With the onset of autumn it’s time, for me at least, to start the long march back to bigger types of red wines! I love this season; it’s a time full of contrasts, warm days, cool night, fresh produce, hearty flavors, and the best part? I can cook again without over heating my apartment! So what types of wine go with a long day of cooking? Glad you asked.

When I start braising again (not to mention roasting and baking) certain types of wine take center stage in my kitchen. Not only is it a frequent addition to the braising liquid, but while spending hours in the kitchen it’s also a frequent addition to my glass. The rich flavors of slow cooked meals deserve to be paired with types of wine that can highlight the layered flavors of both the meal and the wine. I’ve rounded up 7 of my favorite types of wine for autumn with tips on pairing them!

Barbera


Truth be told Barbera is one of my favorite types of wines any time of the year. In the summer a bright, fresh Barbera with grilled vegetable can be magic, but as autumn approaches I tend to prefer a richer style. I even enjoy Barbera with a little bit of oak in it, shockingly enough. Whether oaked or unoaked, great Barbera has zesty acidity and rich fruit that makes it a natural with roast pork or duck dishes.

Two Types of Barbera Wine to Try

2007 Vietti Barbera d'Asti Tre Vigne
- Crisp and bright with the rich fruit of the vintage.

2006 Sebastiani Vineyards & Winery Barbera - Deep and fruity with an oaky edge.

Shiraz Blends


Shiraz Blends from Australia are a type of wine that has gotten more than it’s fair share of bad press lately. Truth be told these rich wines can really satisfy. In fact the style, really based on French wines, has spread to California and beyond. Their deep fruit and spicy character makes them perfect the perfect type of wine for braised beef, especially if there’s a bit of spice involved.

Two Types of Shiraz Blends to Try

2007 Vina Robles Red4 Blend - Packed with rich, sweet Paso Robles fruit.

2008 Marquis Philips Sarah's Blend
- Spicy oak and bold fruit in an opulent style.

Malbec


As a type of wine Malbec falls somewhere between Barbera and Shiraz. Like Barbera it can be light to full bodied, but it has a spicier character that gives it some similarity to Malbec.  It’s a great wine to pair with steak, grilled or broiled, but also works well with gamier meats such as venison or even wild boar.

Two Types of Malbec Wine to Try

2008 Achaval-Ferrer Malbec - A brilliant wine from one of Argentina's finest producers!

2006 Clos la Coutale Cahors
- A classic old world red with austere tannins and dark fruits

Sonoma Cabernet


Cabernet from California is a type of wine that seems to have no season, people enjoy it year ‘round.  The key is finding the right style for each season, and for fall the red fruited, curranty Sonoma style works for me. This is a pot roast, prime rib kind of wine!

Two Types of Sonoma Cabernet to Try

2004 Alexander Valley Vineyards - Classic Sonoma Cabernet with red fruits and a gentle leafy top note.

2006 Pedroncelli Three Vineyards Cabernet
- Full of bright fruits and subtle complexity in a refreshing style.

Zinfandel


For me Zinfandel is the quintessential type of wine for autumn; it's packed with spicy fruit, full bodied, and redolent of the spices of fall. It’s a type of wine that seems to find a home on my autumnal table. It’s also a great wine to try when fruit enters the recipe; try it with chicken or pork that has been braised with prunes!

Two Types of Zinfandel Wine to Try

2006 Holdredge Dry Creek Valley
- An elegant, complex Zin that marries power and grace.

2006 Trinitas Cellars Old Vine
- Black cherry and oak spice with lovely complex aromatics make this a winner.


Sangiovese


Much like Barbera, Sangiovese is a type of wine that I enjoy throughout the year. As the days get shorter and nights grow colder I tend to reach for a fuller bodied example.  Many of the newer “mini Super Tuscans” are perfect for this season. They are  frequently rounded out with a dollop of Merlot, giving them a rich, smooth feel and they pick up some spicy oaky tones from their almost ubiquitous time in new oak barrels. I love them with roast or braised lamb dishes, but goat is even better!

Two Types of Sangiovese Wine to Try

2006 Querciabella Chianti Classico - Pure and elegant with a silky feel and wonderfully transparent fruit.

2005 Pepi Two Heart Canopy - A big bowl of fun fruit that speaks of bottled California sun.

Côtes du Rhône


A good, hearty Cotes du Rhone is an autumn stand-by. This type of wine works with just about anything you can throw at it due to its aromatic depth and mouth filling texture. I have always been a big fan of Cotes du Rhone with braised vegetable dishes and have enjoyed them with many version of Cassoulet, the heavier on the garlic sausage the better!

Two Types of Côtes du Rhône to Try

2007 Chateau de Beaucastel Coudoulet de Beaucastel - It doesn't get much better than this, rich, complex and layered with dense fruit.

2008 Cline Cellars Cashmere - the name says it all, a Rhone blend from California that is powerful and sensuously smooth.