You love wearing a breezy sundress or shorts and a tee on a cool, fall day? If you’re comfortable, wear it (and yes, I know a few friends who do just that)! As for me, my wardrobe usually reflects the weather. Cool days beg for my favorite comfy sweater and pants, cooler nights warrant a skirt, light jacket, and boots. Just as the seasons change, so do my clothes…and more often than not, my wine choices.

A few weeks ago, a friend and I engaged in a bit of late afternoon noshing at one of my favorite Spanish restaurants in Chicago. It was still summer and we found a table outside, yet there was a noticeable chill in the air – I put on my jacket. We ordered a light and crisp rosé (hey, it was summer!) with a few tapas. The wine was delicious, but I felt that I should have asked for a bolder white, a more powerful rosé, or even a red wine…I pulled my jacket tighter – I was cold!

During the drive home, I considered other wines that could have been more satisfying on that cool night. Even though I wasn’t wearing a sundress, my wine choice felt like one. What selections would be delicious when pumpkin carving, hay rides, or autumn drives would be a part of the day’s agenda? Enjoying a unique wine that’s a transition from those that are crisp and refreshing to those that are bold and rich could be similar to wearing a cozy sweater. When there’s a nip in the air, no one needs a wine that’s too light or too heavy. Epiphany!

fall wines
Soon after that experience, I had the opportunity to chat with Amanda Herrell, Beverage Director for ENO Wine Room, about her fall wine favorites. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect.

Amanda prefaced our conversation with the phrase, “drink what you like!” (the sundress effect?), then continued. Fall foods such as vegetable soups, braised dishes, and “peasant” food with authentic layers of flavors are often the reason wine lovers change their selections. For example, Amanda suggests mushroom soup enjoyed with a glass of Cru Beaujolais (Amanda’s favorite is from Fleurie), a leg of lamb with rosemary complemented by a Cabernet Franc from the Loire Valley, or a traditional Italian dish with a pour of Nerello Mascalese from Sicily. I have to agree. These are excellent choices along with more of my fall favorites, Pinot Noir, Tempranillo, or Grenache based wines.

fall wines
Likewise, Amanda thought that a pumpkin-apple puree with scallops and herbs would be a memorable pairing with a white Burgundy. And yes, white wines such as Italian varietals, Timorasso from the Piedmont (I need to try this!) or a single vineyard Soave, have a place at any of her fall gatherings. She explained that white wines characterized by “more weight” are terrific “transition” choices: Rhone blends of Marsanne and Roussanne, a Viognier that isn’t overly floral, or a Sauvignon Blanc with a touch of Semillon would be exceptional with typical fall foods.

As for rosé wines, Amanda reiterated that those with more texture and “weight” are optimal; those from Italy or the Rhone Valley are lovely for the autumn season. And Champagne? Drink that beauty any time!!

fall wines
Before you grab a (standard) favorite from the shelf during your next visit to the wine shop, consider some of Amanda’s favorite fall wines. And before you leave home, think about wearing something other than a sundress or shorts.

Cheers! ~ Cindy


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  1. Reply

    Refreshing articke Cindy, and can I oh so relate! As I sit in Cascais just west of Lisbon sipping a chilled “Vinho Verde” in the sun a chilly fall breeze gave me goose bumps. Tonight I’ll reach for a Douro red.

    Keep a lookout- the French #winophiles are virtually going to Beaujolais for crus next month. Loving Amanda’s tip!

    • Cindy Rynning


      Oh, Lynn, I wish I was with you right now!! Enjoy that Douro red tonight and yes, I’ll check out the #wineophiles for November. Cheers!!

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