco | Italy

Not your grandmother’s Lambrusco! We say this seriously, Lambrusco got a bad rap in the 70s for being a cheap and sweet red wine you drank with ice cubes. Modern day Lambruscos are dry (or only slightly off-dry), effervescent and playful and they pair with just about any food on the planet! Most Lambrusco production is in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy, home of all the culinary things we love: Balsamic Vinegar of Modena, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Prosciutto di Parma and Massimo Bottura. I mean, wine pairing 101: try the regional pairing here folks!

2. Rosé

Think masculine, more savory rosé compared to your typical summer pinks. We love being playful and more exploratory in the fall, why not try a skin contact Pinot Gris or a rosé from Lebanon or Argentina. Think about these type of rosés around your Thanksgiving table with that roast turkey and cranberry sauce, seriously cannot wait!

3. Viognier | France, California, Washington, Australia

With flavors of honey, stone fruits, orange blossom and butterscotch, it’s not hard to see why Viognier makes a fantastic fall wine. It is also creamy in texture but with enough acidity to go with all of your favorite fall roasted foods… Roast chicken with balsamic roasted carrots and greens - making this for dinner stat! Viognier’s famous home is in the Rhône Valley of France in the appellations of Condrieu and Château-Grillet, but you can find fantastic Viognier’s in California, Washington and Australia.

4. Sémillon | France, Australia, Washington, Chile

Sémillon might most famously be known for being the prized grape in the hailed dessert wine Sauternes from Bordeaux (hey there, Chateau d'Yquem). Sémillon however is no one trick pony, it makes a fantastic and über versatile full bodied white wine perfect for your fall pairing desires. With flavors of chamomile, lemon, peach and a beautiful salinity, it is ideal for chicken and pork and oily fish like cod.

5. Marsanne/Roussanne | France, Washington

Hailing from the Northern Rhône Valley, these two grapes make the most fantastic of fall white wines. Marsanne is typically the ‘bigger’ grape which carries most of the structure of the wine, while Roussanne is more aromatic. You rarely see them apart because together they create a medium bodied, nutty and pear forward wine perfect for those fall baking spices. A must for your Thanksgiving table.

6. Grenache | France, Spain, United States

This is one of my (and everyone’s) number one fall picks, after all, what would this list be without a classic! You will find Grenache being produced across the world and the wines have regional characteristics: raspberry and licorice in Spain (called Garnacha here), strawberry and smokey oregano in France and more floral and licorice in American Grenache. No matter what fall dish you are cooking, you can find a Grenache to make it shine.

7. Barbera | Italy, Washington, California, Argentina

Give me this all fall long - Barbera is the definition of every day drinking wine. Make this your house red during the fall. It has a beautiful dark color with notes of strawberry, tart cherry and herbaceous clove and nutmeg. It has low tannins and high acidity to make it a crowd pleaser. Barberas are most well known for coming from Italy, Piedmont in particular, but you can also find Barbera being grown in the US, specifically Washington state and California, as well as Argentina and Australia.

8. Zweigelt | Austria, Canada,

Hailing from Austria, this light body red checks all of the boxes you want in a fall friendly red. It is fun, fruity and affordable. Because it is grown in a cool climate, it has a slightly bitter finish at first so let this breathe for about an hour and it blossoms into a fresh fruity cherry bomb! Its great with grilled meats and Austrian/German meals like schnitzel and sausages.

9. Gamay | France, Oregon

Gamay is one of my favorite fall wines. A cousin of Pinot Noir, this grape is often grown in cooler climates where Pinot is also planted. You may recognize Gamay as the grape of Beaujolais, a region south of Burgundy. The wine is light bodied and fruit forward with bright red fruits and a tart finish. Delicious! Need an excuse for a fall party? Throw a Beaujolais Nouveau party. Beaujolais Nouveau is called a vin de primeur, which is fermented for just a few weeks before being released for sale on the third Thursday of November at midnight. All over France and the world people throw parties and pop bottles celebrating its release.

10. Brunello di Montalcino | Italy

This is our splurge wine on the list. Brunello di Montalcino isn’t just any Sangiovese, it is the premier Sangiovese and it has the history and elegance to back that up. Tucked in the beautiful hills of Tuscany, this wine has a huge sense of place. Bright red fruit, potpourri, and espresso notes with high tannin and acid carry this wine through decades, if you wish. As it ages, it develops gorgeous tertiary flavors of leather, dried fig and hazelnuts. I promise you: you won’t regret this splurge!

I don’t know about you, but I am totally ready to curl up with a bowl of mushroom risotto and Brunello. What is your go-to fall wine? If you give this list a whirl, let me know what you think and let’s talk wine!


- Danielle

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