Falling for Flavor
A nighttime chill in the air and the abundance of farm-fresh ingredients makes autumn an interesting time for wine pairings as root vegetables, grilled meats, and savory salads are thrust back onto menus. From chalky, full-bodied whites in Spain, France, and Napa Valley, to deeply layered reds from Australia, Argentina, Italy, and France, here are fall-friendly selections.
2016 Vivanco White Wine, Rioja, Spain
Grassy, green apple notes mingle with salinity and hints of floral on this white Tempranillo, which features three grapes—50% Viura, 35% Tempranillo Blanco, and 15% Maturana Blanco. This blend was actually the world’s first; Tempranillo Blanco and Maturana Blanca are unique to Rioja
2016 Ferraton Père & Fils Samorens Vin Blanc, Côtes-du-Rhône, France
Aromas of white blossom and rose petals—along with peach notes—contribute to this wine’s fresh profile (60% White Grenache and 40% Clairette). Its citrus backbone adds weight, making it ideal for food pairings. Crisp and clean, you can drink this with just about anything.
2015 Robert Mondavi Winery Fumé Blanc, Napa Valley, California
A grassy, dry profile with creamy lemon and guava notes, the Sauvignon Blanc (96%), plus 4% Semillon from the winery’s To Kalon vineyard, introduces astringency and salinity. This wine would pair well with raw bar items.
2015 19 Crimes Red Blend, South Eastern Australia
Cedar and spice on the nose carries through to the finish. Concentrated, brambly raspberry notes—and ripe red fruit throughout, with a tinge of vanilla—this one will pair well with grilled meats or chocolate desserts.
2015 Domaine La Tour Boisée “Chateau Tour Boisée” “Marielle et Frederique” Vendanges Minervois, Languedoc-Roussillon, France
This blend of 40% Grenache, 40% Syrah, and 20% Mourvèdre results in a jammy profile that explodes with raspberries and blackberries, followed by refined tannins. While the finish is dry, the wine is sweeter on the front end.
2014 Graffigna “Centenario” Reserve Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina
From Argentina’s second-oldest winery comes this estate Malbec, with cedar aromas easing into a full-bodied palate of concentrated dark fruit. Perfect for spicy foods or root vegetables, which complement the wine's earthiness, this is a value-oriented Malbec of superior quality
2013 Perticaia Montefalco Rosso D.O.C., Italy
Leathery and oaky with a spicy backbone, this Montefalco (70% Sangiovese, 15% Sangrantino, and 15% Colorino) offers a dry profile and elegant tannins, with notes of cassis and black plums. Charcuterie plates and pasta dishes are a fine match.
2014 MacRostie Winery & Vineyards Pinot Noir, Wildcat Mountain, Sonoma Coast, California
Aromas of leather and smoke lead into a textured, almost velvety, profile. Concentrated dark fruit—with notes of currants, plums, and black cherries—intensify with spice near the finish. More of a savory style of Pinot Noir, and lighter in body, this would drink well with autumn’s vegetables.