Autumn Wine Picks

“Autumn, the year’s last, loveliest smile.” — William Cullen Bryant

Falling leaves, apple cider, trick or treating, pumpkin pie… Autumn has rituals and flavors all of its own. As you pack away the sunscreen, pull out your sweaters and turn your mind towards Fall, here are some wines Vine Talk Wine Expert Emilie Perrier says are a great match for the season.

Alsatian Gewurztraminer
Gewurztraminer from Alsace, France is known for particularly intense flavors and a complexity not found in Gewurztraminer produced elsewhere. Emilie recommends it for its “autumn spice.” This full bodied, aromatic, fruity wine has touches of cinnamon spice, gingerbread, vanilla, honeysuckle and the aroma of lychee fruit. It pairs well with flavors typical of Fall—apples, squash, sweet potatoes and roast turkey.

Red Burgundy
Emilie says Red Burgundy is a must as it “drinks fabulously” in October-November. Burgundy has cultivated the finicky Pinot Noir grape for hundreds of years and produces wonderful wines that exude a mix of spiced strawberries, black cherries, plums and smoky scents. Emilie recommends these wines because their aromas are from the “Fall category”—aromas of truffle, game, mushroom and earth—and they have a nice meaty quality that pairs well with Fall foods, pheasant, hens and game.

Oregon Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir is the grape that put Oregon on the map. Oregon Pinot Noir is similar to Burgundy except for its greener, forest like flavors with much more spiciness. Emilie finds these warm wines with their woody, smoky and strong cherry flavors are perfect for Fall.

California Red Zinfandel
Although a large proportion of California’s Zinfandel grapes are made into sweet White Zinfandel, the best grapes are made into big fruited Red Zinfandels that Emilie says are “jammy and delicious.” Red Zinfandel is not just a good summer barbecue wine—according to Emilie, it is also well suited for Fall because of its fuller body and spiciness, with lots of coffee, licorice, blackberry and huckleberry flavors. Red Zinfandel has lots of layers and pairs well with duck, game, roasted turkey and venison.