Now that the old saw about not wearing white after Labor Day has gone the way of the dinosaurs, it’s time to take that newfound freedom of wearing what you like and apply it to drinking what you want. In the case of white wines, why give up something you like just because the temperatures are cooling?
Contrary to some beliefs, you can seasonally shift from light, summery white wines to those with more richness for the changing seasons. Perfect to sip on their own, or to pair with heartier autumn fare, here are nine wines spanning the globe to get in your fridge this fall.
Biecher & Schaal 2014 Schoenenbourg Grand Cru Riesling (Alsace); $30, 94 points. Ripe Mirabelle plums and tart, red apples mix to give a very fruity, appetizing aspect which on the palate is joined by ripe, lemony freshness. This has the balance and drama everyone wishes for in dry Riesling: both generous fruit and ample freshness. Lovely now but with the balance and concentration to last. Lovely Mirabelle finish of immense length. Drink 2016–2026. —Anne Krebiehl MW
Brokenwood 2009 Oakey Creek Vineyard Semillon (Hunter Valley); $32; 93 points. This benchmark producer holds its top Semillons back for five years prior to release, which gives consumers a terrific opportunity to try properly cellared Semillon. The 2009 Oakey Creek is surprisingly rich for a wine having only 11% abv, with a slightly creamy texture and a plump mouthfeel. White pepper, yellow plum and green apple notes finish long and crisp. Drink now–2030, but cellar through at least 2020 to develop marmalade and toast characters. Cellar Selection. —Joe Czerwinski
King Estate 2014 Unity King Estate Vineyard-Pfeiffer Vineyards Pinot Gris (Oregon); $24, 92 points. Editors’ Choice. Sourced 60% from the King Estate Vineyard and 40% from the Pfeiffer Vineyards, this sports lovely scents of melon, grapefruit and pear, with accents of sweet grain. Flavors follow in lockstep, with the juicy grapefruit taking the lead, along with tongue-tickling acids. Editors’ Choice. —Paul Gregutt
Mark Ryan 2014 Viognier (Columbia Valley); $30, 91 points. The aromas of peach, flowers, lemon, lees and barrel spices are alluring and nuanced. The medium-weight flavors are tart and spritely, with a citrus and lees streak running throughout. —Sean P. Sullivan
Quivira 2015 Sauvignon Blanc (Sonoma County); $17, 91 points. Made in a style that will appeal to fans of both creamy, fruity richness and more austere notes of fresh grass, this wine is dry, herbal and juicy. It offers accents of vanilla and white plum, as well as the aforementioned fruitiness of peach and pear. —Virginie Boone
Parducci 2014 Small Lot Blend Chardonnay (Mendocino County); $13, 90 points. Nicely balanced, full of tasty fruit flavors, and accented by light vanilla and nutmeg, this is a seamless wine that has lots of appeal. At this reasonable price, it will make a great go-to choice—the kind to stock by the case. Best Buy. —Jim Gordon
Tenuta delle Terre Nere 2015 Bianco (Etna); $20, 90 points. Alluring scents of spring blossom, Spanish broom, crushed stone and ripe orchard fruit meld together in the glass. The medium-bodied palate is a bit rounder and juicer than previous vintages although it still retains elegance, offering white peach, green apple and juicy lemon drop alongside energizing mineral. Fresh acidity brightens the creamy flavors. —Kerin O’Keefe
Albert Bichot 2014 Sécret de la Famille (Bourgogne); $23; 88 points. From vineyards close to Meursault, this brisk white wine is nicely touched by acidity and lemon flavors. A light layer of wood gives it a broader character. The crispness of this wine brings a bright, lively aftertaste. —Roger Voss
Mullineux 2014 Kloof Street Old Vine Chenin Blanc (Swartland); $20; 88 points. Ripe aromas of honeydew, orange creamsicle, grilled apple and almond are framed by a hint of fynbos on the nose of this accessible Chenin. The plush, round palate boasts notes of tangerine, apple flesh and pineapple that finish crisp and clean. Drink now–2018. —Lauren Buzzeo