There are many delicious beverages to be had when the leaves begin to change and the weather starts to cool off. But while apple cider, tea, and hot chocolate are great choices for getting into the swing of the season, there is something unmatched about enjoying a glass of an excellent fall wine. Full-bodied whites, as well as light- to medium-bodied reds, are often the best complement to crisper temperatures and harvest foods.
Here are a few we suggest when trying to find your next fall favorite.
Sparkling Wine – Characterized by its fizzy texture and taste, sparkling wine can range anywhere from very dry “brut” styles to much sweeter “doux” varieties. More often than not, a sparkling wine is either a white or rosé and, for finer quality wines, receives its carbon dioxide carbonation through the natural Charmat fermentation process. The most common example of sparkling wine is Champagne, exclusively from the Champagne region of France, but other choices include Prosecco, Brachetto, and Shiraz.
Suggestion: NV Coutier Brut Rose, $44.95, available at Crush Wine & Spirits at 153 East 57th Street.
Oaked Chardonnay – You can never go wrong with a well-rounded chardonnay to accompany your meal or finish off your day. For the autumn seasons, however, you want to look more for what’s called an “oaked” chardonnay. This refers to the use of oak barrels in the fermentation process. Aged chardonnay in oak has a richer flavor than its unoaked, citrusy counterpart. Anticipate tasting notes of vanilla, butter, baked apple, and coconut.
Suggestion: 2015 La Crema Chardonnay, $22.99, or 2013 Hyde de Villaine Chardonnay, $64.95, both available at Crush Wine & Spirits.
Pinot Noir – Originating from the Burgundy region of France, pinot noir can have a range of flavors based on its vintage and where its grapes are grown. A juicy red wine, pinot noir offers fantastic oak-aged notes accompanied by cranberry, cherry, and raspberry fruit flavors. Often referred to as a “forest floor” wine, pinot noir is characterized by a woodsy smell and taste reminiscent of wet leaves, tobacco, and clove.
Suggestion: 2014 Tyler Pinot Noir Santa Barbara County, $33.99, available at Crush Wine & Spirits.
Merlot – A first class wine with a little less robustness than its cousin, cabernet sauvignon, merlot is an excellent choice of wine that pairs well with almost any food as it sits in the middle of the red wine spectrum. Smooth in texture, merlot can range in taste based on where it is fermented into wine. Cool climates, such as those found in France, Italy, and Chile, present more earthy, roasted flavors like tobacco, espresso, and charcoal. Warmer climates, such as California, Australia, and Argentina, produce a more fruit-forward wine with tasting notes like raspberry, mocha, nutmeg, and vanilla.
Suggestion: 2014 Whitehall Lane Merlot Napa, $25.95, available at Crush Wine & Spirits.
Whether you’re planning a dinner party at your luxury apartment in Brooklyn or an evening wrapped in a blanket with a good book, break out your wine glasses and get ready to enjoy the fall season to its fullest.