What Makes a Wine Perfect for Autumn?While summertime is all about light-bodied, sometimes low-ABV varietals that you can chill, autumn wants a warming wine that’ll help take the chill out of the air. That doesn’t mean you should stop chilling your wine bottles to their ideal temperature. It simply means choosing wines with warming flavor notes like jam and baking spices. BTW, this doesn’t mean you need to ditch your white wine and rosé until next year. On the contrary, now is a great time for rich white wines and zesty rosés, as well as light- to medium-bodied reds with tannins as silky smooth as your cashmere sweater. Wines that are aged in oak – whether red or white – are generally a good fit for fall weather because oak can impart notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla. Check out these top 12 wines for fall.
Top Wines for Fall
1. Pinot Noir
This light-bodied red wine is the perfect way to ease into the new season, and now is the time to try a delicate variety made in Oregon, Washington, or France – where it’s called Bourgogne (aka Burgundy). Fruity and slightly earthy, Pinot Noir makes a perfect pairing for turkey chili or stuffed mushrooms. Our Sophonisba Pinot Noir is a great fall wine! Red fruit flavors of raspberry and cherry dominate, with vanilla and spice from oak aging.
2. ViognierPronounced vee-own-YAY, this white wine has a richness that’s similar to Chardonnay, plus aromatic notes of rose, honeysuckle, and mango. You’ll find single-varietal Viognier in New-World regions like California and Australia, but this grape hails from the Rhône Valley in France where it’s often blended with Marsanne and Roussanne. White Rhône blends have notes of golden apple, walnut, and cream, and make a perfect match for herb roasted chicken or baked sole.
We recommend our Humdrum Viognier - a warm climate white with ripe, tropical fruit flavors on both the nose and palate.
While you may not have heard of this medium-bodied red wine, Carignan (pronounced care-in-yen) is basically autumn in a bottle. With notes of cranberry, cured meat, and baking spices, Carignan pairs well with beef brisket, curried butternut squash, and Thanksgiving dinner.
4. ChardonnayThis popular white wine is great all year round, and now is the time to break out a bottle of the oaked variety. Rich and buttery with notes of poached pear, butterscotch, and vanilla, oaked Chardonnay pairs well with creamy pastas, seared scallops, and toasted nuts.
The Chêne Crémeux Chardonnay from Bright Cellars is rich and creamy, made in French fashion. This vino will make the perfect addition to any fall activity!
Similar to Cabernet Sauvignon but slightly lighter in body, Merlot makes a great red wine for fall. With notes of plum, bay leaf, and vanilla, Merlot pairs well with short ribs, roast turkey, and rustic ratatouille.
6. Italian Rosé
As promised, rosé is still in season. Italian rosé (or rosado) is made with grapes like Sangiovese, Corvina, and Aglianico and is often darker in color because it has more time in contact with grape skins. As a result, Italian rosé has a more robust flavor. Its notes of tart cherry, orange zest, and baking spices make it a great pairing for herb-spiced risotto and fried zucchini.
This medium-bodied red wine is all the rage in Spain. With notes of dried fig, earthy tobacco, and baking spices like cinnamon and cloves, Tempranillo is kind of like the wine equivalent of a pumpkin spiced latte. It pairs well with chili con carne, roast lamb, and baked ziti.
8. Chenin BlancA rich white wine that’s perfect for fall is Chenin Blanc. This medium-bodied white wine has notes of baked apple, lemon curd, and brioche, and it pairs well with pot pies, chicken tortilla soup, and roast turkey.
The Bright Cellars' Batik Chenin Blanc has flavor notes of green apple, honey, and pear. This vino's apple flavors are perfect for strolling through the apple orchard!
9. Cabernet Franc
The parent grape of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc has notes of bramble, bell pepper, and chili pepper, making it a great choice for fall. This food-friendly wine pairs well with portobello mushrooms, black bean soup, and sausage pizza.
We recommend our Grasp & Grabble Cabernet Franc - an elegant Cabernet Franc with flavors of raspberry and cranberry with white pepper and herbal bay leaf adding complexity.
This French grape makes a rich white wine with notes of almonds and honey. Sémillon is often blended with Sauvignon Blanc, giving it a refreshing zippiness and making it a great fit for dark green fall veggies.
This light red wine is another great transitional wine as the season begins to change. With mild tannins, light acidity, and bright notes of candied fruit, Beaujolais is the perfect pairing for your pumpkin carving party. It goes well with a range of foods from hearty pastas to steak tacos.
This high-ABV red wine may just be the perfect fall wine. With notes of jammy fruit and smoke, plus a hint of cinnamon, raisin, and chocolate, Zinfandel pairs well with veal cutlets, barbecue chicken, and thin-crust pizza.
Our favorite Zin for fall is the Cabin 5 Zinfandel from Bright Cellars. This jammy wine has flavor notes of ripe fruit and crushed black pepper.