Ultimate Pairing Guide: Chapter 4

Chapter 4: Fall Wines

Not the biggest fan of the heat of summer? That’s okay. Fall is just around the corner. As the leaves begin to change, and you start to settle into your fall routines, you have the perfect opportunity to change your wine cellar selections around a bit.

There’s Nothing Better Than Fall Drinks

It’s true — few things beat an excellent glass of wine in the fall.

Because the season is a time of change and a time to prepare for cooler weather, it’s extremely transitional. You’re likely moving activities from outdoors to indoors while holding onto every last glimpse of summer’s warmth and pleasantness.

When we think of fall, we think of time spent with friends around bonfires, reminiscing about the season that has passed. We celebrate everyday milestones while enjoying warmer, heartier foods than those prepared during the summer.

While taking care of stocking your wine selections for fall, remember that you may be enjoying football and tailgating parties, Halloween celebrations, Thanksgiving, hayrides and bonfires. What could be more fun?

Autumn Wine: What to Consider While Shopping

While summer wines are often centerpieces of celebrations, in the fall, wine becomes more of an accent. This means pairing wines properly with foods and events are more important than during other times of the year.

While it might feel like pumpkin is the theme of the season for many foods, beverages and other products — to the tune of a $500 million a year industry — that’s not necessarily true when it comes to wines.

With fall wines, you’ll see much more in the way of tannins — they become an excellent focal point as seasons change. These interesting elements naturally occur in plants, seeds, wood, bark and fruit skins — like grapes. In fact, fifty percent of the dry weight of plant leaves and skins are tannins. In wine, these are often associated with bitterness and complexity which is commonly — but not exclusively — found in red wines. White wines can occasionally contain tannins when they are aged in wooden barrels because wood has its own naturally occurring tannins.

Some individuals love “bitter” wines, while others do not. In the fall, however, tannins may add an extra layer of warmth that could be more enjoyable than other times of the year. This means many of the wines that are best for fall may contain higher levels of tannins than those enjoyed during the summer.

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Where should you start?

As always, rosé wines are versatile regardless of the season. A few thoughts and varieties worth considering include:

  • Syrah blend rosé wines. These blends often offer a deeper, spicier take on more traditional berry-forward rosés. They might accompany a variety of dishes that could be enjoyed during the fall, but they can also stand well on their own for evening drinks.
  • Bordeaux Rosés. These blends provide the lighter finish fans of rosé wines search for, with a more complex taste. This makes them excellent for the season.

Looking for the perfect fall white? Look no further than these delectable options:

  • Roussanne wine. This might be an option to surprise even your most seasoned wine-loving friend, but it’s less common in the States. Balanced with exotic spice flavors and other less-familiar flavors, the wine is generally blended with other grapes. It’s a perfect complement to fall dishes like roast meats and hearty sides.
  • Semillon wines. If you’re a fan of Sauvignon Blanc, you may find Semillon to be a comparable companion with a slightly richer flavor. Frequently, this variety is accompanied by fall fruit finishes like pear, making them perfect for fall events and everyday enjoyment.
  • Gewürztraminer. While Gewürztraminers are typically one of the first wines released each year in early spring, they’re perfect for fall consumption. These wines feature floral undertones with added spice during the aging process, making them an excellent companion to fall dishes.

We cannot forget or overlook lovers of red wines, though, especially during fall, as these wines make a popular resurgence. While shopping, consider:

  • Beaujolais. Made from the Gamay grape, Beaujolais wine adds distinct, deep berry flavors while balancing a more acidic base. While still light in tannins, it’s the perfect transition between summer and winter, so it’s excellent for fall.
  • Dolcetto varieties. Wines made from the Dolcetto grape feature deep black cherry flavors and more leathery textures, which are perfect as you transition from long summer nights to crisp fall evenings. These wines often include a variety of grapes, but the resulting flavor is almost always appropriate for the season.

Best Fall Wines to Stock up On

Ready to create your fall wine list with a few specific options to try this year? Not a problem. Check out the following:

<liAxel Des Vignes Rosé Bordeaux, France, 2016.