Grilled chicken with Amici Sauvignon Blanc.
As corn and watermelons give way to pomegranites and squash, fall ushers in a whole new menu. We tapped some of our favorite wine experts for advice on which wines to drink alongside some of autumn’s best dishes.
If you’re eating: Goat cheese
Pair it with an earthy pinot like: Truchard Vineyards'.
“Harvest time means cheeses made from last spring's milk have developed concentrated, complex flavors that call for robust wines. I love to pair medium-to-full bodied pinot noir with aged goat cheese, balancing the cheese's caramel flavors and the wine's fruity warm spice. As a first course, add seeded flatbread, roasted beets, and a sweet-spicy onion jam for a richly textured trinity of sweet, spice, and earthy flavors.” —Chef Jacquelyn Buchanan, culinary director, Marin French Cheese
If you're eating: Ratatouille
Pair it with a white like: Amici Sauvignon Blanc
“Featuring fall harvest flavors doesn’t mean you have to switch away from white wines and focus on only red wines. I love to pair our Amici Sauvignon Blanc with harvest ratatouille on polenta squares as a first course for a fall harvest dinner. The crisp minerality of the Sauvignon Blanc provides the perfect balance, adding just the right amount of brightness.” —Celia Shepard, co-owner, Amici Cellars
If you're eating: Ravioli with sage brown butter
Pair it with a red like: 2011 St. Francis Cabernet Franc
“The vegetal characteristics of this varietal enhance the earthy elements of this fall comfort dish. To make the ravioli, we add chanterelles and top it with some toasted crumbled hazelnuts. Sage and squash are such wonderful fall favorite ingredients, and you wouldn't necessarily think to pair this dish with a red wine.” —Bryan Jones, chef, St. Francis Winery
If you're eating: Braised short ribs
Pair it with a red like: 2010 Animo Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.
"Aged for 20 months in French oak, this expressive single-vineyard cabernet sauvignon is especially delicious with slow-braised meat dishes. Animo boasts hints of vanilla and spice with dark, concentrated fruit and sublime tannins that stand up to the falling-off-the-bone short ribs and the earthy flavor of the wild mushrooms in this dish." —Rob Mondavi Jr., co-founder and president of winemaking at Michael Mondavi Family Estate
If you’re eating: Figs with goat cheese and prosciutto
Pair it with a red like: 2012 Aldo’s Vineyard Zinfandel
“The grapes that go into the Aldo’s zinfandel are from the oldest vines in Oak Knoll. Perhaps the signature trait of Aldo’s is its silky, 'pillow-y', and decadent texture. Try to find figs picked from local trees to pair with this historic vineyard Zinfandel.” —Tres Goetting, Robert Biale Vineyards
If you’re eating: Grilled tuna
Pair it with a white like: 2012 Stony Hill Gewürztraminer
“Don't be scared of this simply because it is a gewürztraminer. This is not an insipidly sweet bore—far from it! The wine has a slight smoky spice that is followed by tropical fruit and golden apple tones, held together by an energetic acid.” —Scott Turnbull, sommelier, Solage Calistoga’s
If you're eating: Aged beef strip loin
Pair it with a red like: 2011 Gemstone Vineyard Estate Red Wine
“The wine displays deep dark fruit balanced with a lively texture and sweet aromas of spice. It combines a well-balanced tannin structure with perfect acidity. The ensemble fits the beef like a dream, and counterplays deliciously with the spinach and the wild mushrooms.” —Anani Lawson, Wine Director of Lucy at the Bardessono
If you're eating: Duck with cranberry sauce
Pair it with a zin like: 2012 Turley “Pesenti Vineyard” Zinfandel
“The Pesenti Zinfandel is a phenomenal wine to help ease the transition into fall’s cooler and more contemplative months. The high acidity in the wine will cut through the fat in the duck, and the Pesenti’s vibrant red fruits and sweet baking spices will be an excellent complement to the seasonings in the dish.” —Christina Turley, Turley Wine Cellars
If you’re eating: Pasta bolognese
Pair it with a red like: Seghesio 2012 Old Vine Zinfandel
“I love our Old Vine wine with pasta bolognese, and as autumn sets in there is no better time for this classic Italian comfort food. The milk incorporated into the sauce will act in taming the tannins. The wine’s natural affinity for cooked tomatoes will allow the Old Vine Zinfandel to exhibit its concentrated bright red fruit characteristics. —Winemaker Ted Seghesio and chef Peter Janiak, Seghesio Family Vineyards
If you’re eating: Glazed pork loin with peach jam
Pair it with a rosé like: 2013 SIMI Dry Rosé
“The rosé is crisp like a white wine but also contains flavor characteristics of a light red wine. The peach jam condiment is slightly tart, which enhances the fruit characteristics of the rosé. The 2013 SIMI Dry Rosé is incredibly versatile, a very food-friendly pour.” —Chef Kolin Vazzoler, Executive Chef, SIMI Winery