Top Wines for Fall


As the season changes, so should your wine list. Learn what’s hot for this fall season.

It is that time of year again. The leaves are turning yellow, football season has commenced, and the Pumpkin Spice latte is back on the Starbucks menu. As your menu changes to reflect fall flavors, your wine list should, too.

“Fall wines tend to emanate the signs of fall, both in color and in taste,” says Michael Taylor, senior wine director of ENO Wine Room in Chicago’s InterContinental Hotel.

Alsatian Riesling

Many people stereotype Riesling as sweet, but Alsatian Rieslings are fermented to dryness. They have fuller body and higher alcohol than their German counterparts due to the “rain-shadow effect” created by the Vosges Mountains. It is one of France’s driest and sunniest wine regions with a semicontinental climate that allows the grapes to ripen to higher sugar levels while retaining their naturally high acidity. Typical aromas include dried apricot, overripe peach, candied ginger, honey, petrol, and slate.

“My favorite fall wine is Riesling, which is great transitional wine from the hot and sticky summer season to the cold and wet winter months,” says Scott Smith, sommelier and managing partner of the Rockford, Ill.-based SBS Consulting Group. “It pairs exceptionally well with traditional late-summer and early-winter dishes.”

Food pairing: scallops, turkey, veal, curried butternut squash soup

Burgundy Pinot Noir

Wine production in Burgundy dates back to 200 A.D. and fetches some of the highest prices at auction internationally. For example, in June 2011 during an auction at Christie's Geneva, a private American buyer bid $123,889 for a 750 ml bottle of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti 1945. Pinot Noir is a thin-skin varietal, making it a prima donna demanding perfect conditions. The quality is heavily dependent on producer, vineyard and vintage, creating the allure for the perfect Burgundy. Typical aromas for Pinot Noir include red cherries, strawberries, and cranberries, violets, tomato leaf, cured meats and black tea.

“In preparation for fall, I am putting away the Sauvignon Blanc glasses to prime the Burgundies,” says Taylor. His favorite Burgundy for fall is by François Mikulski from Pommard, which is located in the Côte de Beaune.

Food pairing: chicken, turkey, duck, truffles, risotto



I love my wine! Riesling is actually my favorite. I am from New Jersey and we have a great place called Shoppers Vineyard in Clifton. They have a lot of great fall wines!!! Some of them seem super interesting. I can't wait to try them out!


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