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Fall Wines: Time to Switch to “Warm” Reds

If you have been following this blog, you know that my summer was filled with rosé, rosé, rosé. Sure, I also like to drink some high-acid, aromatic whites and a few light-bodied reds, such as Sancerre Rouge. All these wines go well with the abundance of meat coming off the barbeque, the corn, and the hot weather, of course. When the weather starts to turn, though, and that fall smell sets in, so does my desire for a new style of wine.

To me, autumn may be more of a red-dominant season than winter. Although I do love certain whites – Ribolla Gialla from northern Italy and Pinot Gris from France’s Alsace – with the types of vegetables available in fall, this season is about warm reds.

I say “warm” because I am not looking for monster wines bulked with tannin and packed with concentration. This is a time of year for those in-between wines. “Mild,” “spicy,” “rich” and “smooth” are descriptors that come to mind when I think of fall, and these wines complement much of the in-season cuisine. To be honest, these ware also the wines that pair well with a good Sunday football game on TV, too.

So, what’s a warm red? Many Italian reds are perfect for this season, but to get in the mood at the start of fall I kick things off with a well-made and balanced California Zinfandel. Avoid the overly bulked-up stuff, and you find some soothing gems perfect for a crisp fall day. Along the same lines, I rarely look to Australia, but a well-crafted Shiraz can be quite enjoyable, too. But these more finessed wines can cost a little bit more. So if you want bang for your buck, look to the super-trendy Malbecs coming from Argentina. On my website www.underripe.com you’ll find a great profile of one of the country’s best: Catena.

For Italy, I love many regions for fall drinking, but quality varies drastically. If you’re looking for a specific producer recommendation you can post a comment below or send me a message on the contact page at UnderRipe – I’ll get right back to you. But here are my quick-and-easy Italian wine recommendations: Primitivo from Puglia, Nero d’Avola from Sicily, Sagrantino from Umbria, Rosso di Montalcino from Tuscany and, last but not least, a Valpolicella Ripasso from the Veneto. One sip of any of these, and you’ll understand right away what a warm red is, as well as the joy of a wine suited to the season.