Fall is the perfect time for bonfires, and the only thing that could make the night better is a glass of wine. Our wine gurus gave us suggestions for white, rosé and red wine flights in the order they would best be enjoyed, with a few food pairings to go alongside.
Plymouth-based Z Wines specializes in South African wines and co-owner Roy Goslin says that as the air cools, “We begin to look for richer whites.”
Desiderius Pongracz Methode Cap Classique ($19.99) is a sparkling wine, perfect “to begin any party,” Goslin says. With notes of green apple and pear followed by lime and lemon zest on the nose, this wine pairs well with light hors d’ouevres.
Altydgedacht Tygerberg Chatelaine ($12.99) has expansive notes of lychee, almond and spice, and a crisp, off-dry finish perfect with Asian food.
Gabrielskloof Nuntius White ($11.99) is medium-bodied, with aromas of fig, tropical fruit and melon, and hints of almond. It pairs well with rich seafood, chicken and creamy pasta dishes.
Overgaauw Chardonnay ($13.99) has light tropical fruit and citrus aromas, complemented by undertones of pear, honey and toast. “The wine shows nice crispness without glaring acidity,” Goslin says, and partners with seafood, chicken and light pastas.
Stonehill Bristle Viognier ($14.99) has an aroma that starts as lemon and lime, with white peach in the background. Flavors of stone fruit, hints of oak and a long, dry finish pair with dishes like those from Asia or the Mediterranean.
Zevenwacht Barrel Fermented Chenin Blanc ($16.99) starts with apricot, peach and honeysuckle on the nose, with hints of roasted almonds. Rich and refreshing, this wine is “classically dry, yet luxuriously silky with superb viscosity and length,” Goslin says.
John Farrell, vice president of sales and merchandising at Haskell’s, says fall might not seem like the prime time to drink rosé, but “there are certain styles that lend themselves to heavier foods and cooler temps.”
Tavel Cuvee Royal 2012 ($15) is generally heavier, but usually drunk young. This wine can be dryer than expected, and “screams salmon,” Farrell says.
Chateau Clarke Rosé 2012 ($20) is a blend of cabernet and merlot, and is a drier wine with a beautiful fruity aroma.
Domaine de Saint Antoine Rosé 2010 ($9) is a bit older than most, but proves rosés can be aged. With its strong berry aroma, Farrell says it would pair well with smoked fish.
Vina Robles Roseum 2012 ($12) is a 100 percent Syrah grape wine, with a fruity, strawberry aroma and a delicate dry finish. It’s great partnered with spicy wings.
Crémant de Bourgogne Louis Bouillot Rosé ($15) is a sparkling wine. “When you speak of rosé, you have to include bubbles,” says Farrell.
Christian Nesheim of Vinifera Wines and Ales makes the following suggestions.
Pavi Pinot Noir ($17.99) is smooth and silky with the perfect balance of rich fruit and fresh acidity.
Cantine Colosi Nero d’Avola ($15.99) is smooth, with a berry backbone and a touch of vanilla from barrel-aging; this wine is great with (or without) Italian food.
Three Zinfandel ($14.99) has raspberry and blackberry flavors with a hint of black pepper spice. It’s perfect for a fall barbecue.
Jeff Runquist 1448 ($17.99) is a blend of petit Syrah and zinfandel that’s dense, lush and brooding.
Ladera Napa Cabernet Sauvignon ($35.99) is “mild enough for any wine drinker, but complex enough to impress every oenophile,” Nesheim says.