Fall is my favorite season every year, but especially in years where the summer was so brutally, sweltering hot, like this year, I just can’t wait until the leaves start falling and the air gets crisp and breezy. Cool weather means we’re switching over to softer, fuller whites and plush, mellow reds- think: Chardonnay and Grenache for sure!
Top picks for this season:
2013 Janare Falanghina ($17.99)
Southern Italian whites practically scream “fall.” Not only do they reflect a riper mouthfeel and softer acidity than their northern counterparts (I’m looking at you, Pinot Grigio), but many of the Falanghinas and Fianos you’ll see will exhibit hints of baking spice, squash and even sometimes subtle pumpkin flavors, balanced by the more classic tropical fruit notes. Janare is a favorite of ours- also check out their Greco (white) and Aglianico (red).
2015 Hayes Chardonnay ($11.99)
It just wouldn’t be fall without a bottle (or several) of a creamy, California-style Chardonnay. Rich and buttery, but still maintaining enough acidity to add lift, the Hayes is an amazing all-purpose house white. Try this with creamy pastas (especially homemade mac n cheese), or roasted pork/chicken dishes.
2015 Zum Gewuztraminer ($14.99)
Fans of Riesling and Moscato should definitely take a chance on Gewurztraminer. These whites are intensely perfumed, with pretty gardenia and orange blossom notes and lots of exotic baking spice, lychee and almond aromas. On the palate, Gewurz can range from bone dry to semi-dry to sweet; the Zum sits right in the middle- total crowd-pleaser! Try this with spicier dishes, especially Indian, Middle Eastern or Thai.
2013 Funsu Nebbiolo ($16.99)
Another hallmark of the fall season is the transition to slow-cooked and braised meats, stews and casseroles. To highlight the earthy flavors of these dishes, my pick for perfect pairing is Nebbiolo. The Funsu celebrates the rustic earth/loam/mushroom notes and lots of allspice, clove and white pepper, along with dried cranberry and red & black currant flavors.
2013 Domaine Montvac Arabesque ($15.99)
In the Rhone Valley, Chateauneuf du Pape is famed for complexity and depth, Gigondas for robust power and Luberon for softness. Vacqueras, where the Arabesque is sourced, is famed more for their aromatics. Think: violets and spice over blueberry, black raspberry and cassis notes. This wine is pretty full-bodied, but with soft acidity and rounded texture, making it incredibly food-friendly and likeable.