Six Key Wine Categories for Fall

Be ready for any occasion with this list of need-to-have wines


There are an infinite number of wine categories. The debate over their definitions will be endless. The following six categories are broad, general descriptions. They are accessible to the every day drinker. Present these categories to any guest in your home, and their tastes are sure to fit into at least one or more. Keep a few bottles of each on hand for a well-rounded collection.

Crisp Whites

Refreshingly crisp, light white wines are delicious any time of year. Ratchet up the intensity of your crisp whites and look for wines that will be just as fabulous in summer or fall. Pinot Bianco is a great choice. There are tons of great options available from Italy, Alsace, Oregon  Austria, Germany and Hungary. 

Two to Try:

Elena Walch

A fairly rich style of Pinot Bianco that delivers a classic combination of fruit and minerality.

Paul Blanck

This is a lighter weight style of Pinot Blanc, but one that shows off the typical aromatics attained in Alsace.

Rich Whites

There are several options for rich whites. Chardonnay is the number one choice of wine drinkers almost everywhere. Barrel aging creates the creamy butter bombs for which California is so well-known. Medium-bodied versions from a place like Burgundy are a bit more even-keeled. Still cooler climate regions like  New Zealand, Chile and even Oregon offer yet another take.

Two to Try:

Domaine Faiveley Montagny Chardonnay

A classic Burgundy that is surprisingly affordable since it comes from a little known appellation.

Kumeu River Chardonnay

One of New Zealand’s premier producers of Chardonnay, made in a style that showcases the purity of fruit which New Zealand can attain.

Rich Rosé

Many people are talking about drinking up all of their rosés because the rosé season is coming to an end along with sunscreen season and T-shirt season. But not everything we use in summer needs to be strictly seasonal.

Rosé wines can and should be enjoyed year round, particularly when they are made in a richer style. The wines are food friendly and fun to drink, not to mention ideal for enjoying during the cooling hours of a late summer sunset.

Two to Try:

Waterbrook Rosé of Sangiovese

This is an absolutely delicious rosé, packed with zesty fruit in a modestly rich style that is perfectly balanced for pairing with lightly spicy foods.

Bodegas Luis Mounier Fincas Las Nubes Rosé

You might not think of a Malbec/Cab combo as a great rosé, but together they produce a nice, meaty style with richness and complexity.

Lighter Reds

Light reds are always appropriate and can be some of the most delicious wines around. Light and juicy with fine tannins and bright red fruit, they can pair well with food or be equally attractive on their own. Cool climate, light-footed, pale red Pinot Noir is the perfect entree into fall.

Two to Try:

De Ponte Cellars Dundee Hills Pinot Noir

A real standout from Oregon, embodying the purity and elegance you've come to love from Pinot Noir.

Cantina Terlano Pinot Noir 2018

Pinot Noir (or Pinot Nero) from the Alto Adige tends to be light and fresh, and this bottling from Cantina Terlano captures the style perfectly with pretty fruit and a slightly edgy texture.

Medium Weight Reds

High temperatures mixed with high tannins and high alcohol is not a preferred combinatiion in the summer months, but there is hope to be found in medium-weight reds.

Stick with something medium-bodied with moderate alcohol and softer tannins and you’ll be set to pair these wines with late summer and autumn fare. Hit the barbie with a few steaks tand pair them with Carmenere. The slightly herbal-toned fruit flavors love grilled beef and at their best these are quintessential medium-bodied wines.

Two to Try:

Oveja Negra Single Vineyard Carmenere

Oveja Negra is a great introduction to Carmenere for those looking for a more modern styled wine full of blue and black fruits.

Apaltagua Reserva Carmenere Colchagua Valley

For a more classic example of Carmenere replete with herbal and vegetal accents to black and red fruits, check out this Apaltagua.


The bubbles of Prosecco are round, smooth and approachale on a late summer/early fall day. They don't grate on the palate like some other bubbles might. Gentle bubbles allow fruit flavors to shine. "Frizzante Prosecco" is a perfect example. Keep a bottle on hand to break out during Sunday brunch.

Two to Try:

Le Contesse Prosecco Frizzante

Gently fizzy and very pure, this is a classic example of the Frizzante style.

Toffoli Prosecco di Conegliano Frizzante

If full on Prosecco is more your thing, the Toffoli is a great value.

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