America’s favorite season is upon us. This doesn’t only mean color-changing leaves, cozy outfits, and slightly cooler weather, but also that thanksgiving is around the corner, and we have a great excuse to indulge in fantastic food. We know that the Autumn harvest delivers rich and delicious produce, from pumpkins to apples, all the way to figs, carrots, sweet potatoes, and butternut squash. There’s so much to look forward to!
Autumn invites us to pair amazing produce and heavenly winter dishes with bright summer wines. Here’s our guide to make the best of it.
General Fall Wine Pairing Tips
‘What Grows Together, Goes Together.’
It’s fascinating how agricultural products represent the culture, food, and traditions of a region. “What Grows Together, Goes Together” is a category that showcases the cultural aspects of food and wine. Before global trade, importing and exporting, early winemakers made wine that reflected the food of the area. Over time, these combinations evolved organically to what we now consider as no-brainers.
To make the most out of your fall wine and food pairing, you’ll want to start with the wine. Choosing your wine first and matching it to your meal is an easy way to begin your wine-pairing journey. Especially when it comes to fall flavors, it’s easier to grab a bottle and then match it to the flavor profile of your food.
Match Food Colors
Generally speaking, wine pairing can sometimes be as simple as pairing colors. This means matching light-colored foods with paler wines and darker-hued foods with darker wines. For example, cauliflower and cabbage work best with white wines. You can delve deeper and go for the lighter-bodied white wines as well.
Think of your wines first:
Shredded or sautéed and topped with parmesan cheese, nuts, or butter, the green flavors of brussels sprouts are a fantastic pairing for the similar herbal notes of Sauvignon Blanc.
Similar to Chardonnay, Viognier has a weighty body and tons of flavor (especially if it develops a beautiful honeysuckle quality). Viognier can be slightly sweet and rich, or lighter and more acidic. Either way, it makes an excellent pairing for sweet produce like pumpkins, carrots, sweet potatoes, and butternut squash.
Extra tip: all of this produce would also terrifically match with a slightly sweet Prosecco.
Bordeaux Blanc is one of those wines that works perfectly in both summer and winter. This Sémillon and Sauvignon Blanc blend is full-bodied and has a pleasant acidity that enhances rich recipes that use garlic and basil. Think of pesto pasta, and garlicky seafood, for example.
Extra tip: Floral wines such as Gewürztraminer or Vouvray pair beautifully with apples. Are you cooking a pear-based dessert? Think of balancing it with the sweetness and freshness of a Sauternes.
Rosé isn’t just for the summer. There are so many different Rosé varieties that it should be in your fridge all year round. A heartier Rosé (such as Cabernet, Grenache, Syrah, or Merlot-based ones), not only offers tons of fruit but also has the structure to perfectly handle fall flavors like barbeques, turkey sandwiches, quiches, and spicy curries.
Pinot’s light body, fresh acidity, layers of complexity, and rich, fruity character makes it one of our favorite fall choices. Pair it with something mushroomy, a sweet potato shepherd’s pie, a salad (or pizza!) with Fig and goat’s cheese, it will match it all!
For those who live in the southwest of the US, fall is deeply related with roasted chili peppers, in every form possible. Bold, big, and intense Syrah and especially Australian Shiraz soften the green flavors of chili.
Hunting season means that you’ll probably eat a venison stew or a roast sometime soon. Even if you’re considering lamb or beef stew, then a vibrant red with lots of tannins would balance the richness of the meat perfectly. Barolo and Barbaresco would do the trick as well.
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