Autumn is a magical time of the year. There are the rusty colours and a hundred hues of brown and reds, heart-warming stews, and of course, the wine.
I am delighted that Autumn is finally here. There’s nothing I like more than to cosy up with a glass of something seasonal and delicious without worrying a fruit fly might dive bomb into it.
I also enjoy reflecting on new wines I’ve found that are perfect for the cooler weather, along with varietals that I haven’t had in a while but still hold up.
It is not necessary to be a wine expert to understand the most important tenet of truly enjoying wine: drink what you like. That said, as the days get shorter and temperatures drop, our appetites begin craving richer food.
Spice is in season during the Autumn but let’s remind ourselves that there are no rules governing what autumn wines should be drunk at the back end of the year. In this post, I’ll list some wines that I believe you might include in your autumn wines experience.
White versus Red Autumn Wines
Of course, everyone has their wine preference, however, research shows that this is the time of year that people begin consuming more red. As we inch closer to winter, these reds become fruitier and warmer.
It’s no secret that chilled white wines are refreshing, while reds are warming. These are the two secrets when choosing a good wine for the fall months.
Remember though, those same refreshing, white wine, acids I mentioned in a previous post (Last of the Summer Wines), will benefit your winter meals, too, cutting fat and enhancing those foods you crave during the cold months.
So, rather than cutting out white wines entirely, winter is the time to opt for white wines with the gravitas to accent the richness and flavours of cold-weather favourites. Look for bottles with more minerality and depth, and pair them with all of your favourite winter dishes.
Also, the lighter, brighter reds you might have enjoyed from the garden BBQ over summer are still relevant now. However, autumn will see them served at warmer temperatures and with richer ingredients.
Criteria for Autumn Wines
My criteria are pretty subjective, to be honest, so stick to the caveat that wine is fun and doesn’t need to be that serious. Also, as alluded to above, ‘red’ is not a criterion. I believe every type of wine deserves a chance to be drank year-round, be it white, pink, orange, or whatever colour you fancy.
So, without further ado, my four criteria for Autumn wines are:
Medium to full-bodied: Unlike summertime, it’s not just about surviving the heat and staying hydrated. For the Autumn we can graduate to more robust varieties.
Earthy: They don't have to taste like dirt, but earthy wines complement Autumn produce (root vegetables, mushrooms, game, pumpkin, etc).
Cosy: Hard to measure, but you know it when you feel it. Can involve a hint of residual sugar, which results in a slightly sweeter wine.
Blends: I don’t know why but blends rather than single varietals seem to be more popular in Autumn. I’ll include them in my list below.
11 Autumn Wines to Taste
- Viognier; a grape that makes full-bodied, super aromatic white wines.
- Pinot Blanc; for me it’s a bit rounder and silkier in texture so it’d be heftier than a Pinot Grigio/Gris
- Vouvray; a French wine made with the Chenin Blanc grape that’s full-bodied, ranges from dry to a little sweet to very sweet and has great acidity.
- White Côtes du Rhone; full-bodied, wonderfully aromatic, and generally made with a blend of Viognier, Roussane, and Marsanne.
- Sparkling wine; instead of the bone-dry sparklers favoured during summer. Try one that has a hint of sweetness for the autumn months.
-Red Côtes du Rhone; blends made up of primarily Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre. Rhone reds have great body, spice, and earthiness to keep you warm.
-Red Bordeaux; Red Bordeaux is usually a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc. It’s dry, earthy, and powerful with nice acidity and spiciness.
-Rioja; a red blend from Spain that uses Tempranillo as its main grape. It has a wonderful spiciness along with warm vanilla notes, making it fall VERY high on the cosy spectrum.
-Red Burgundy; a wine made exclusively with the Pinot Noir grape. It is dry, delicate, refined, and earthy with light tannins, which makes them wonderful for the Autumn.
- Sangiovese; Aromas of tobacco, cherries and ripe plums greet you before your palate is brimming with blackberries and vanilla.
-Beaujolais; I had to include this one as they are fun wines with grippy tannins and juicy red berry fruits.
A Few Other Wines You Might Not Be Familiar With
- Sémillon: Find this white wine with some age or oak on it and be prepared for notes of honey, almond, and an unctuous texture.
- Marsanne/Roussanne: a white from the Northern Rhône, blended to make a rich, medium-to-full-bodied white with striking perfume aromas, creamy pear, and nut flavours.
- Carignan: is known for its cranberry, cured meat, and baking spice flavours.
The Autumn Migration from White to Red
This is the time of year for that great annual migration—from white wine to red. Temps are dipping, fireplaces are crackling to life and there’s a roast chicken in the oven for the first time since March.
You probably don’t want your white wine to be as searingly crisp as an Autumn day, but there are unlimited delicious ways to get around that in the universe of white wines I have mentioned above.
I have also mentioned many reds but could summarise them to right bank Bordeaux wines from the region of Saint-Emilion or Pomerol, aged Sangiovese from Tuscany or Gran Reserva Rioja are all perfect styles for these months.
Open them 30 minutes in advance of dinner, serve them in large glasses at about 16ºC and enjoy how they evolve over the course of the meal.
As the days become shorter and the nights draw in, the thought of our heating bills going through the roof is daunting, to say the least. Maybe one of the few little pleasures we’ll retain is to cosy-up with a glass of soul-warming wine.
If you are looking to replenish your wine racks with soul-warming wine, please contact myself or any of the wine team here in Green Acres for a chat.
Talk soon - James