Fall in a Glass: Awesomely autumnal wines to sip

Fall in a Glass: Awesomely autumnal wines to sip

By Alison Bailin Batz

Fall is an interesting time in the Valley. While the hottest days of the year are finally behind us, it isn’t quite cool enough for jackets just yet. That can make choosing the perfect wine tough — as many opt for more tropical and refreshing flavor profiles in the summer and then big, bold flavor profiles in the winter. But fear not! We have you covered with some amazing bottles for fall in Arizona. Neither too light nor too bold, if Goldilocks was of age, she would call them “just right.” 

Chateau Magnol AOC Haut-Médoc, Cru Bourgeois 2016

This blend of merlot and cabernet sauvignon — from a vineyard whose winemaking history dates back to 1842 — offers multilayered complexity with black cherry fruit, mint and spice notes, as well as vanilla and tobacco on the finish. Decant and pair with your end of season grilling. $29.99

Graham Beck Blanc de Blancs 2016

The fruit for this wine was hand-selected and hand-harvested from Graham Beck’s epic Chardonnay clonal block on its award-winning Robertson Estate. That means this will be beyond elegant and impressive and a sparkling wine with a little more meat on its bones versus the light, bright options you drank all summer. $30 

Baileyana Firepeak Pinot Noir,
Edna Valley 2018

The Edna Valley is the coolest growing region in all of California, but the Firepeak vineyard blocks are defined by extinct volcanoes found in the area, creating unique soils. This wine is much like the volcanos that came before it, in that it erupts, albeit with ripe cherry, blackberry, cinnamon and tobacco. $30

Rombauer Vineyards Carneros Chardonnay 

Among the most awarded and beloved white wines in the nation, the bright fruit-forward palate of this chardonnay is inviting, and the rich, creamy palate works well with so many beloved foods as we turn to fall. It is a celebration of ripe yellow peach, Meyer lemon, clove and vanilla in every sip. $38

J Vineyards & Winery Cuvée
20 Brut NV 

This sparkler opens with nuanced aromas of toasted almond, setting the stage for a burst of fall in every sip, including notes of Braeburn apple, dried cranberry and even a little ginger snap, followed by a hint of tart lemon meringue to remind you it isn’t fall just yet. $38   

Talbott Vineyards 2017 Sleepy Hollow Vineyard Chardonnay 

Despite its name, don’t sleep on this exceptional tropical take on chardonnay, as it offers Pink Lady apple, Bosc pear, pineapple and even a hint of brioche. There is a zesty acid versus full creaminess one usually expects in a California chardonnay. $42

La Scolca Gavi dei Gavi 

This high-quality, expressive vintage offers delicate notes of white flowers, flint, citrus and stone fruits, with almonds and walnuts on the palate, that is meant to be shared with everyone from friends and family to colleagues. $42

Louis M. Martini Winery 2018
Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 

Notes of black cherry, blackberry and plum are complemented by hits of toasted oak, dried currant and baking spice in this versatile little vixen. It is also surprisingly balanced, perfect for warm or cool nights. $45   

The Hunt Red Blend,
Sonoma County 2018

A stunner for evenings when the weather dips below 90 degrees, this is a Bordeaux-style blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot and cabernet franc aged in French and American oak barrels. The result is rich character without being too over the top. $45

Yangarra Estate Vineyards
Ovitelli Grenache 2019

The certified organic and biodynamic vineyard is not messing around with this perfumed and elegant grenache from the sands at Yangarra. The vibrant fruit of those dry-grown 1946 bush vines results in fall (or almost fall) in a glass. $60

Bledsoe Family Winery
Cabernet Sauvignon 2019

This deep ruby-colored cabernet hints to the summer’s days past with aromatics of dark fruits such as blackberry and Bing cherry. It also welcomes the fall days ahead with nuisances of wood and baking spice. $60

Darioush 2018 Merlot

Aromatically complex with licorice, violets, dusty cocoa and fine leather, before providing dense black cherry and currant on the palate, this award winner is powerful yet polished. The closing notes of savory herbs, forest and delicate bergamot notes are a pleasant surprise as well. $68

Yalumba The Signature
Cabernet and Shiraz 2016

Aromatic with a dizzyingly delicious blend of red currants, cedar, cranberry and dark chocolate, each vintage of this red blend is extra special in that it is released to honor  an individual who has made a significant contribution to the culture and traditions of the Yalumba region. $69.99

Masciarelli Villa Gemma Montepulciano 2015

An intensely beautiful Italian wine of character and complexity, expect notes of red fruit, cherry, currant, violet and hints of tobacco here. The bold tannins and great acidity also make this for pairing with most fall foods. $90

Bread & Butter Atlas Peak
Cabernet Sauvignon

Grown and produced in the celebrated micro-AVA of Napa Valley, this limited-edition head-turner packs a punch of lush fruit flavors of black cherry, blackberry and boysenberry with hints of tobacco, licorice and chocolate. $100 

Faust 2018 The Pact

Make a pact with friends to enjoy this together on a special evening this month. It opens with fresh aromas of black cherries and black currants, then magically blue fruits with graphite, tobacco, star anise round out the finish. $125

Gundlach Bundschu 2016
Vintage Reserve

Fresh blackberry and black currant get the party started in this bottle, before nutmeg and cinnamon bark join the festivities. The earth, clove-infused finish is what dreams are made of, at least a wine lover’s dreams. $125

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