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What The Wine Pros Are Drinking This Fall

By: Erin Byers Murray

In our Fall 2023 issue (get your copy here!), we connected with 25 women who are defining the landscape of wine in the South. From sommeliers and winemakers to wine shop owners, journalists, and educators, they gave us their expert advice on everything from how to taste and shop to mentorship in the industry and wine growing across the region. Here, a handful of the pros tell us what perfect wine pairings they’re craving this fall.

Autumn Bottle Selections

Shelly Wilfong, CSW, Host of This is Texas Wine podcast  

“One of my all-time favorite pairings is a Texas dry rosé with fish tacos. However, Texas rosé also pairs well with Thanksgiving dinner. Go for one made with tempranillo, tannat, cinsault, or mourvèdre.”

Catherine Speaker, Winery Director, Chateau Elan Winery & Resort, Braselton, Georgia

“When I imagine a wine to drink in the fall as the leaves are changing, I recommend the Chateau Elan Mameli 2020 vintage. Part of our Fingerprint Collection, the Mameli has interesting aromas and flavors of Turkish incense, olive and pickled pepper relish, and chocolate covered craisins with a supple, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and a smooth, complex, long finish conveying accents of spiced blackberries, cedar and soft earth with firm, earthy tannins and moderate oak flavor.”

Erin Smith, Co-Owner, Executive Chef, Wine Director, Feges BBQ, Houston

“My absolute favorite wine and food pairing is smoked oxtail and butternut squash ravioli tossed in sage and brown butter paired with Rare Wine Co. Sercial Madeira.”

Libby Burk, Wine Director and General Manager, Common Thread, Savannah, Georgia

“One of my favorite pairings for the fall is Pikasi’s Zelen from Vipava Valley, Slovenia paired with any kind of fall squash or root vegetable. This white wine sees about 72 hours of skin contact which provides a silky texture, including notes of almond, a touch of butterscotch, lemon, honeysuckle, and plenty of acidity.”

Kate Cunningham, By the Bottle, Nashville

“Fall for me is outdoor dining, fire pits, and wood fired pizza! The pairing that brings me the most joy is a bottle of crisp, cold Lambrusco, a sparkling red that I don’t feel gets enough credit. I particularly love the L’Onesta Lambrusco di Sorbara, a sparkling dry wine with a characteristic bouquet of violets. This bottle brings screams fall to me.”

Megan Hopkins, Celladora Wines, Richmond

One of my favorites of late is a creamy, cheesy broccoli malfade pasta paired with Lightwell Survey, Dos Idiots, 2020.  Dos Idiots is a lighter red blend of cab franc and petit manseng from the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia.  It cuts through the creamy sauce and plays nicely with the broccoli without accentuating any green bitterness.”

Karen Bonarrigo, Co-Owner, Messina Hof, Bryan, Texas

“Fall brings foods full of richness and complexity. Hearty vegetables, stews, roasted meats, and herb-crusted delicacies require a wine pairing that can stand side-by-side with strength. Messina Hof’s Private Reserve Cabernet Franc is perfect on a chilly night. Its rustic nature is my favorite pairing with mushrooms, which for me, is a quintessential fall ingredient.”

Lindsey Williams, Davidson Wine Co., Davidson, North Carolina

“Our pinot noir, The Max, is the perfect blend of earthy and elegant with soft tannins and a subtle oak finish.”

Kelsey Kramer, Director of Education, The William Chris Wine School, Hye, Texas

“I am a big fan of rich white wines in the fall. The ones that are nutty, honeyed or earthy are my favorite—they smell like autumn! Texas Roussanne and Livio Felluga’s Friulano are both great fall wines for me in different ways.”

Julia Coney, Wine Writer and Wine Consultant, Washington, DC, and Houston

“I am always team bubbly. I like all versions: canned, pét-nat, méthode champenoise, and Champagne. I love bubbly year-round, but especially as we enter the fall and holiday season, bubbly pairs well with most foods, including all the varying flavors of fall and holiday foods, including soups and desserts.”

Doreen Colondres, Founder, Vitis House Wine School, Raleigh, North Carolina

“For the fall, I like orange wine from Alsace or Italy or a rosé wine from the Tavel region [in the Rhône Valley]. As far as reds, I will go with a gamay wine from the Fleurie protected subregion or a tempranillo from Ribera del Duero region in Spain—this is probably my favorite grape and region.”

From the Magazine

Letter From the Editor: Our Fall 2023 Issue Is Here

TLP’s Fall Issue is here, an issue brimming with great stories to carry you out of the summer and straight into fall—glass of wine in hand.

Albemarle County Wine Country feat

20+ Award-Winning Wineries On the Monticello Wine Trail in Charlottesville & Albemarle County, Virginia

Escape to the Monticello Wine Trail of Virginia Wine Country in Albemarle County and plot your visit to 21 award-winning wineries.

In the Field

FIG Wine Director Morgan Calcote’s Top Bottles | Video

With transitioning seasons, Morgan Calcote of FIG shares her top bottles from bright, bubbly Champagne to robust reds and crisp rosés.

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