Transitional seasonal drinking — it’s an art. Not to imply you have to transition your drinking as the seasons change from summer to fall. If you’re Chardonnay all day, all year, you do you. But if you like to adjust your imbibing schedule with the tipping of earth’s axis, and all the leaf-crunching, pumpkin-spiced seasonality that comes with it, we’ve got some wine recs.
Not that we’re saying goodbye to sun worship just yet. These wines are more like a stepping stone, halfway clinging to the flip-flop refreshment factor of summer but also giving a nod to the contemplative sweater weather of fall. The reds are gonna be a bit lighter than what you’ll get into later in the season, and the whites are gonna be a bit richer than the racy, juicy whites we’ve all been knocking back — ice or no ice, shoes or no shoes — all summer long.
More contemplation, less rapid intoxication. You get the idea. And to enhance your seasonal drinking experience, might we suggest several fall recipes for you to pair with these wines?
If you aren’t drinking Semillon, late summer/early fall is the perfect time to start. A bit richer than Sauvignon Blanc, but it can still have flavors of citrus and wet stone, like this offering from Amavi. The summer-to-fall transition comes in with hints of almond and orchard fruit (green apple and soft pear). Get into this wine, then tell your friends.
Another white wine grape you’ll want to get into as September continues, slightly richer and with lower acidity, but not at all flabby. Instead, it’s juicy and aromatic, with citrus and lychee flavors overlaying a bit of spice and stone.
White Burgundy isn’t nearly as expensive as its red counterpart, and you still get a lot of character. Fresh and citrusy with a wisp of sweetness over notes of apricot and stone fruit, and balanced out by a racy little bit of spice and refreshing acidity. September into fall, a lovely end-of-the-day kinda wine.
Unlike Prosecco, Franciacorta is essentially Italian sparkling wine made in the methode Champenoise, giving it a bit more complexity on the palate. Berlucchi’s Brut Rose has bright berry flavors, but they’re accented with wet stone and softened with a bit of toast. Bubbles and citrus cleanse the palate, making this an ideal “so long, summer!” toaster.
Not as light as some light red wines, but it drinks real easy, especially with a slight chill (kinda perfect for late summer). No oak aging here and tannins are modest, meaning all of that juicy, cherry-bright fruit goes down smooth on a soft medium body.
We’ve recommended Nebbiolo for early fall before, and for good reason. It’s got fruit, complexity, and depth without being heavy. The 2013 bottling from Fontanafredda’s got classic floral rosy notes coupled with tart cherry and a bit of spice — your best buddy for late-summer grilling.
For some reason it always occurs to us to drink Lambrusco as summer wanes into fall. Something about the combination of dry, soft fruit and bubbles. Here you get a very affordable Lambrusco that isn’t too rich, instead giving off currant and raspberry flavors that dry up on the tongue with a little refreshing sparkle. (‘Cause the sun ain’t gone, yet.)