The Best Fall Wines for Every Budget

The Best Fall Wines for Every Budget

Fall is around the corner, which means it’s just about time for a few of our favorite flavors of the year, from apples and squash, to pumpkins and pecan pie. The only thing better than a table full of the aforementioned? One that is decorated with the perfect wine pairings. To help ensure your wine cellar is as well-stocked as your spice cabinet this season, we asked experts across the country for their favorite finds of the moment — for every budget. From an everyday rosé to a 94-point Pinot Noir splurge (and everything in between), here are your best bets for every kind of bottle this season.

$15 and under 

2015 A La Carte White Blend ($15)

fall wine: 2015 A La Carte White Blend

We don’t offer many wines at the $15 price point, but this one is a great value and an even better weekend sipper,” says Scott Washburn, founder of Winestyr in Chicago. “It’s great for easy drinking and pairs well with light bites and spicy foods. It’s perfect for pre-gaming on an October afternoon, while soaking up your last rays of sun for the year.”

Domaine de la Prébende, Beaujolais Vieilles 2016 ($14.99)

fall wine: Domaine de la Prébende, Beaujolais Vieilles 2016

“This is from one of my favorite wine regions, Beaujolais,” says Fernando Beteta, master sommelier and founder of Tenzing Wine & Spirits in Chicago. “This Gamay-based red wine is light, fresh, and a perfect pairing for fall flavors, particularly Thanksgiving.”

2016 Moulin De Gassac, Guilhem Rosé (averages $11)

fall wine: 2016 Moulin De Gassac, Guilhem Rosé

“This is the second label from the benchmark winery in the region that produces more rosé than anywhere else in France,” says Andrew Schawel, wine director of Vinateria in Harlem, New York. “This is a year-round rosé, but it’s also perfect for late summer, Thanksgiving, and midwinter cabin fever. It’s balanced, crisp and smooth on the palate.”


D7 Sauvignon Blanc, District 7 Wines ($16)

fall wine: D7 Sauvignon Blanc

“This is a mini-vacation in a glass,” says Kim Stemler, executive director of the Monterey County Vintners & Growers Association in Monterey, California. The aroma is enchanting, with alluring hints of passion fruit, melon and citrus. It’s very food friendly, and the clean and crisp minerality helps it to pair easily with everything from salads, vegetables and pasta, to chicken, shrimp and fish.”

Barons Lafite Rothschild, “Legende” Bordeaux Blanc ($18)

fall wine: Barons Lafite Rothschild, “Legende” Bordeaux Blanc

“I love changing up my white wine lineup with a lively Sauvignon Blanc-Semillon from Bordeaux as the summer is coming to an end and when there is a chill in the air,” says Chantelle Corbo, creative director and partner of RBC Hospitality Group in New York City. “You can count on these wines to hit the entire spectrum of prices, from affordable to ultra-expensive, but there is something about the everyday Bordeaux blancs that always seem to please. You can find this one for under $15, so you don’t have to feel guilty about opening it while watching Sunday’s game or having friends over for an impromptu dinner. The high proportion of Sémillon gives this one that extra oomph to help it stand up to decadent Thanksgiving dishes and fall favorites, while classic citrus and honeyed pineapple notes make it dangerously easy to drink.”

Lohr October Night Chardonnay 2015 ($25)

fall wine: Lohr October Night Chardonnay 2015

“Traditional Burgundian winemaking techniques were used to provide a complex texture to complement the exotic aromatics of this bottle, which is full of gardenia, orange blossom, wet stone and ripe apple,” Stemler says. “It finishes long on the palate with tangerine, baking spices and a hint of toasted oak — making it a great accompaniment to seafood dishes like scallops or whitefish.” 

2016 Poe Rosé ($22)

fall wine: 2016 Poe Rose

“Most people drink rosé because it’s refreshing and fun to drink in the summer, but a lot of people don’t realize how well rosé can pair up with food,” Washburn says. “This wine is a perfect candidate for Sunday brunch — try it with a ham and mushroom quiche or a rich, gourmet grilled cheese sandwich.”

Bouvet Signature Brut ($17.97)

fall wine: Bouvet Signature Brut

“Everyone that knows me knows that I love bubbles, so when I come across a unique wine like this, I stock up the cellar,” Corbo says. “There are a lot of social get-togethers in fall, so between family gatherings, host gifts, and large holiday celebrations, it’s always a good idea to have an approachable sparkler on hand. Bouvet-Ladubay is from the Loire Valley of France, and this blend is composed of 80 percent Chenin Blanc and 20 percent Chardonnay, resulting in aromas of orchard fruits, Anjou pears and green apples, and honeysuckle.”

Maxime Graillot, Equinoxe, Crozes Hermitage 2015 ($21.97)

fall wine: Maxime Graillot, Equinoxe, Crozes Hermitage 2015

“This vintage made a wine that is dark, spicy, complex and full-bodied,” Beteta says. “It plays on all the same levels as a Cote Rotie, but for half the price. Expect flavors of bacon, pepper and violets, with crunchy acidity.”

2015 Tabali Talinay Sauvignon Blanc ($20.99)

fall wine: 2015 Tabali Talinay Sauvignon Blanc

“This is one of Chile’s hidden gems, from a producer that lets the cool climate fruit tell its own story,” Schawel says. “The style of this house is restraint, elegance and finesse. This is uniquely the new Chile.”


Bernardus Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir 2014 ($35)

fall wine: Bernardus Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

“This wine is an exquisite expression of a classic Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir — a clean and pure medium-bodied wine,” Stemler says. “It has candied rose petal and clove aromas, bright plum and black cherry flavors, a light oak spiciness, and a long, lingering aftertaste. It is no wonder that this Pinot Noir, even with its limited production, can be found throughout the world. Perfect for sipping alone or with food, this one is a must for your holiday dinner table and will pair equally well with your poached salmon or green lentil curry.”

2013 Baker & Brain Pendulum Red Blend ($35)

fall wine: Baker & Brain Pendulum Red Blend

“Summer may be in the rearview mirror, but that doesn’t mean barbecue season has to be,” Washburn says. “This bold blend of 60 percent Syrah and 40 percent Grenache is made from organically grown grapes and will stand up to several grilled favorites, from burgers, to fatty, pulled pork shoulder. It received 92 points from Wine Enthusiast, and only 228 cases were produced — grab one while they last.”

Drouhin Roserock Eola Amity Hills Pinot Noir, 2014 ($37.99)

fall wine: Drouhin Roserock Eola Amity Hills Pinot Noir

The Eola Amity Hills is a region in Oregon that I’ve always had a sweet spot for in my heart — I traveled there for ‘Pinot Camp’ many years ago, fascinated by how diverse the soil composition is,” Corbo says. “Drouhin is among the many great growers there, and this cool climate Roserock Pinot Noir is at the top of my list for fall favorites. Its seductive nose — spicy and full of blackberries and cherry candied fruit — delivers everything you want in a Pinot Noir: structure, elegance, and wildly satisfying aromatics. I’m already planning to drink this with cassoulet, lentils, and duck breast this fall.”

Ar. Pe. Pe, Rosso di Valtellina 2014 ($31.97)

fall wine: Ar. Pe. Pe., Rosso di Valtellina

“If you’re craving some earthy flavors but also want fruit in your wine, Nebbiolo from the Alps is delicious,” Beteta says. “Grown on terraced vineyards, this is like a baby Barolo, except without the hard tannins and price tag. This one packs notes of roses, sandalwood, cherries and mint.”

Taittinger Prestige Rosé, NV ($34.99)

fall wine: Taittinger Prestige Rose

When I’m entertaining at home, I love kicking things off with a glass of Rosé Champagne,” Corbo says. “This is really a year-round kind of thing for me, but it’s particularly fitting for bountiful fall produce like squash, pumpkin and root vegetables. The beauty of rosé is that you can serve it throughout the meal, and it will hit all cylinders. This bottle, in particular, is a textural experience: It starts with a creamy dense mid-palate and finishes with an elegant acidity and complexity that delivers so much bang for the splurge.”

2015 Comando G La Bruja de Rozas ($29.99)

fall wine: 2015 Comando G La Bruja de Rozas

“This is what Garnacha should taste like,” Schawel says. “The fruit comes from a selection of their diverse, biodynamic single-vineyard sites. The old vines are between 50 and 80 years in age and are hand harvested and naturally fermented, resulting in a wine that is round, medium-bodied and fresh, with an intensity that jumps out of the glass.”

2014 Couloir Chileno Vineyard Pinot Noir ($44)

fall wine: 2014 Couloir Chileno Vineyard Pinot Noir

“Thanksgiving is the main event in America during the fall, and no wine pairs better with a plump Thanksgiving turkey than Pinot Noir,” Washburn says. “This Pinot Noir, in particular, is high in acid, mouthwatering, earthy, and downright delicious. The bottle carries focused notes of wild raspberry and strawberry and is counterbalanced by forest and coastal notes, making it a living example of how and why Pinot Noir has thrived on the North Coast of California. Bring this wine to your family’s Thanksgiving dinner, and you’ll be declared this year’s holiday hero.” 


Caraccioli Cellars Brut Cuvée ($52-$115)  

fall wine: Caraccioli Cellars Brut Cuvee

“Most sparkling wines and all Champagnes are made predominantly from two types of grapes — Chardonnay and Pinot Noir — it stands to reason that some of the best sparkling wine in the world would be born from Monterey Wine Country, where we specialize in both,” Stemler says. “This wine offers a nose of lightly toasted brioche and zesty lemon citrus, while complex flavors of almond, apple and pear come through on the palate with a long, creamy almond finish.”

2011 Zyme Di Celestino, Kairos ($105.99)

fall wine: 2011 Zyme Di Celestino, Kairos

“From the son-in-law of cult wine producer Giuseppe Quintarelli, Zyme’s wine are explosive, concentrated, and the perfect blend of tradition and technical mastery,” Schawel says. “Kairos, which means ‘at the right moment’ in Greek, is a field blend of at least 15 different varieties — all hand harvested at their individual level of ripeness, then dried on straw mats in the style of Amarone. This wine is big, rich and complex.”

2013 Domaine Leflaive, Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru “Pucelles” ($319.99)

fall wine: 2013 Domaine Leflaive, Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru “Pucelles”

“When you want to really reward yourself or others, White Burgundy will always deliver,” Beteta says. “This is a magical wine from a single vineyard. It was the last vintage completed by owner and winemaker Anne Claude Leflaive, who passed away in 2015.”

Calling all oenophiles!

Are you as passionate about making a difference as you are about wine? Then you need to put this annual fundraiser on your calendar: Auction Napa Valley brings incredible winemakers, connoisseurs, collectors and philanthropists together in one place for an memorable weekend of incredible wine and spectacular impact.


More from Make It Better: 


Nicole SchnitzlerNicole Schnitzler is a freelance writer who covers​ ​food, drink, ​travel and ​lifestyle. When she is not planning her next adventure​​, she can be found​ ​commuting between bakeries, yoga classes,​ live music shows, and libraries ​in her hometown of ​​Chicago. She is most comfortable with a pen in one hand and a fork in the other. Nicole is also the founder of Doors Open Dishes, an initiative committed to keeping the doors open to the group homes and workshops of individuals with special needs by partnering with chefs and restaurants across the city. Follow her on Twitter (@Write_To_Eat) or on Instagram (@WriteToEat).





  Who We Are       NFP Support       Magazine       Programs       Donate