What to Toast for Fall’s Best Moments

Five autumn milestones, five pitch-perfect wines.

What wine pairs best with leaf-peeping? Find out below, as our editors crack open their bottle picks for autumnal sipping and hosting.

The Moment: Tailgate Grilling

The Bottle: Mitolo 2013 Jester Shiraz (McLaren Vale)

Your alma mater may have started the season 0-4, but you still take tailgating seriously—and this hearty Shiraz is no joke. The smoky, meaty nose blends right into the char-grilled scents of the day, while the bold fruit flavors leave a lasting impression—like the indentation in the field left by your quarterback after he’s been sacked for the fifth time. —Joe Czerwinski


The Moment: The First Snow Flurry

The Bottle: Channing Daughters 2013 Mosaico (The Hamptons, Long Island)

As temperatures drop and those familiar autumnal aromas of fallen leaves and wood smoke fill the air, you’ll be craving slow, simmered braises again. Whether you choose a root vegetable stew, chicken tagine or beef chili, this aromatic white blend’s exotic haze of cinnamon, orange peel and turmeric spices will pair brilliantly. It’s lusciously phenolic in mouthfeel, with a core of dried peach and pear flavors that lingers on and on. —Anna Lee C. Iijima


The Moment: Sunny Indian-Summer Saturday

The Bottle: Lone Madrone 2012 La Mezcla Roja (Paso Robles)

It’s early October and you’ve already yanked your last haul of heirloom tomatoes, but that Indian summer sun won’t quit. So, fire up the grill for some burgers, toss the last of your summer produce in a salad, and throw a bottle of this Counoise-Cinsault blend in the cooler for a few minutes. The mild chill will accentuate the wine’s summery hibiscus and rose petal aromas, while the red fruit and aniseed flavors prepare you for the cool months ahead. —Matt Kettmann


The Moment: Game 7 of the World Series

The Bottle: Koyle 2012 Royale Los Lingues Vineyard Carmenère (Colchagua Valley)

It’s the last game of the year for “The Boys of Summer,” winner take all. Start early by getting a pot of chili or Bolognese sauce going; make sure your rice, cornbread or pasta is ready by first pitch; and, most important, open a bottle of this ripe, lusty, earthy, spicy Chilean red to drink throughout the game. You’ll enjoy the wine all the more knowing that the guy who made it, Cristóbal “Toti” Undurraga, saw his first live Major League Baseball game this year—and loved it. —Michael Schachner


The Moment: Leaf-Peeping Camping

The Bottle: Ktima Biblia Chora 2011 Ovilos (Pangeon)

Feet up, glass in hand and a canopy of riotous color overhead, you’re taking a breather from the frenzy of daily life by communing with friends. There’s grilled chicken on the fire pit and some homemade potato salad ready to go. Reach for this versatile white blend of Assyrtiko and Sémillon from Greece. Its crisp character echoes the cool and refreshing bite of the autumn air, but there’s body enough to keep you warm even after the fire fades to a soft glow. —Susan Kostrzewa

8 Football Season Snack Recipes with Wine Pairings

Published on September 22, 2015
Topics: Fall wines, Seasonal, Wine Trends



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