As fall begins to unfold, wine enthusiasts and connisseurs will begin to put down their summery Pinot Grigio’s – instead craving something with a bit more weight to it. As an enthusiast who turned Certified Sommelier, I find the changing of the seasons a great time to experiment with different wine selections. Part of the adventure for me, begins with understanding the types of wines, their composition and what they pair best with to provide a complete experience with any meal.
In my quest for Fall favorites, I discovered a few standout selections that will tempt you to consider some alternatives from your standard go-to choices. Here are 9 wines to try this Fall to unwind, toast, cheers and celebrate a variety of occasions.
Whether you are hosting your family’s Thanksgiving feast or attending as a guest, a great Pinot Noir is a smart choice to pair with the hearty foods of the holiday. This particular Pinot is often richer and fuller bodied than most California Pinots. So, this Thanksgiving, put away the Oaked Chardonnay and reach for a Willamette Valley Pinot Noir – Antica Terra is highly recommended, and a personal favorite of mine. Beyond Thanksgiving, pair your pinot Noir with salmon, roasted chicken, pasta dishes, and beef bourguignon.
This Fall, consider a Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinotage or Syrah alternative such as a d’Avola from Sicily to pair with the steak you so desire. This viticulture superhero must be included in the canon of great Italian reds as it manages to produce balanced, elegant wines with fine tannins and a plum and mulberry character. Pairs great with beef, roast veal, pan-roasted pork, and Palermo style tuna.
FALL FEAST FAVORITE
Consider a hearty Cote du Rhone for any Fall Feast. This rich blend is an excellent choice for the decadent staples of many Fall inspired meals. Some of my seasonal favorites (or you may enjoy these classics year round!) to pair a cote du Rhone with include shepard’s pie, kidney pie, and macaroni and cheese.
For all of your favorite seafood dishes, consider an Albarino. This white wine has quickly cultivated a global following and is just as easy on the palette with or without a meal – especially on a warm Fall afternoon. Simply put, if it ever sported a fin or shell, it’s perfect to pair with Albarino.
REST, RELAX & REFRESH
Nothing beats a Rose after a long day at work. Unwind with a glass as you recharge on your deck and watch the view…be it sunset, or children playing in the back yard. Once considered the “red headed stepchild” of the wine world, Rose has come a long way and is a great addition this fall to a variety of dishes. Some signature dishes that a Rose compliments well range from a vegetable linguini, tuna nicoise salad, lemon shrimp pasta, and paella to pulled pork sandwiches.
GO AHEAD… YOU DESERVE IT
Promotions, milestone moments, and overall celebrations would not be the same without a great Champagne. Remember…all champagne is sparkling wine, but not all sparkling wine is Champagne. Only sparkling wine from the Champagne region in France can bear the name. Look for a prestige cuvee Champagne (Tete de cuvee).
These wines are sourced from the finest vineyards, the Premier Cru and Grand Cru, and use only the first juice of the press. Additionally, these Champagnes are produced only during the best vintage years and spend more time aging. Consider a 2004 La Grande Dame Veuve Clicquot.
Veuve Clicquot was named for the widow of Francois Clicquot, son of the winery’s founder. After inheriting the winery, she decided to focus on Champagne. The 2004 vintage is composed of eight Grand Crus and displays complex peach and floral aromas that burst onto the palate leaving a crisp and silky finish. The best part? This pairs nicely with just about every dish you can think of.
WE KNOW WHAT YOU ARE THINKING…
Looking for the perfect wine to drink, while you are thinking about what wine to drink for dinner? Rieslings tend to be sweet, making them an excellent counterpart for spicy food. So, if you are craving a meal with fiery flavors, a Riesling would be an excellent selection to enjoy with strong
TASTE FOR THAI
For those who have a passion for Thai food and are a regular at their local Thai hot spots, consider bringing a bottle of Torrontes along for your next meal. This wine pairs well with the bold flavors of any Thai dish. It is similar to a California Viognier with dominate Meyer lemon, peach, lemon peel, rose and geranium flavors. This distinctive wine pairs well with roast chicken and curried shrimp and cheeses such as feta, gruyere and manchego as well as vegetables like butternut squash or zucchini.
Summer may be over but thankfully it is warm year round in many places including idyllic Bora Bora. Chablis are frequently described as having citrus and white flower aromas with dry, lean, light bodied of citrus, pear, minerality and salinity. These are a refreshing choice for your next tropical destination as you lounge…perhaps in a hammock or water bungalow in Bora Bora. Or, if you must, stateside, they pair well with unique dishes like chicken tarragon, escargot, clam chowder, and black truffle fricassee over creamy polenta.