With the majority of the summer season shrinking in the rear view mirror and the journey into fall rapidly gaining momentum, it leaves us with the topic at hand, our destination: fall wines. We tend to be at the mercy of Mother Nature’s schizophrenia during the fall season, not really knowing if she’ll churn out a sunny 85 degree day or deal us a day that’s raw and rainy with a slight dash of depressing as you realize that soon all anyone will be talking about is how long it took to shovel their driveway. But nonetheless, there is one predictable thing you’re in control of — what’s in your glass — so let me help you make the right move.
First up, for those of you who like the funkier side of things, is a wine from New Zealand and, no, for once it’s not a Sauvignon Blanc garnering all the attention. It’s Cambridge Road’s Cloudwalker Pinot Gris [Natural] and the aesthetics of this wine alone are something to be marveled at. It is in a nondescript, unlabeled brown bottle, with a crown cap more commonly used on beer offerings and a simple tag attached to the neck of the bottle as the only indicator of what it actually is. Once you’ve got the bottle open, the simple beauty continues as this unfined and unfiltered gem pours a cloudy, deep gold and copper color with subtle pink hue. The Cloudwalker falls into the orange wine category more than anything, seeing as the pressed juice spends a chunk of time on its skins, which in turn imparts some characteristics more routinely found in red wines. If you’re considering delving into the world of orange wines, the Cloudwalker is for you. The vibrant fruit flavors of ripe stone fruit, like apricot and white peach, mixed with dried wild flowers is a great balance for the inherent pucker level the wine packs.
Another great wine to put on your list is the Aupa Pipeño by Viña Maitia. This is one of the crowd-pleasers that everyone should have in their arsenal. We can definitely put this budget-friendly red into the chuggable category with its minimal tannins and fruit forward, easy drinking style. Look for lively fruit notes of tart cherry and juicy raspberry to be balanced off by a woodsy herbal note and floral undertones of rose petals. Pipeño is a style of wine that really capitalizes on the idea of keeping wine affordable, simple and delicious while not skimping on quality and the Aupa is a classic example of all of those things. Feel free to put a light chill on this Chilean stunner before serving it up, and definitely be sure to give this one a whirl with something off the grill before you officially hang up your tongs for the season.
Cardone Prosit Rosato Frizzante is an amazing example of a sparkler that will help you transition to the warm days and cool nights the fall weather bestows upon us, and the best part is you don’t have to break the bank to do it. This frizzante-style wine clocks in around $12, yet seriously over-delivers in terms of quality, with a complexity you’d expect to find in a wine two to three times the price point. New England’s end of summer metamorphosis into fall is a climate akin to the wine’s birthplace of Puglia, and the use of Pinot Noir grapes is key for making this a quaffable sipper with ripe fruit flavors, balanced off by naturally medium-bodied structure and dryness. Intense notes of cherry, strawberry and puckery pomegranate are complemented by creamy undertones of melon and honeysuckle with a hint of black pepper on the finish to balance out the fruit forwardness of this almost-neon pink hued beauty. All in all, this is a great pick for those of you who, if you’re anything like me, have Frasier taste but are on a Roseanne budget.
Fall is a time of year to enjoy the downtime before the craziness of the next few months starts approaching. You can’t turn a corner in a department store these days without being inundated with Halloween-themed everything and we’re not even in October yet. And we all know too well the unpredictability that comes with the impending winter months here in New England, which is reason in and of itself to need a drink, so enjoy these next few weeks of fun fall activities. Rejoice in the fact that you can finally turn your oven on to cook something without feeling like you’ve turned your house into the 9th circle of Hell. Be happy we’re still months away from awkwardly wondering if we’re still supposed to say happy holidays or if merry whatever-you-believe-in is back to being OK. But no matter what you enjoy about fall most, be sure you’re enjoying what’s in your glass and the company of the people you’re sharing it with!