14 Fall Wines You Have To Try

Any day is a good day to have some wine. But when the fall months roll around, a quality glass of vino starts to become more of a necessity. The temperature gets colder and we're all looking for tasty ways to get toasty. Sure, you can sit around fires, bundle up under blankets, and don your favorite sweaters, but how do you warm up your insides? When a cold pint of beer feels too chilly, a glass of fall wine is the best place to start. Whether it's a deep red or a full-bodied white, the best way to enjoy the season is with a well-paired vintage.

In recent years, pumpkin spice lattes seem to have taken the title of "best fall beverage." However, wine has been around for quite a while longer, and anyone who imbibes can attest to the fact that vino is the true winner this time of year. Many vintages feature the aromatic spices of the season, accentuate your cold-weather cooking, and make for an exciting addition as you gather with friends. Chosen from a mix of industry recommendations and high praising reviews, these are the best fall wines for drinking, collected in one convenient space so you can spend more time cozying up this season.

2020 Scar of the Sea Gamay

When the temperature dips low, there are few things as cozy as a glass of red wine. Gamay is a grape variety that pairs perfectly with seasonal moments spent wrapped under a blanket or roasting in front of a fireplace. Grown across the globe from Beaujolais, France to the Napa and Willamette Valleys of California and Oregon, Gamay grapes produce a fruitier, lighter-bodied wine (per MasterClass). These reds have higher acidity and fewer tannins than cabernet sauvignon or syrahs and are also a bit fruitier. The 2020 Gamay from Scar of the Sea Winery is a great place to start your fall wine tasting.

Rated with 94 points from Wine Enthusiast, Scar of the Sea Gamay is an excellent value wine from the Central Coast of California. The winery focuses on telling a story with every bottle. Once you start sipping, autumn will feel like the perfect setting and you'll feel like the main character.

With herbaceous, aromatic notes of tarragon and green sage, this vino goes right alongside your roasted poultry (hello Thanksgiving turkey), as well as grilled fish or charcuterie appetizers. Entertain your guests with something delicious and easy to drink. The delicate mouthful is as much a dinner ingredient as it is an after-work chill pill.

Baron de Ley Rioja Reserva 2015

While bright and sunny Spain certainly isn't known for autumn, the most popular wine grape in the region delivers a glass that's perfect for fall. Wines containing tempranillo grapes are warm and all-around comforting during sweater weather. Often chosen to join a blend of fruit within the famous Spanish Rioja wines, tempranillo grapes grow in full fall fashion. Not only do these wines match the flavors and aromas of the harvest season, but the leaves actually change color, too (via Wine Folly). This is a fall wine from vine to bottle.

Baron de Ley Rioja Reserva has received high marks from wine experts across the globe. It's been described as having a "supple volume" that will keep you full and warm on colder days. This wine is low in acidity and not too dry, either. As far as flavor goes, you can count on a taste of ripe, juicy berries, spicy plum, and even walnuts — it's basically like pouring the season into a glass. This tempranillo from Rioja has on-the-nose notes of toffee and chocolate as well, so it will be sure to satisfy whether you drink it before, during, or as dessert after a cold-weather meal.

Yalumba Eden Valley Viognier 2017

White wines often don't get much consideration when the temperature begins to drop, but Viognier will change that. As Bright Cellars writes, the oak aging of Viognier makes it comparable to chardonnay, yet this wine has much more to offer in the cooler months. A rich, oily texture covers the palate like a warm coat, while Viognier wines also have a structure that complements the spicy, rich foods floating through the kitchen these days (per Robb Report).

The Yalumba wine company of South Australia is one of the region's oldest producers. They have been making quality wine since 1849, and this 2017 Eden Valley Viognier continues that tradition. It's also received much critical acclaim thanks to a long finish, clean flavors, and uplifting acidity. Wine Enthusiast calls it the winery's "most complete" Viognier, with a taste that will match the produce and proteins of an autumn meal. The rich mouthfeel of this wine won't leave you shivering with the cold weather. Instead, the bright spices will warm your cheeks and take the edge off of a blustery season.

2018 Domaine Nico Soeur et Freres Grand Mere Pinot Noir

Are there any reds that understand the fall wine assignment as well as pinots? Pinot noirs are lighter and less dry than reds like cabernet sauvignon. Despite lacking the bold heftiness that big-flavored cabs offer, they are a complex variety that can be paired with many autumn favorites, such as red meats served alongside root vegetables, casual drinking in your cozy socks, our poured as a nightcap on a cold evening. This particular red traveled all the way from South America to please your palate in any of situations.

Crafted by Argentinian maker Domaine Nico, Grand Mere Pinot Noir will light up the darkening skies of your evenings. The black pepper and brown spice flavors are warming, while mineral-rich earthy tones offer a mouthful that is as grounding as the dirt underneath falling leaves. The tree foliage may be feeling empty this time of year, but pour a glass of this pinot noir and you certainly won't be. It may even give you the kick needed to pull out the yard rake (or put up your feet and hunker down).

Pecchenino San Luigi Dogliani 2019

Dolcetto is another red wine that is a great low-key choice for the not-quite-winter-weather. Dolcetto hails from the Piedmont region of Italy, where, along with vineyards full of wine grapes, you can also find groves of hazelnut trees, pastures, and forests. The earthy countryside produces a grape variety that has an intense red color and deep fruity flavor. However, as Around the World in 80 Harvests writes, don't be fooled by Dolcetto's Italian nickname of "little sweet one". There is nothing little about this bold red.

Younger Dolcettos like this bottle from 2019 often feature fruiter notes, so if you need something to put a bit of color in your cheeks without drying out your mouth, this is the wine for you. The San Luigi Dogliani Dolcetto comes in under $20 and pairs exceptionally well with your beef or pork roasts, adding a touch of acidity and sweetness. Additionally, it makes a great table wine to serve along with pasta or as a companion to a well-crafted charcuterie board.

Weingut Carl Ehrhard Rüdesheim Riesling 2018

Rieslings are admittedly an under-the-radar choice for autumn. While they may have a reputation as sweet and refreshing summertime drinks, there are certain varieties that really shine when the temperature drops. Considering that many riesling grapes are grown in exceptionally cool climates, the right bottle can almost have "fall" in its DNA (per Food & Wine). The Feinherb type of riesling is an off-dry variety that compliments the spices of seasonal dishes to give white wine drinkers an option.

Feinherb means more than "not too dry," however. It also means you're in for a riesling that is a bit less sweet. With the Rüdesheim Riesling, Weingut Carl Ehrhard of Germany has cultivated a beverage that has the right balance of acidity, minerality, and fruit-forward flavors. This is a boutique wine from an artisan producer that, moreover, has sworn off artificial fertilizers and herbicides. The bright flavors of this natural wine embody the honest character of the vineyard.

If you enjoy having something crisp and cool while sitting in front of the fire, or you're in an area where fall doesn't necessarily bring colder temperatures, then you should strongly consider this choice. It provides a palate cleanser for spicy foods like curry and will also lift up the Mediterranean dish you've got planned for the last of your garden produce.

Cadre Band of Stones Gruner Veltliner 2020

When the days get shorter and sweater weather rolls in, the last thing you want is a cold sauvignon blanc. However, if lighter citrus notes are what your taste buds still crave, don't worry: Gruner Veltliner is here for your tasting delight. This variety of vino often features green pepper notes that burst with bright acidity. Additionally, some Gruner Veltliner wines will leave you tasting tarragon, radish, and ginger flavors — all of which can be prime ingredients for fall cooking.

Band of Stones is an affordable and zippy wine that can stand up to the heartier dishes you've got cooking in the kitchen. Although the most prominent tasting note for this wine is ripe grapefruit (the maker affectionately references Squirt, the grapefruit soda) you can make the case that, seasonally, there is no better time for citrus than autumn. The full texture also features North African spices that offer an earthier experience than you might typically find in a bottle of white. Wine Enthusiast has given critical acclaim to American winemaker Cadre for their rendering of this Austrian classic. It's natural, it's dry ... it's basically hygge in a glass.

Domaine Pichot Vouvray

Outside the Wine Box writes that, while vouvray could realistically claim a place on any "Best Of" wine list, its true home is in the best of fall wine collections. Similar to many other seasonal whites, a vouvray wine's dryness, acidity, and varying level of sweetness set it up as a more than reliable choice for this time of year. Vouvray vino varies in style from still to sparkling (per Wine Folly). That chameleon-like diversity is prime for the warm days and cool nights that are characteristic of autumn.

To that end, Domaine Pichot Vouvray is semi-sweet and off-dry. Its high acidity with a light minerality lends a bright pop to shortening days. Combine that with particularly well-balanced tasting notes and you've got a wine for the season, with hints of pear flavors like you've just picked the fruit from a tree, citrus as fresh as if it came from the farmer's market, and subtle hints of ginger to perfectly match your pumpkin pie or spiced snap cookies. The right white wine packs all the senses of the season into a bottle, and you can savor it with Domaine Pichot Vouvray.

Vietti Barbera d'Asti Tre Vigne

If you live in a part of the country where fall doesn't necessarily translate to chilly temps and the switch to hoodies and sweaters, it can be hard to make the change to seasonally-favored red wines. Autumn in, say, the American South is not the same as autumn everywhere else. Fortunately, barbera makes things a bit easier. This varietal has a deep, vibrant purple color that doesn't immediately let on to the juicy flavors and lighter profile that are waiting inside the bottle (per MasterClass). This is one fall wine you can enjoy in hotter temperatures while still feeling like part of the season.

Vietti Barbera d'Asti Tre Vigne has received high marks from wine reviewers for several years now. A dry and crisp red, it can complement soups and accentuate warm and hearty stews. Reviewer Wilfred Wong recommends matching this barbera with traditional fall mains like roasted duck, veal cutlets, or grilled seasonal vegetables. Similarly, Wine Folly calls for pairing your Barbera with mushrooms and braised seasonal greens. If you are in need of a cozy wine that can stand up to warmer than average weather, look no further than this Italian "wine of the people."

Grounded Wine Co. Public Radio Red

As the rosé revolution continues to march through the warmer months, the popularity of grenache has grown as well thanks to its inclusion within many popular blends. However, autumn calls for something with more commitment than airy and light rosés. As we turn the clock back towards full-bodied whites and an even fuller array of red wines, grenache makes its seasonal stand as a must-have grape for your sipping pleasures.

Food & Wine notes that the flavors of grenache-heavy wines as full of herbal notes. However, the fruit-forward flavors can't be missed, either, and in Grounded Wine Company's Public Radio Red, they certainly aren't. However, it isn't the cherry or berry flavors that make this blend from Paso Robles stick out amongst the seasonal competition. Fall means camping, and camping often means a hot breakfast that's been cooked over an open flame. While you likely won't be drinking this vino during the early hours of the day, tastes of peppercorn and bacon will certainly remind you of an early morning spent in the great outdoors. There are very few wines better suited to pair with a backyard fire pit or a night spent under the stars.

Amavi Cellars Sémillon

Bees may be hunkering down for the rest of the year as the days grow colder and shorter, but a sémillon wine is something that you can sip all throughout the cooler months. Robb Report writes that what makes sémillon so great for this time of year is its heavier natural weight compared to its sister grape, sauvignon blanc. Sémillon's compelling body and crisp flavors create an excellent compliment for cold-weather gourds like butternut squash and pumpkins. Additionally, fruit notes and bright acidity pair especially well with dark, leafy seasonal greens (per Wine Folly).

The wine pros at VinePair recommend the Amavi Cellars Sémillon for fall drinking, where the melon notes will cool off the spicy aftertaste of curry or lift up plates of roasted chicken or fish. Wine Folly recommends pairing your sémillon with roasted Brussels sprouts, potatoes au gratin, or anything where a zippy, clarifying finish is desired. VinePair also notes that this sémillon has hints of almond and lemon that make it a great companion for after-dinner treats. Amavi Cellars uses sustainable harvesting methods to deliver a complex and smooth wine that is perfect anytime.

Ramble Buddha's Dharma Vineyard Carignan 2019

When you think of drinking seasonally, carignan is one red varietal that should come to mind. The aromatics and flavors of this vino pair with everything we like best about autumn. Carignan has that dry sensation that feels like a sweater for your mouth, it holds bright-red berry flavors that pair with cranberry sauce and meat, and there are even notes of baking spices. All this has led Wine Folly to dub it as a "perfect Thanksgiving wine." With an essence of dried oregano and fresh parsley, carignan can even help you get the most from the last of your garden herbs.

The 2019 Ramble Carignan is named for the Buddha, and so a glass might induce nirvana (or at least make you feel cozy as a hibernating bear). Flavors of pomegranate and strawberry make it a great choice for your seasonal dishes. The maker specifically recommends it for pairing with thin-sliced pork chops and red chili flakes. What's more, Ramble Buddha is grown on certified organic vines, making it a good choice for eco-conscious imbibers.

Bully Hill Vineyards Cabernet Franc

Forbes writes that Cabernet Franc is a parent grape to the more well-known cabernet sauvignon, though this particular varietal has often been relegated to a quieter role in the world of wine. Fortunately for adventurous wine drinkers, Cab Franc has started to make a comeback in recent years and is now easier to find overall. Often known for having spicy green flavors and more intense tannins, a new breed of winemakers has begun to dive into the rich and complex tastes that gave birth to the more popular cab sauvignon (per Vinous). In one of America's newest wine regions, this age-old grape is pushing new boundaries, especially for fall wines.

While Cabernet Francs are often used as a part of France's famous Bordeaux blends, New York wineries like Bully Hill have sparked fresh interest in single-varietals. In this Cabernet Franc from Bully Hill Vineyards, you'll find all the colors and flavors of fall. A medium-bodied red offers a mild spiciness that Wine Folly recommends pairing with beef burgers, pork belly, or those game-day slow cooker meatballs. The higher acidity makes it a creative combo with smoked meats, tangy barbecue sauce, and rich vegetables like beets or lentils.

L'Ecole 41 Estate Merlot 2017

Similar to Spanish tempranillo and pinot noir, merlot is one of those wines that feels like it was made with the fall season in mind. Because of its lush, velvet-like flavors, merlot grapes are often used to soften red blends (per Uncork). However, full merlot wines are often standouts in and of themselves thanks to rich flavors that go perfectly with falling leaves, roaring fires, and the filling dishes that are beginning to emerge from your oven.

Robb Report is a popular wine site that refers to merlot as the "little sister" to cabernet sauvignon. It is a bit sweeter, yet full of the same textures and body that make it a comforting drink during the colder months. They recommend the Estate Merlot from L'Ecole in the Walla Walla Valley of Oregon as one of the best options around, and it's clear why.

The 2017 L'Ecole 41 Estate Merlot carries woody notes of cedar and tobacco and may convince you that the season has been distilled into your stemless. Aromas of black tea will bring back memories of a cozy hot cup on a frosty morning, but this wine is best served with rich dinner roasts or chocolatey desserts. Drink it now or store it until next fall — L'Ecole Merlot only gets better with the seasons.