Gone are the days of sipping rosé wine by the water. Falling leaves, cooler temperatures, and less daylight call for cozying up next to a warm fireplace, preferably with a deep-flavored, full-bodied glass of red wine. Luckily, there is no shortage of wine made with spicy, earthy, and fruity notes that are perfect for this time of year. From carefully-crafted cabernet sauvignons to palate-pleasing pinot noirs and some mouthwatering merlots, here are some of the most best red wines to drink as the seasons change. Prefer to ease in with a lighter red? We’ve listed some great blends, too.
For a bold cabernet that pairs well with hearty fall dishes (think Bolognese, braised lamb shank, beef pot roast) and strongly flavored cheeses, Columbia Crest is a no brainer. It features deep, berry flavors that lead to a soft tannin cocoa finish.
When searching for a wine to transition from warmer months to cool, this light red has it all — fresh fruit flavors and bright acidity, along with subtle hints of vanilla and toasted oak. Cline’s estate vineyards farms their wine using the Green String Method, a farming philosophy more extreme than organic, with zero use of pesticides or herbicides. Rather they use compost teas, sheep, and goats in the vineyards to control weeds.
If you’re into a deep-flavored Napa cab, this is one not to be missed. Its taste is almost as diverse in personality as its bottle, with its top dipped in a frosty gold wax. It’s totally unfiltered and aged 17 months in a barrel. Flavor notes include dark berries, violets, sandalwood, and pine. Oh, and because it’s handcrafted, it’s also low in sulfites (a bonus for your lack of a hangover the next morning).
This Bordeaux-style blend contains an elegant mix of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc, and petit verdot. Fancy, right? It also comes from an estate that’s been in owner Hannes Myburgh’s family for eight generations. It has many complex layers in its flavor, including notes of violet, plum, cedar, and spice, all mingled with stony minerality, ripe tannins, and opulent texture. Pair it with prime rib roast and rich cheeses.
Love a good merlot? The one has a soft flavor but a firm and deep structure that comes from a little cabernet sauvignon. It also contains sangiovese grapes, the third varietal in the blend. Ornellaia is one of the original “Super Tuscans” from Bolgheri on the Tuscan coast, which has become world renowned for its Bordeaux-style blends. Pair with a hearty pumpkin pasta dish or roast lamb for a perfect fall meal.
If you’re craving a sweet red featuring all the fall fruit flavors, from cherries to berries, you’ll enjoy this wine featuring a lush palate that leads to a round, smooth finish. It complements all the fall harvest foods, pairing well with vegetable dishes, red meat, and spicy foods. Also sweet? It goes great with dessert.
This flagship cab is sourced from estate vineyards owned by one of Napa Valley’s most notable families, The Trinchero family, who have been cranking out award-winning wine since the 1940s. For those cold, crisp fall nights, you can expect to taste opulent aromas from this wine, specifically candied black currant, blueberry, and rose petal.
If you’re looking to get familiar with a red wine in time for Thanksgiving, allow us to introduce you to this medium-rubied red. It has aromas of cranberry, raspberry, and Santa Rosa plum — the perfect transition from summer to fall sipping. It’s also bottled in the fall and has beautiful, autumn-esque label.
As if the famed American film director, producer, screenwriter, and film composer didn’t have enough to brag about on his resume — he also opened a family-friendly vineyard in his namesake. The family-friendly Francis Ford Coppola Winery is located near Geyserville, CA and worth a visit if you can get there. In the meantime, you can sip his complex and well-balanced cabernet sauvignon yielding a rich color and fruity sweetness.
This is not your average red wine — in many ways. Firstly, it comes in “large glass” sizes, which pours out to a healthy-sized glass. It contains a blend of two of Sonoma’s most renowned and beloved grapes — zinfandel and cabernet sauvignon — and features satisfying flavors of bing cherries, dark chocolate, and fresh violets. Fans describe it as a perfect balance of fruit, age, and oak. We have to admit the 6.3 oz bottle is pretty ideal for holiday parties or cozy nights by the fire.
Bonterra strives for a nature-like balance of equinoxes, or seasons. Their organic red blend leads with merlot and showcases petit sirah grapes, which add complexity, color, and a rustic element if you will. You’ll notice supple notes of juicy red and black fruit matched with fall-inspired spice, herb, and oak tones.
The name says it all — this wine is a rich blend of dark cabernet sauvignon and bold merlot. Mixed together you get a full-bodied glass that is bursting with notes of fall fruit. It’s perfect for keeping you warm on the inside when it’s cold on the outside and pairs beautifully with your Thanksgiving turkey (it even says so on the bottle!).
This pinot noir hits all the fall notes: baking spices, earthiness, red fruits, a touch of vanilla, and a seductive, velvety texture. But the best part is that it’s so versatile when paired with food of all sorts, from chicken and turkey to pasta slathered in both red and wine sauce. It’s made in an urban setting in Oakland, from a winery cranking out old-world wines sourced from premium California vineyards.
This old-world wine was inspired by the red blend made by the first Italian immigrants who settled in Napa Valley. It combines zinfandel with a unique blend of cabernet sauvignon, petite sirah, syrah, and the lesser known charbono. Expect flavor notes of ripe red fruits and notes of vanilla that pair easily with spiced short ribs or roasted lamb.
Don’t let its low price fool you — this wine is made by one of the best winemakers in the world, Jean Claude Berrouet, formerly of Petrus in Bordeaux. This new-world cab hails from the winery’s marquee estate, San Pablo, which lies at 4,600 feet above sea level as one of the highest vineyards in Mendoza, Argentina. It’s a medium body, aromatic wine with bright, fruity notes and a delicious, silky finish.
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