Fall is an under-repped season. No-one seems to love it as much as summer, and no one seems to complain about it as much as winter. It’s lives in between, marked by transition more than extreme weather; which is probably why you’ll read about so many summer and winter wines, but notice a definite lack of autumnal recommendations.
But fall in this corner of the world is great! All those red leaves… it starts to look almost romantic. Plus the temperature hits that sweet spot between the brutal summer highs and the punishing, no-central-heating-for-you Shanghai cold. This time of the year is a good one. And, thankfully, there are wines out here to go with it.
As one of the more full-bodied whites, Chardonnay is an ideal pick if you’re looking for a white that’ll let you transition from summer to winter gracefully. Some say that this is particularly true of those aged in oak barrels, though the wine’s generally heavy character means that others will fit in to a fall lineup just fine too.
With its bold, spicy, red fruit inflected flavors and medium body Pinot Noir can be seen as a quintessentially autumnal red. It pairs well with the sorts of richer, heavier flavors that start to creep on to tables as weather starts to get a little colder, particularly duck.
Champagne (& Other Sparkling Wines)
Champagne, (and fine, other sparkling wines too), are versatile wines that are suitable for drinking all year round. You might see these refreshing and celebratory bottles as quintessential summer wines; sparkling, served chilled, etc. But their light, easy-pleasing character lend themselves perfectly well to other times of year too. And, really, don’t you always want to have a bottle of Champagne on hand?
Like Pinot Noirs, Merlots are well suited to fall drinking thanks not only to their not-to-light, not-too-full bodies but also their richly fruity notes inflected with a slightly savory spice. They also pair nicely with earthy flavors, like mushroom and black pepper, that cry out to be enjoyed when winter is not quite here but just around the corner.
So there you go! A way to make fall in China even better… you’re welcome 🙂