Fall doesn't mean you have to totally switch over to red wines. There are plenty of whites that offer richness but are also refreshing to the palate, such as the 2009 Adelsheim Pinot Gris from Willamette Valley, Oregon. Pinot Gris is the white that Oregon does best and Adelsheim was one of the first wineries outside of Europe to work with the grape. The wine is bright and clean with a citrusy character, as well as fuller fruit flavors such as papaya and pear. ($18.99) Perfect with antipasto before the big game.
Greg La Follette is the man behind the 2008 La Follette Pinot Noir from Sonoma coast. Greg worked at such stalwarts as Beaulieu Vineyards and Kendall Jackson before making Flowers Vineyards &Winery what it is today. He founded Tandem (which has now been renamed La Follette) in 2001 and his dedication to great
Pinot Noir shows in this succulent wine with lots of soul stirring red fruit, such as plums and cherries, and a pretty, herbaceous finish. ($29.99) Earthy flavored dishes with mushrooms are a home run with this style of Pinot Noir; Duck would also work deliciously well.
The 2008 Calluna Vineyards Cuvee is made in Sonoma but fashioned after the great wines of Bordeaux, France. The 44% Merlot softens the wine and gives it a supple texture while the Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, and Petit Verdot add charming dark fruit, peppery flavors, and spice notes. ($30.99) Lamb, Osso Buco, prime rib; Oh, the possibilities are endless!
Yves Cheron's 2007 Cotes du Rhone from France is mainly Grenache blended with Syrah and if the light, versatile style doesn't warm your heart, the price ($14.99) certainly will. Cotes du Rhones generally have a reputation for being "rustic" as in "charmingly rustic" but this particular wine is more refined with an underlying earthiness and ripe black cherry fruit. Refinement aside, bring on the burgers, the pizza, or a big pot of chili.
If it's big, juicy fruit you're craving, the 2006 La Storia Alexander Valley Zinfandel from Trentadue Winery will do the trick. Lots of ripe, dark fruit and a little spice is really what California Zinfandel is all about. ($23.99) Add a bowl of hearty stew or some spicy sausage and you are pretty much ready to hibernate.