Fall Flavors PairingsFall is in full swing and the #PSL (pumpkin spice latte) hashtag is more popular than ever. Of course, with the changing color of the leaves comes more than just pumpkin spice. To help make the most of the season’s warm accents, earthy herbs, root vegetables and sweet apples, we’ve called in three wine experts—Master sommelier Jarad Slipp (estate director at renowned RdV Vineyards in Virginia), sommelier Tara Herrick (wine director at San Francisco’s Dirty Water) and Level II sommelier Clarke Anderson (beverage manager for Ford Fry’s Buckhead restaurants in Atlanta)—to create the ultimate wine pairing guide for Fall’s favorite flavors. Take a look:


Roasted turkey with sage

  • Slipp’s Pick: “Because Thanksgiving is wholly American, why would you drink something foreign? That’s why I’d go with a Bordeaux blend from the foot hills of Virginia, like RdV Lost Mountain 2009 ($95)—it’s what Thomas Jefferson would have drank on T-Day.”
  • Anderson’s Pick: “Go with a Gamay, like Damien Coquelet in Beaujolais ($22). This manipulated style—it’s ripe, yet tart cranberries and cherries along with deeply herbal and earthy tones—is perfect with the entire spread of Thanksgiving foods, especially the turkey.”
  • Herrick’s Pick: “The ripeness and juiciness from the red fruit of a Pinot Noir, like Wild Ridge Pinot Noir 2012 ($40), brings out the succulence from the roasted turkey and can work with the sage since Pinot Noirs tend to give off delicate aromas.”  


Grilled pork with apples  

  • Slipp’s Pick: “Fight fire with fire and go for a dry apple cider, like Foggy Ridge First Fruit Cider ($16)—it’s got a snappy acidity and just a touch of tannin to keep the pork honest.”
  • Anderson’s Pick: “Hirsch Vineyards Pinot Noir ‘Bohan Dillon’ Estate ($41). Toasty notes in the pork and sugar from the apples will play with the oak influence in this bottling, while the acid, typical of grapes grown in this Sonoma Coast vineyard, makes this wine very food friendly.”
  • Herrick’s Pick: “Frantz Saumon, Minerale+, Chenin Blanc 2013 ($26) is fresh and vibrant with hints of citrus and yellow apples with a snappy acidity.”   



Cream of mushroom soup

  • Slipp’s Pick: “Dolcetto is what you drink while you wait for those Barolos and Barbarescos to come around. Try Poderi Luigi Einaudi, Dogliani Superiore DOCG Vigna Tecc 2012 ($18), which has bright fruit and acid, but still with that Piedmontese mushroomy stank.”
  • Anderson’s Pick: “Altesino Rosso di Altesino Toscana ($20). The aromas of mushrooms and savory Sangiovese with the careful use of French oak create delicious flavor matches and the bright acid gives a perfect weight contrast on the palette.”
  • Herrick’s Pick: “Knez Chardonnay ($35) has just enough oak and creaminess to compliment the soup; however, it also has just the right amount of acidity on the finish to cut through the cream creating a balanced pairing.”



Butternut squash ravioli  

  • Slipp’s Pick: “Meursault tends to be the most weighty style of white Burgundy, but never goes over the line into flabby territory. Go for Patrick Javillier Meursault ($50), which is lush and creamy, but with lemony brightness, hazelnuts and wet stone. As a bonus it’s not stupid expensive.”
  • Anderson’s Pick: “Full on the palette, with a long finish and a deep mineral undertone, Pinot Gris, like The Eyrie Vineyards Pinot Gris ($19), frames the earthy flavors of butternut squash and will bring floral aromatics to any sauce especially brown butter.”
  • Herrick’s Pick: “Alsacean Pinot Blanc, like Weinback Pinot Blanc Reserve 2010 ($27), has warm spices and luscious stone fruit on the nose, and on the palate, the wine is rich with great acidity.”



Caramelized Brussels sprouts with bacon  

  • Slipp’s Pick: “Once you caramelize those barbie cabbages, their green notes get replaced with smoky notes. Add bacon and I want to be drinking something with awesomeness in the glass as well. Enter Domaine Jamet Cote Rotie ($122).”
  • Herrick’s Pick: “Eric Texier Syrah Côte Rôtie Vieilles Vignes ($52) is a classy example with smoke and charred green elements, black olives and meaty components that will deepen the enjoyment of the vegetal Brussels sprouts and bacon.” 
  • Anderson’s Pick: “Produced from old vies in Southern France, Mas des Agrunelles 'L'indigene' Carignan Blend ($9) is peppery, smoky, red fruit dominate wine with some herbal notes.” 


Pumpkin pie  

  • Slipp’s Pick: “Rule #1 when pairing wines with desserts: the wine should always have more sweetness. That’s not going to be an issue with Kurt Darting Huxelrebe ($55), which has slightly less acidity and purity than Riesling, but makes up for it with power and wham factor.”
  • Anderson’s Pick: “Not too sweet and quite nutty with dried fig and apricot and playful honeysuckle, San Felice Vin Santo del Chianti Classico ($47) is a rare and delicious holy wine with just the right balance to finish off a Thanksgiving meal.”  
  • Herricks Pick: “SF Mead Co. Apple Pie Mead ($30). Warm baking spices and honey aromatics dominate the nose, and after a sip, tastes like sweet caramelized baked apples.”