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Our Fall Wine Guide for 2017

With summer on its way out, we can all agree on one thing: the only positive effect of our favorite sunny season's departure is the arrival of crisp fall weather. Days stay warm, nights get cool, and everything pumpkin spice returns into our lives.

However, it's not just our coffee-drinking and baked-goods habits that change; with regards to the wine in our glass, we crave something more. This fall season, we're packing away our zingy, high-acid whites and light-bodied reds in exchange for something a little more savory to complement the season's temperature changes. Not sure where to start? No worries! Follow our guide below for six great varieties to zone in on this fall season (hint, hint-- they're not all red!)

Pinot Noir:

While we condone Pinot Noir consumption in any season, we love the more savory, rustic expressions of the grape for those chilly fall days. Old World Pinot Noir, specifically from Burgundy, is light-bodied enough to carry you through those rare warmer weather days, yet savory enough to keep you toasty on cooler nights. For a unique twist on Old World Pinot Noir, look for Spatburgunder from Germany, specifically Baden, Ahr, or the Rheingau. In addition, grape's renowned earthy, mushroom tones pair beautifully with seasonal fall flavors.

Summer may be over, but your white wine drinking habit doesn't have to be. Fuller-bodied white wines, specifically those crafted from 'Rhone Varieties' (Viognier, Roussanne, Marsanne) are perfect matches for a plethora of fall dishes; Viognier based wines paired with squash, sweet potatoes, and other root vegetables is a serious match made in heaven. Look to Condrieu in the Northern Rhone, South Australia, or even Virginia for some delicious expressions.

And the white wine drinking doesn't have to stop there. With a grape as versatile as Chardonnay, it's hard to know exactly which expressions to choose. For the fall season, you'll definitely want a Chardonnay with some oak on it to beef up the wine's body. Burgundy is always a go to, as well as California, specifically Sta. Rita Hills. Pair with cream-based pasta dishes or fatty fish for some serious comfort food.

There's a reason why Zinfandel is synonymous with Thanksgiving; the wines' juicy, fruit-forward palate is a perfect match for everything on the table. Whether it's tender turkey breast or zesty cranberry sauce, Zinfandel is a no-brainer for all of fall's best flavors. When shopping Zin, California is the way to go, specifically Sonoma (Dry Creek Valley) and Lodi. Plus, the signature spiciness of Zinfandel is perfect for those chilly fall nights.
Cabernet Franc: 

Like Pinot Noir, we definitely condone Cabernet Franc consumption all year round. However, there's something special about drinking a peppery, spice-driven bottle of Cab Franc in the fall.

Varietal Cabernet Franc from the Loire Valley is the perfect wine for cooler fall evenings; the wines' earthy, red-fruit driven palate, perfectly tinged with notes of green pepper, combined with the smell of fresh-fallen leaves is a legitimate sensory overload. Whether propped up by the fireplace or seated around a bonfire outside, you can't go wrong with bottle of Cab Franc in hand.

Barolo, Barbaresco, Langhe, oh my! When it comes to Nebbiolo, Piedmont is king. Situated in northwestern Italy, the finicky Nebbiolo grape of Piedmont is known for producing some of the greatest wines in the world.

Named after the region's signature fog (nebbia,) Nebbiolo-based wines are loved by an array of consumers, specifically for their aromas of dried rose petal and tar.

The wines' palate brims with red fruit and herbs, making it a perfect match for hearty risottos, savory stews, and of course, the region's highly sought-after truffles.

And for something totally off the beaten path, seek out the Ruche based wines of northwestern Italy. Like Nebbiolo, Ruche also hails from Piedmont, but with significantly less production; only about 100 acres of vines occupy the region, so when the opportunity strikes, definitely grab a glass!

Similar to Nebbiolo, the Ruche grape produces wines light in color, high in tannins, and loaded with intense aromatics. The wine's herbal aromas and spicy palate will make you want to throw on your favorite sweater, curl up with your latest read, and snack on something equally delicious.