For those of you lucky enough to have a fall season where you live, go outside and breath in the air. There is a special smell in the air that’s crisp but still dusty from summer. Some of us are fall lovers because we long for the psychological feeling of completeness of a season and we yearn for a cuddly winter. The harvest season is not just for wine grapes, but also pumpkins, carrots, artichokes, sunflowers and mushrooms.
These 6 wines match wonderfully with fall harvest foods.
Below are 6 intriguing wine varieties that are perfect for the fall mood. Some are unexpected, so be prepared to use your most adept wine-finding techniques to seek them out.
6 Intriguing Wines To Drink During Fall
‘Garr-Na-Cha’ is a party in your mouth.
Garnacha is actually Spanish in origin which means we should probably adopt its original name. Either way, ‘Garr-Na-Cha!’ is a party in your mouth.
Garnacha Tasting Notes
Ranging from rustic-and-leathery to vanilla-fruit-bomb, this is perhaps the most flamboyant of all the noble grapes. It has brilliant, sweetish, red fruit flavors from strawberry to raspberry and offers some of the highest natural alcohol levels (just behind big-boy Zinfandel). It will match up to any sort of fall squash recipes you throw its way while simultaneously sending tingles of warmth from your esophagus to your toes. Wines Pictured: (from left to right) 2012 Borsao “Tres Picos” Garnacha Campo de Borja, Spain 2012 Herman Story “On The Road” Grenache, Santa Barbara County, USA 2012 Herencia Altes Garnatxa Negra Terra Alta, Spain 2012 Lafage Cuvee Nicolas, Côtes Catalanes, Languedoc-Roussillon, France 2012 Bernabeleva “Camino de Navaherreros” Garnacha Vinos de Madrid, Spain 2012 Espelt “Old Vines” Garnacha Emporda, Spain 2011 4 Monos Garnacha/Syrah Vinos de Madrid, Spain 2011 4 Monos “La Danza del Viento” Garnacha Vinos de Madrid, Spain 2010 Pierre Usseglio “Cuvée de Mon Aïeul” Châteauneuf-du-Pape, France 2011 Sine Qua Non “Dark Blossom” Grenache, Sta Rita Hills, CA, USA
We often call this grape after its French name, Carignan . You can choose which word you prefer, but calling it ‘care-in-yen-ah’ pays homage to its homeland in Aragon, Spain. Cariñena used to only be used for high-volume commercial wines that often had an off-putting ‘hotdog’ aroma to to them. Today, there are several producers who are embracing the grape and making really awesome wine.
Cariñena Tasting Notes
Imagine sweet dried cranberries and cinnamon spice with a meaty Kielbasa sausage note. I know this sounds weird, but if you’re a savory wine freak (love wines like Nebbiolo and Tempranillo?) then this is definitely something that’s right up your alley. A great Cariñena will be bold, red fruit-driven, gamey and have smooth tannins. Cariñena will match wonderfully with any turkey or poultry dish you throw its way.
Wines Pictured: (from left to right) 2012 Domaine Lafage “Tessellae Old Vines” Côtes Catalanes, Languedoc-Roussillon, France 2010 Farmers Jane “Field Red”, Mendocino, CA, USA 2012 Domaine Jean Baptiste Senat “La Nine” Minervois, Languedoc-Roussillon, France 2013 Ferrer Ribière “Empreinte du Temps” Carignan Côtes Catalanes, Languedoc-Roussillon, France 2012 Louis-Antoine Luyt Carignan “Trequilemu” Maule Valley, Central Valleys, Chile 2010 Leon Barral Faugères, Languedoc-Roussillon, France
3. Frappato & Nerello Mascalese from Sicily
Sicily was reinvigorated after we fell in love with its champion red grape: Nero d’Avola. Today, we’re starting to realize that Sicily has much more awesomeness in the realm of delicious red wines. This includes Frappato and Nerello Mascalese (‘Frap-pato’ and ‘Nair-rello Mask-ah-leezay’) The 2 wines we are excited about are noticeably lighter than Nero D., however this is what makes them so perfect for fall.
Frappato Tasting Notes
Expect an explosion of sweetish red fruits in the spectrum of candied cranberry, strawberry and raspberries. This is great, but this is just the start! Enter savory and floral notes reminiscent of lavender, smoke, leather, bacon fat, saltiness and freshly cut green grass. This wine will treat you especially well during lunchtime drinking because it typically has light alcohol. Frappato might just be the perfect bacon burger wine. Afterall, wine-and-burger pairings deserve to be taken to the next level.
Nerello Mascalese Tasting Notes
If Sicily has anything similar to the delicacy of Pinot Noir, Nerello Mascalese is it. Most of the vines grow close to Mount Enta, so they give off a distinct smoky volcanic aroma along with a basket of fruity-flower flavors of cherry, raspberry, plum, rose and violet. It tends to sway on the sweeter, more plush, end of the ‘pinot noir-like’ spectrum but not without additional complexity of leather, pink peppercorn and cocoa.
Wines Pictured: (from left to right) 2011 Girolamo Russo ‘a Rina’ Etna Rosso, Sicily, Italy 2007 Tasca D’almerita Rosso Del Conte, Sicily, Italy 2011 Tenuta delle Terre Nere Etna Rosso, Sicily, Italy 2011 Passopisciaro Rosso, Sicily, Italy 2011 Azienda Agricola Arianna Occhipinti Il Frappato, Sicily, Italy Frank Cornelissen “MunJebel 9” Etna Rosso, Sicily, Italy
GSM as in Garnacha, Syrah and Mourvèdre are the classic three varieties in a southern Côtes du Rhône red wine. Because of the fame of Châteauneuf du Pape in the Rhône region, these three grapes have been planted nearly everywhere. The regions that suit the grapes offer lots of sunshine and, when done right, the wines taste like the sun was magically captured in the bottle.
GSM Wine Tasting Notes
Since it’s a blend of grapes, you should expect a mishmash of red and black fruit flavors. The wines from the Old World countries tend to have this tart herbaceous note that is often described as ‘garrigue’, which is a very unfamiliar word. But to attempt to describe it, the flavor of Old World Rhône is almost like unsweetened hibiscus and black tea with lavender, sage and a squeeze of lemon. In short, it’s complex. The New World versions tend to be juicier and more pure in their fruit flavors.
Wines Pictured: (from left to right) 2010 D’arenberg “D’arry’s Original” Shiraz/Grenache, South Australia 2009 Highflyer Centerline Red Wine Napa Valley, CA, USA 2012 Bedrock Wine Company Syrah North Coast, CA, USA 2012 Chateau Saint-Roch Chimeres Côtes du Roussillon, France 2012 Domaine de Bila Haut “Occultum Lapidem” Côtes du Roussillon-Villages, France 2012 Rotie Cellars Southern Red Blend, Columbia, Washington, USA 2008 Montes Star Angel “Aurelio’s Selection”, Paso Robles, CA, USA 2011 Avennia “Justine Red” GMS Columbia Valley, Washington, USA 2011 Limerick Lane Syrah/Grenache, Russian River Valley, CA, USA 2012 Château de Segriés, Côtes du Rhône, France 2010 Prospect 772 “The Brat” Rhône Blend Sierra Foothills, CA, USA 2011 Château de Ségriès “Cuvée Réservée” Lirac, Côtes du Rhône, France 2012 Domaine Grand Nicolet “Vieilles Vignes” Rasteau, Côtes du Rhône, France 2012 Andrew Murray “Espérance” Rhône Blend Central Coast, CA, USA
5. Albillo from Meseta Central, Spain
A rarely uttered grape variety in the US that’s growing in popularity all over Spain. Albillo can be found in the Meseta Central and behaves a lot like Chardonnay in terms of body, but with a distinctly Spanish fruity twist. It’s not an easy wine to find, but then again, that’s part of the fun.
Albillo Tasting Notes
Tasting of apple, honeysuckle, orange, wax lips and chamomile, Albillo has moderately high alcohol which gives it this nuance of sweetness. It’s often textured with oak aging which adds a swath of creaminess. Some examples are lower acidity so be prepared to drink it without food.
Wines Pictured: (from left to right) 2011 Bodega Bernabeleva Navaherreros Blanco, Madrid, Spain 2011 Bodega Marañones Picarana, Madrid, Spain 2011 4 Monos Albillo, Madrid, Spain 2010 Daniel Gomez Jimenez-Landi ‘Las Uvas de la Ira’ Albillo Vino de la Tierra, Castilla y Leon, Spain 2012 Bodegas Ponce ‘Reto’, Manchuela, Spain
6. Pinot Bianco from Alto Adige
A strange pick for fall until you realize it’s a surprisingly awesome match with shrimp and curry dishes. These cuisines will undoubtedly warm the cockles of your soul this fall, so why not have a Pinot Bianco or German Weißburgunder (weess-burgund-err) sitting in your fridge ready to support your midweek take out.
Pinot Bianco Tasting Notes
Depending on the vintage, the flavor of Pinot Bianco from Alto Adige will range from fruity pineapple and white peach flavors to green apple and sage with loads of minerals. The wines from Alto Adige have high acidity and the best versions of Pinot Bianco have a rich honeycomb-like aroma that haunts you because the wine tastes perfectly dry.
Wines Pictured: (from left to right) 2011 Tenute Costa Lahnhof Pinot Bianco Südtirol-Alto Adige, Italy 2012 Nals Margreid Sirmian Pinot Bianco, Südtirol-Alto Adige, Italy 2011 Cantina Terlan Pinot Bianco / Weissburgunder, Südtirol-Alto Adige, Italy 2010 San Michele Appiano Sanct Valentin Pinot Bianco, Südtirol-Alto Adige, Italy 2012 Kellerie St. Magdalena Weissburgunder / Pinot Bianco, Südtirol-Alto Adige, Italy 2012 Elena Walch Pinot Bianco, Südtirol-Alto Adige, Italy 2011 Cantina Terlan “Vorberg” Pinot Bianco Riserva, Südtirol-Alto Adige, Italy