Few things are as pleasant as a glass of wine on a crisp fall day. With that in mind, we put together a list of some of our favorite bottles that seem to pair perfectly with colorful leaves and brisk weather.
Whether you’re a fan of a rose with serious minerality, crisp Portuguese whites, or a Napa Valley Petite Sirah, our list of fall wines is sure to keep sipping throughout the season.
Spirited’s Fall Wine Guide 2021:
Dom Pérignon Vintage 2012
According to the cellar master Vincent Chaperon, Dom Pérignon 2012 is a vintage when both the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes picked by the producer had “a lot of maturity and concentration.” The result is a Champagne that’s “deep and rich and dense.” Chaperon summed up the 2012 offering with one word, “energy.”
Venturini Baldini Marchese Manodori Lambrusco ($20)
This 4-blend Lambrusco has fruity and spicy aromas with a perfume of wild violets. The mellow cherry notes are highlighted by clove and pepper that give this wine a medium bodied structure that’s well balanced, fresh, and refined. Pairs well with a decadent pasta or pork dish.
Gran Moraine Brut Rose NV ($50)
Gran Moraine’s Brut Rosé is a blend of multiple vintages – with each vintage adding distinctive qualities to the final blend. It is the epitome of style, grace, and elegance. Made using the traditional méthode champenoise, the Brut Rosé is a blend of 57 percent Chardonnay and 43 percent Pinot Noir.
2018 Etude Carneros Grace Benoist Ranch Chardonnay ($30)
A true reflection of the winery’s Grace Benoist Ranch estate vineyard, this wine is a blend of the best blocks on the Ranch, tucked away in the far northwest corner of the Carneros appellation. Unlike most Carneros vineyards, which are largely uplifted bay bottoms with soils composed of clay, the soils on Grace Benoist Ranch are variations of volcanic origin. Combining these well-drained, rocky upland soils with the extreme western location closer to San Pablo Bay, make this cooler site an ideal place to grow Burgundian varieties.
Ceretto Langhe Arneis Blange ($24)
This is a fresh and vivid Arneis with sliced lemon and green-apple character. Medium body with crisp acidity and a flavorful finish, it has a slightly frothy texture. Made from organically grown grapes, it should be drank right away.
Terrazas de los Andes Reserva Torrontes 2019 ($15)
Pale yellow with greenish highlights. Fresh and fruity character. Marked tropical fruit notes of melon, tangerine and litchi laced with balanced herbal aromas and white roses notes. This Torrontés stands out for its freshness and intensity. Its sensual and citric mouthfeel completes the persistent taste of this variety.
Chateau d’Esclans Rock Angel Rose 2019 ($35)
Rock Angel is partially barrel fermented in large oak barrels and made from Grenache, Cinsault and Rolle (Vermentino). This rosé bears a more complex and structured taste profile than Whispering Angel bringing it into a more premium realm giving rosé lovers a bigger and richer wine that is fabulous as an aperitif or paired with a broad range of fine cuisine. If you like the minerality of a Sancerre, you will love this wine.
Mezzacorona DiNotte Red Blend ($11)
Offering delicious layers of fruit and whispers of spices, DiNotte expresses the aromatic richness of two native varieties that thrive on the foothills of the Dolomites mountain range in northern Italy: Teroldego (70%) and Marzemino (15%). A small amount of Merlot (15%) is added. With notes of plum and blackberry with a hint of cocoa and vanilla, this full-bodied, lushly textured wine makes it the ideal pairing for grilled steak, barbecue ribs and pork chops.
Stags’ Leap 2018 Napa Valley Petite Sirah ($47)
Petite Sirah is a varietal that is enhanced by the deliberate diversity of Stags’ Leap vineyard sites. Grapes from the vineyards located on the estate’s deep, rocky soils make up the backbone of this Napa Valley Petite Sirah. Carefully selected fruit from both northern vineyards in Calistoga and St. Helena and southern vineyards in Oakville, Oak Knoll and Coombsville are added to intensify and broaden the wine’s profile to include floral, spice and fruit characteristics.
Salcheto Nobile Di Montepulciano 2017 ($24)
This wine is produced from a specific clone of Sangiovese called Prugnolo Gentile. The wine is fermented in wood and ages in large and small oak barrels for 18 months. It rests at least 6 more months in the bottle to further refine the flavors and structure before release. This Vino Nobile is a rich, round red, sporting cherry, plum, earth and mineral flavors, backed by a vibrant structure. The tannins are assertive yet folded into the overall body and texture. This wine shows fine length and harmony.
2016 Castello Banfi SummuS Toscana IGT ($80)
Meaning “highest” in Latin, SummuS speaks to this wine’s character as the apex of elegance. Well-structured with aromatic notes of cherry and cassis from Sangiovese (40%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (35%), the blend is completed with Syrah (25%) which adds elegance and a slight savory note. All three varieties are individually fermented and aged in French oak barriques for 12-14 months. Following blending, the wine is aged in wood for an additional 10-12 months. After aging in bottle for another six months, this integrated, harmonious wine is released, offering a taut structure, concentrated flavor, and long finish. Pair this wine with hearty pasta dishes, beautiful cuts of beef, and hard cheeses.
2018 Quintessa ($210)
Quintessa is a world-class wine estate in the heart of Rutherford, Napa Valley. Inspired by the Old World estate model, Quintessa crafts a single wine each year that expresses the estate’s diversity and transforms the soil, vines, climate and energy into something greater than those individual elements. In order to capture the purest expression of place, Quintessa has practiced organic techniques since its founding in 1989 and transitioned to biodynamic practices in 1996. When founders Agustin and Valeria Huneeus first set foot on the pristine, uncultivated property, they believed they had found something absolutely unique from what they had seen in Napa before. They knew that the land, spread over five hillsides, with different soil types and exposures, encompassed tremendous diversity that would lead Quintessa to become a world-class wine estate akin to the first-growths of the Old World. Today, the estate is planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Carménère on 26 vineyard blocks. Since the estate’s first vintage in 1994, Quintessa has quickly become globally recognized as a benchmark of the Napa Valley.
Bodega Numanthia Toro Numanthia 2015 ($54)
Bright cherry red with ruby highlights. Numanthia 2015 is a fresh, yet expressive wine. It first reveals a fruity nose with cranberries, blackcurrant and violet notes, then hints of cinnamon, cloves and black pepper followed by delicate and balsamic aromas with mint, eucalyptus and sandalwood. Firm on the palate with a harmonious, wide and balanced evolution. The wine’s freshness offers length and vivacity, while it coats the palate with supple tannins. It first develops ripe red fruit, cocoa, cinnamon, mineral and spicy notes such as graphite, nutmeg or cloves, giving complexity and elegance. This finish is gentle and long, with minty, minerals and red berry notes.
Sandeman Founders Reserve ($20)
Intense ruby red in color, brilliant and clean, Sandeman Founders Reserve features rich red fruit aromas with a touch of age to create an elegant reflection of powerful flavors. The fruit and fire characteristic of young classic Porto balanced with the finesse of age.
Oloroso Faraon Sherry ($18)
The Faraon Oloroso is aromatic with aromas of hazelnuts, walnuts, and raisins and a broad, dry flavor profile. It is recommended to be enjoyed with a hearty stew dish, but also pairs well with creamy cheeses.
Bodegas Tradicion VOS 20 Years Old Pedro Ximenez Sherry ($80)
Supremely thick, with a syrupy feel to the buckwheat, toasted brown bread, warm date and molten chocolate notes. Not tiring or top-heavy, this offers singed walnut, almond, fig paste and Turkish coffee details that impart energy through the finish.