6 Great Wines for Fall

Two glasses of red wine are tilted.Two glasses of red wine are tilted.With the end of summer behind us, that first snap of fall has hit. While there may be a few more weeks of warm weather left, that day when you need a coat will be here before you know it. You'll want to be able to reach for the right wine to pair it the season's first cool evening.

Be prepared for the end of warm weather, the beginning of fall and, with any luck, a little bit of an Indian summer to laze away a few more precious weekends before we return indoors for our annual hibernation.

Crisp White Wines
You might want to ratchet up the intensity of your crisp whites and look for wines that will be just as fab at 55 degrees as they will be in 80 degree weather. A nice Pinot Bianco is a great choice. There are tons of great options available from Italy, Alsace, Oregon and other regions, like Austria, Germany and Hungary. Pinot Blanc is a star on the rise. Taste some in the coming months!

Two to Try:

2010 Tenuta Costa Lahnhof Pinot Bianco Alto Adige, $19
A fairly rich style of Pinot Bianco that delivers a classic combination of fruit and minerality.

2009 Paul Blanck Pinot Blanc d'Alsace, $14
This is a lighter weight style of Pinot Blanc, but one that shows off the typical aromatics attained in Alsace.

Rich Whites
There's never a bad time for a rich white wine. They're the kind of wines you can drink all through the day and into the night, equally ready to be paired with a simple (or a fancy) dinner.

There are several options for rich whites and Chardonnay is the number one choice of wine drinkers almost everywhere. Especially in places like New York, Chicago, San Francisco, or Burgundy, you're gonna be happy to have some Chardonnay on hand.

Look for a medium-bodied version. Burgundy is a great region for this wine, along with those from cool climate regions like New Zealand, Chile and even Oregon.

Two to Try:

2009 Domaine Faiveley Montagny Chardonnay
A classic Burgundy that is surprisingly affordable since it comes from a little known appellation.

2009 Kumeu River Village Chardonnay
One of New Zealand's premier producers of Chardonnay, made in a style that showcases the purity of fruit which New Zealand can attain.

Rich Rosé
Many wine drinkers believe that rosé season is coming to an end, along with summer. But don't believe it -- rosés are good year-round.

Rosé wines can and should be enjoyed year round, particularly when they are made in a richer style. The wines are food friendly and fun to drink, not to mention ideal for enjoying during the cooling hours of a late summer sunset.

Two to Try:

2011 Waterbrook Rosé of Sangiovese, $12
This is an absolutely delicious rosé, packed with zesty fruit in a modestly rich style that is perfectly balanced for pairing with lightly spicy foods.
2011 Fincas Las Nubes Rosé
You might not think of Malbec as a great rosé grape, but it produces a nice, meaty style with richness and complexity.

Lighter Reds
Just like rosé, red wine should not be considered seasonal.

Light reds are always appropriate and can be some of the most delicious wines around. Light and juicy with fine tannins and bright red fruit, they can pair well with food or be equally attractive on their own. The Pinot Noir is a great option to fill this role.

Two to Try:

2010 De Ponte Cellar Pinot Noir, $30
This wine is just being released but it's a wine worth searching for. A real standout from my recent trip to Oregon for its wonderful purity and elegance.

2010 Terlan Pinot Nero, $24
Pinot Nero from the Alto Adige tends to be light and fresh, and this bottling from Terlan captures the style perfectly with pretty fruit and a slightly edgy texture.

Medium Weight Reds
This is a group of wines that doesn't get a lot of play when it's warm out. The combination of high temperatures mixed with high tannins and high alcohol make for an unpleasant experience, but that doesn't mean they should be abandoned!

Stick with a medium-bodied, moderate alcohol option like Carmenere and you'll be set to pair these wines up with steaks and other dishes you'll find yourself craving in late summer and through autumn. The slightly herbal-toned fruit flavors love grilled beef.

Two to Try:

2008 Oveja Negra Single Vineyard Carmenere
Oveja Negra is a great introduction to Carmenere for those looking for a more modern styled wine full of blue and black fruits.

2011 Apaltagua Reserva Carmenere Colchagua Valley
For a more classic example of Carmenere replete with herbal and vegetal accents to black and red fruits, check out this Apaltagua.

It's always a good time for bubbles! The fizzy sparkling wines may not be a favorite for everyone but they're good to always have on hand for celebrations, casual sipping or brunch cocktails.

In those cases, Prosecco (and more specifically Prosecco Frizzante) is a great option because it is gently carbonated. This more gentle carbonation makes the wine easy to drink and refreshing without getting in the way of the freshness of fruit that Prosecco is so well known for.

Two to Try:

Cortesia Prosecco Frizzante
This pick-me-up selection is gently fizzy and very pure. It's a classic example of the Frizzante style.

Toffoli Prosecco di Conegliano Frizzante
If full on Prosecco is more your thing, the Toffoli is a great value.

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