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December 2016

Fabulous Fall Wines Under $15

By Anu Karwa

The onset of fall doesn’t just shift your fashion choices from bright white to winter white, sandals to ballet flats. It subtly alters what you feel like drinking. To ease the transition to cooler weather, here are our top wine picks for fall. And in case you’ve spent your savings on the latest fall fashion, these bottles are all under $15!

From Our White Wine Tastings

Sparkling Wine:
Sorelle Bronca Prosecco Di Valdobbiadene NV, Veneto, Italy

Organically grown and estate-bottled quarterly by 2 sisters, this is Prosecco at its best. It’s clean and crisp with pure pear flavors—a welcome way to kick off any dinner party.
Buy Sorelle Bronca Prosecco Di Valdobbiadene NV, Veneto, Italy, $13.98, at hopsandgrapesonline.com

California White Wine:
Clayhouse Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc, 2009, Paso Robles, California

It’s often assumed New-World Sauvignon Blanc is over-the-top citrusy and a tart bomb. This wine shows the complexity and mineral character a Sauvignon Blanc can have, making it appropriate for cooler weather.
Buy Clayhouse Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc, 2009, Paso Robles, California, $14, at clayhousewines.com

Chardonnay from California:
Johnson Family Chardonnay, 2008, Sonoma, California

A medium-to-full-bodied, well-balanced Chardonnay with oak that doesn’t hit you over the head but warms you up just a bit.
Buy Johnson Family Chardonnay, 2008, Sonoma, California, $13.99, at astorwines.com

A Blended White Wine:
Vina Robles White 4, 2008, Paso Robles, California

An interesting blend from a region that deserves more attention for its white wine, this is a medium-bodied wine with underlying almond notes. Perfect for brunch.
Buy Vina Robles White 4, 2008, Paso Robles, California, $14.99, at heightschateau.com

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Our Red Wine Review

Red Wine from California:
Crew Wine Company Matchbook Tempranillo, 2007, Dunnigan Hills, California

Tempranillo should become the official wine of fall with its smokiness, tart cherry notes, and spiciness. Here, the Tempranillo grape is assisted by Graciano and Petite Sirah. Even the name warms you up.
Buy Crew Wine Company Matchbook Tempranillo, 2007, Dunnigan Hills, California, $11.99, at winehouse.com

Cabernet Sauvignon & Merlot Wine Blend:
Kanonkop Kadette, 2008, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Pencil shavings and tobacco might not sound like ideal descriptors for something you drink, but with wine, those words are heaven to some, this drinker being one. This autumnal red is a smooth yet smoky blend of Pinotage, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc.
Buy Kanonkop Kadette, 2008, Stellenbosch, South Africa, $13.49, at wine.com

Perfect Pinot Noir:
J. Heinrich Blaufrankisch, 2008, Burgenland, Austria

One of the most popular requests wine writers receive is for picks of Pinot Noir around $15, which is nearly impossible to supply. However, if you love Pinot Noir and want a bargain, check out Blaufrankisch from Austria. Its style is very similar to Pinot Noir.
Buy J. Heinrich Blaufrankisch, 2008, Burgenland, Austria, $15, at plonkwinemerchants.com

Super Fruity Red Wine:
The Messenger Telegram Red Wine, Napa, California

If a juicy, fruit-forward fruit bomb is what you’re craving, this hits the spot. Excellent with pizza.
Buy The Messenger Telegram Red Wine, Napa, California, $14, at girlsinthevineyard.com

Argentine Red Wine:
Doña Paula Estate Malbec, 2008, Mendoza, Argentina

No list of bargain wines would be complete without a Malbec. This example has more silkiness than expected, with smooth tannins, a lush feel, and the requisite plum and dark berry flavors for which Malbec is known. A good buy at this price.
Buy Doña Paula Estate Malbec, 2008, Mendoza, Argentina, $13.49, at wine.com

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Anu Karwa, Epicurean Contributing Editor
Anu Karwa has been called a no-nonsense walking 411 for a new generation of female wine drinkers and home entertainers since she launched Swirl Events, an in-home and corporate wine tasting events company with a fresh, hip spin. For anyone who thinks Perez Hilton should be required reading . . . Read more of Anu’s picks

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