Fall Recipes and Their Perfect Wine Pairings
The air is cool and crisp, pumpkin spice lattes have returned to Starbucks, and harvest in wine regions throughout the Northern Hemisphere are well underway. It’s official, autumn has arrived. Though a change in weather and wardrobe isn’t all the new season has to offer.
Fall also brings a bounty of delicious seasonal produce ready to be transformed into flavorful autumn recipes to make this time of year even more enjoyable. And the only thing better than a delectable meal is savoring said meal with the perfect wine pairing. So, here are some of our favorite fall vegetable recipes along with exquisite wine pairings and recipes for you to try at home.
Squash is one of the most iconic autumn vegetables. Though pumpkin is the most common, fall recipes featuring butternut squash, acorn squash, and spaghetti squash are also very popular. Not to mention some of the most highly searched fall recipes on Pinterest.
Whether transformed into soups, stuffed into ravioli, or oven roasted, there’s no better way to embrace the season than the delicately sweet yet nutty and creamy flavors of fall squash.
Our Picks for Fall Recipes Featuring Squash
· Butternut squash soup
· Creamy butternut squash pasta
· Wild rice stuffed acorn squash
· Spinach stuffed spaghetti squash with garlic and feta
· Creamy pumpkin and cheddar scalloped potatoes
Everyday Wine Matches for Fall Squash Recipes
Chardonnay is a classic wine pairing for most squash recipes. The ideal Chardonnay will have gone through malolactic fermentation so it has a creamy texture and buttery flavors to complement the creaminess of the squash. A touch of new oak influence (but not too much) will also bring vanilla and toasty notes to highlight the nuttiness in fall squash.
Viognier makes for another fantastic white wine pairing with its creamy, oily texture, high fruit flavors of tangerine and peach along with floral honeysuckle notes.
Pinot Noir is a classic wine pairing for fall squash thanks to its red fruit and spice flavors. Opt for an Old World red Burgundy or New World Oregon Pinot for more mushroom and earthy flavors that mirror the savory aspects of the squash.
Out of the Box Wine Pairings
South African Chenin Blanc delivers a richer, fruitier style of this French variety with notes of allspice, Asian pear, yellow apple, and subtle spice from oak aging. These characteristics perfectly complement the sweet spices of many seasonal butternut squash soups and pumpkin based casseroles or pastas.
Gewürztraminer is another fuller bodied white wine with spice flavors and floral notes complementary to fall recipes which highlight the squash’s natural flavors.
Hailing from Campania in southern Italy, the Falanghina grape brings fresh acidity with notes of lemon, blossom, honey, and almonds ideal for light fall squash recipes, like acorn squash simply roasted with olive oil and Parmigiano Reggiano.
Green Fall Vegetables
Many green fall vegetables, such as brussels sprouts, artichokes, broccoli, and broccoli rabe, are traditionally considered difficult to pair well with wine. They have bitter, vegetal flavors that can make some wines seem overly bitter or tannic in return when not matched with care.
The trick is to pair their vegetal flavors with wines that have similar ‘green’ notes or pair these green fall vegetables with more fruit forward wines low in tannins. Any bitter flavors in the vegetables will emphasize bitter flavors in the wine. Therefore, fruit forward wines with less tannins are ideal.
Our Picks for Fall Recipes Featuring Green Vegetables
· Shaved Brussels sprout salad with crispy bacon, Parmigiano Reggiano, and toasted walnuts
· Balsamic roasted Brussels sprouts with pancetta
· Cheesy baked artichokes
· Roasted broccoli salad with cranberry, farro, and feta
· Orecchiette pasta with broccoli rabe, sausage, and Parmigiano Reggiano
Everyday Wine Matches for Green Fall Vegetables
Grüner Veltliner is Austria’s most prominent variety producing white wines with notes of white pepper, savory herbs, and even vegetal notes like asparagus. Wines made from this variety range from light to full-bodied. Therefore, they’re ideal pairings for lighter fall recipes featuring green vegetables and with richer versions, too. Learn more about other “green” white wine options here.
Gamay is the French grape behind the fruity red wines of Beaujolais. These wines tend to be light-bodied and low in tannin with flavors ranging from fruity and floral to more earthy.
Cabernet Franc produces red wines with notes of red fruits like strawberry and raspberry along with distinctive flavors of green bell pepper. These green vegetal notes and moderate tannins make Cabernet Franc a great match for green fall vegetables. Check out our Loire Valley winery guide for some of our favorite Cabernet Franc producers.
Out of the Box Wine Pairings
Cinsault is a red variety grown throughout the south of France and in the Southern Rhône Valley that’s fruit forward and low in tannin. Wines made from this French grape have flavors of red currant, raspberry, tart cherry, and subtle spices, all complementary to the bitter, vegetal notes of these green fall vegetables.
Kerner is a white grape variety grown in Germany and northeastern Italy. It’s a crossing of Riesling and Trollinger, yielding wines with apple, pear, citrus, and perhaps stone fruit flavors. Kerner’s high acidity could be a delicious contrast to fall recipes with green vegetables smothered in cheese in cream sauce.
Leafy Fall Greens
Chard, kale, chicories, cabbage, and arugula are all examples of leafy greens we love including in fall salad recipes and fall dinner recipes in general. Chard and cabbage are ideal for sautés, oven roasting, and braising with a flavorful stuffing. Kale, chicories, and arugula are flavorful and healthy additions to hearty autumn salads.
These leafy fall greens also have bitter, vegetal, and sometimes peppery (hello arugula!) flavors. So, as with the previously mentioned green fall vegetables, we’ll want to avoid super high tannins and lean into fruitier wines.
Our Picks for Fall Recipes Featuring Leafy Greens
· Fall harvest Honeycrisp apple and kale salad
· Kale salad with quinoa and cranberries
· Persimmons and roasted chicories with shallot vinaigrette
· Fall-apart caramelized cabbage
· Swiss chard and mushroom galette
Everyday Wine Matches for Leafy Fall Greens
The fruity notes and fresh acidity of Sauvignon Blanc, coupled with the variety’s vegetal or herbaceous characteristics, make these white wines an ideal match for leafy greens. For heartier fall greens recipes, try a Sauvignon Blanc from Bordeaux, which is likely to be a richer style since it’s typically blended with Semillon here.
Picpoul Blanc is a zippy white wine bursting with fresh acidity, as well as green apple, thyme, lemon, and blossom flavors. This wine is a great match for fall salad recipes where arugula, fresh herbs, or citrus are involved.
Zweigelt is Austria’s most planted red grape that’s reminiscent of Pinot Noir. Made from a crossing of Blaufränkisch and St. Laurent, Zweigelt has low tannins with red cherry, raspberry, and peppery flavors which shine alongside fall recipes for oven roasted, sautéed, or braised leafy greens.
Out of the Box Wine Pairings
Cultivated in Italy’s Alto-Adige and Germany, Schiava is a light-bodied aromatic red wine bursting with strawberry, raspberry, rose candy, citrus, and even smoke aromas. It makes for a fresh, vibrant contrast to the earthy flavors of leafy greens. Plus, Schiava will make ingredients like persimmons and cranberries in fall salads pop.
The same goes for Nerello Mascalese, a red variety from Sicily with flavors of dried cherry, orange zest, dried thyme, and allspice. Nerello Mascalese reds are great for cooked leafy greens, while a rosé of Nerello Mascalese is the perfect pairing for fresh fall salads.
Fall Root Vegetables
Whether oven roasted or simmered in soups, root vegetables provide quintessential flavors of autumn. From rutabagas to parsnips, sweet potatoes, turnips, radishes, and sunchokes, fall recipes featuring root vegetables are filling, heartwarming, and comforting.
When pairing wines with root vegetables, those with earthy, spicy, or intense fruit flavors and more substantial body usually make the best match.
Our Picks for Fall Recipes Featuring Root Vegetables
· Oven roasted sunchokes
· Potato, turnip, and mushroom gratin
· Spiced maple roasted carrots and parsnips
· Savory vegan twice baked sweet potatoes
Everyday Wine Matches for Fall Root Vegetables
The bold fruit flavors and chocolaty finish of Malbec make it a great match for the earthy flavors of fall root vegetables. Red plum and blackberry flavors of this red wine coupled with tobacco and vanilla notes nicely complement the earthiness of these vegetables.
Merlot also offers a range of aromas and flavors that highlight everything we love about root vegetables. The wine delivers plum, chocolate, and green herbal aromas like bay leaves, along with subtle vanilla notes from oak aging.
Alternatively, reach for a Zinfandel with jammy fruit flavors, exotic spices, and subtle smoke aromas.
Out of the Box Wine Pairings
Pinotage is a frequently overlooked grape from South Africa. A crossing of Pinot Noir and Cinsault, Pinotage has both earthy and fruity flavors of black cherry and blackberry. This wine has subtle meaty undertones and herbal or spice qualities, making it a delicious pairing for the savory flavors of fall recipes with root vegetables.
Negroamaro from southern Italy is the perfect match for roasted root vegetables with some caramelization or those in which the recipe calls for maple syrup, balsamic, etc. These sweet, caramelized flavors really highlight the fruity black cherry, black plum, and prune notes in this Italian red wine.