The Best Grape Varieties to Enjoy This Fall, According to Our Somm Team
No matter which specific dishes call your name, turning to savory, earth-driven wines always promises a solid pairing. Not sure where to begin? Our Somm Team has come up with a list of six go-to grape varieties to satisfy fall food pairing needs everywhere. Simply follow the list below to satiate all of your fall food and wine pairing needs in one fell swoop.
No red grape variety embodies fall better than Pinot Noir. Savory, earthy, and unbelievably easy to drink, this thin-skinned variety is the backbone to some of the wine world’ most delicious and site-specific wines, with France’s Burgundy region as the foundation of it all. Next time roast chicken, mushroom-based stews, or hearty crockpot recipes are on the menu, reach for a bottle of lightly chilled Pinot Noir for an out-of-this-world experience.
Chenin Blanc and fall flavors go hand in hand. The wines’ signature flavors of apple, honey, and crushed stones pair perfectly with a number of autumnal dishes, including pork chops with apple sauce, roasted root vegetables, and butternut squash ravioli. Our favorite expressions come from France’s Loire Valley – and if you’re feeling adventurous, grab a sweet iteration of the grape for an unforgettable dessert wine pairing. Apple crumble, anyone?
Sangiovese and Italian fare are one of the industry’s most quintessential pairing duos – think all things with red sauce, including pizza, pasta, and a variety of parmigianas. Known for their naturally high acidity and signature tomatoey undertones, Sangiovese-based wines are perfect for ushering in the fall season. Grab a bottle (or few) for your next Sunday Supper and instantly become everyone’s favorite host. (Pro tip: In addition to Chianti / Chianti Classico wines, look to Rosso di Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino, and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano for equally thought-provoking expressions.)
Chardonnay is truly the grape that can do it all. Deemed a “chameleon” variety by winemakers worldwide, this neutral grape variety impeccably reflects the place and vinification techniques imparted on it – meaning that the flavor profile spectrum of Chardonnay-based wines is essentially limitless. From White Burgundy to Chardonnay to Australia and beyond, diving into a bottle of Chardonnay promises to pair well with a variety of fall foods, from roasted poultry to mashed potatoes to pan-seared fish and beyond.
Similar to Sangiovese, Barbera is a solid pairing for all things red sauce, roasted meats and veggies, and more. Although Nebbiolo-based wines from Piedmont tend to get all of the praise, it’s affordable, well-made Barbera that the locals tend to gravitate towards on the regular. Barbera’s signature flavors of red fruit, dried herbs, leather, and sweet spice pair beautifully with a number of go-to fall dishes, from pasta bolognese to shepard’s pie and more. Pro tip: For something equally thought-provoking (and beloved by the locals), spring for a bottle of Pelaverga – we promise you won't’ regret it.
Syrah / Shiraz
Love full-bodied reds? Then Syrah / Shiraz is what you should be reaching for. Smoky, flavor packed, and acid laden, these warming red wines are perfect for pairing with roasted meats of all sorts, as well as vegan stews, portobello mushroom burgers, and more. Best of all, the tannic structure and solid backbones found in these wines make them ideal candidates for the cellar. Our recommendation? Grab a few to lay down, as well as a few to pop now and enjoy. Savor their evolution over time for maximum enjoyment!