Many autumnal moments pass with little or no fanfare, from plucking apples and planting mums to picking over your child’s trick-or-treat booty. Celebrate the glorious but unsung rites of the season with these perfectly matched pours.
The First Fireplace Fire
Mark the hearth heating season with an Atalon 2010 Pauline’s Cuvée, Napa Valley (93 points; $30). Merlot-based, it holds all five classic Bordeaux varieties, and will only improve as the room warms up. If your party needs a backup bottle try a Dominio de Tares 2007 Bembibre (92 points; $48) a lush, full-body Mencía that’s built for chilly nights.
Cleaning Your Apple-Picking Bounty
Anything involving apples calls for a light Chardonnay teased in autumnal overtones. The 2010 Carpe Diem (92 points; $28) from Anderson Valley is clean, complex and crisp, with perfumed layers of luscious apple, pear and honey.
The Post-Trick-or-Treat Wind Down
After a long night’s stroll around the neighborhood with your kids, and the requisite rifling through their goody bags, break out a bottle of Borjón 2010 Diferente (91 points; $45). It’s a softly spicy, sexy blend of Zinfandel and Barbera from California’s Shenandoah Valley, full of dusty blackberry and cinnamon that can withstand a few chocolate bar bites.
Tailgating At Your Alma Mater
Rhône reds, with their robust flavors and warming natures, are perfect for tailgating in the crisp fall weather. This E. Guigal 2009 Gigondas (91 points; $34) boasts hints of leather, clove and pepper that will match virtually any parking-lot grilled meat you throw at it.
After Leaf Raking and Mum Planting
The 2011 Foris Vineyards Rogue Valley Pinot Noir (88, $22) shows the elegance of the vintage in Oregon, dancing lightly with notes of strawberry and mint laced with bark—perfect for sipping while the scents of dried leaves and overturned soil still linger.
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