The advent of fall and of the late-season holidays signal an end to the wines that helped us survive this summer’s heat wave. Gone are the light-bodied, crisp, not necessarily complex flavors that paired so effortlessly with dinner off the grill and warm nights huddled inside in the air conditioning. Rising to replace them now that cooler weather has arrived are more food-friendly, flexible and elaborate wines that best accompany rich dinners, chilly nights and a season of parties.
Gewurztraminer is ideal for the fall. The medium-bodied, spicy white wine can be variably sweet, so you’ll want to find the one you prefer. But they are ideal with a traditional Thanksgiving feast and pair well with most seasonal spices.
Syrah/Shiraz stands up to fall seasonal flavors without the strict traditional food pairings of Cabernet and without the intensity of Merlot. Better flexibility, soft tannins and a slightly more delicate body combine with frequent flavor of cherry, currant and oak to create an ideal fall wine. The US, Australia and South Africa all have good wines that are less costly than their European cousins.
Light and fruity and as close to a white wine as a red wine can get, Beaujolais Nouveau isn’t just a wine, it’s a tradition in late November when it is releases to the world annually. Sure its popularity is at least half creative marketing. But it is also a festive wine, inoffensive and an ideal offering at seasonal get-togethers.