FALL IS OFFICIALLY HERE! Can you tell I’m excited? Let’s face it, fall is the best. You can try and debate me on this one, but you will lose. It’s the season for butternut squash soup, pumpkin spice lattes, beautiful color-changing trees, sweater weather, NFL (for those sporty types), no shave November (I mean, who doesn’t like a man with a good scruff?) and most importantly…WINE.
If you thought wine paired best with summer’s steamy temps and poolside parties, think again. Wine sipped with friends by a fire is one of life’s most underrated pleasures. Enjoy just a few of these top seasonal picks to up your fall wine game:
Nothing says “welcome to fall” quite like a glass of Pinot Noir. With its earthy aromas resembling mushrooms or wet leaves, coupled with its faint floral smells of dried roses and violets, Pinot may just be the most obvious choice for the season. The wine’s warm baking spices of vanilla, clove and nutmeg will make you want to curl up in a flannel with a good book, and its fresh tart cherry and cranberry notes will cling to your palate like the last remaining leaves on the trees.
For lovers of freshly baked cherry pies, mochas, and coziness, Merlot is the way to go. Merlot’s most notable characteristics include its ripe black cherry, plum and raspberry flavors, paired with hints of cedar, vanilla, and coffee. Classically known for being a smooth sipper, this wine’s easy tannins and soft finish make it perfectly enjoyable on its own or with whatever fall-themed treats you’re whipping up in the kitchen. (Chocolate chip cookie dough from the tube, anyone?)
This white was practically made for brisk fall days. With flavors of baked apples, ripe pears, caramel, toffee, and toasty vanilla, oaked Chardonnay will warm your spirits from the inside out. Aging a wine in oak barrels has many perks, but they are especially apparent when it comes to this varietal. Oak allows small amounts of oxygen to come in contact with the wine as it ages, producing a richer, nuttier Chardonnay. Pouring a glass of this golden vino will help you realize that not everything has to be pumpkin flavored to get in the fall spirit.
Sipping Cabernet Franc is like putting on your smooth leather jacket for the first time this season. It gives you that “oh so right” feeling that just can’t be achieved by any other varietal (or outerwear, in this analogy). The wine’s notes of savory red pepper, dried oregano, and (you guessed it) leather, balanced by juicy raspberry sauce and plum, are perfectly rounded out with the richness produced from oak barrel aging. This parent grape of Cabernet Sauvignon is a must-have in your wine rack for autumn.
Imagine bottling up the warm, smoky feeling of a bonfire (and maybe even the smell) so that you can hold on to those fresh fall vibes all through winter. Enter: Syrah. This full-bodied red wine is rich with jammy black and red fruits, coupled with hints of smoke and black pepper. The spicy, warming aromas of Syrah will almost make you ready for the first few signs of snow. Almost.
Cheers and happy fall, ya’ll!