17 Expert Wine Pairings for Your Favorite Fall Foods
From apple pie to Thanksgiving turkey, our sommeliers have a wine for it!
Summer is officially over (womp womp), so we're ditching our White Claws for bottles of our favorite vino this autumn. We spoke with two sommeliers—Breana Killeen, M.P.H., R.D., test kitchen manager at EatingWell, and Devon Brogile, Whole Foods Market master sommelier—to get some expert pairings for all of our favorite fall foods. From savory pot pies to sweet and spicy pumpkin bread, here are their top picks for autumn's most iconic foods:
Butternut Squash Soup
Both Killeen and Brogile are fans of pairing white wines with a cozy butternut squash soup. Killeen recommends pairing it with a dry viognier "that is a touch floral but full bodied," like Bonterra Viognier from Mendocino, California.
Brogile loves chardonnay with this soup because it is also full-bodied but has a balance of freshness. He likes Cave De Lugny Chardonnay Macon Villages Reserve from France's iconic Burgundy region.
Get Recipe: Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
Whether it's beefy or vegan, we love a hearty chili when temperatures start to drop. Killeen says she loves a light and fruity zinfandel, as it can hold up to the hefty beans. Her pick is Foxglove Zinfandel out of Paso Robles, California.
Get Recipe: Cowboy Beef & Bean Chili
When it comes to serving up a glorious pumpkin pie, Killeen likes to pair it with a tawny port wine. She says the nuttiness and sweetness is a great complement to pumpkin pie's sweet, nutty and spicy flavors. Her port pick is Graham's 10 Year Old Tawny Port from Douro, Portugal.
Get Recipe: Holiday Pumpkin Pie
When it comes to this delicious side dish, Killeen opts for a classic California chardonnay. She says it's buttery and goes well with creamy potatoes. Her favorite is Santa Barbara Winery Chardonnay out of Santa Barbara, California.
Get Recipe: Loaded Twice-Baked Potatoes
We have both a red and white wine to pair with your favorite curry dishes, depending on your preference. Brogile is a fan of light and aromatic reds with fragrant curries and advises trying Adelsheim Pinot Noir next time you whip one up.
Kileen, on the other hand, says, "I like a full-bodied white that cuts and enhances the spices in curries." She loves an aromatic and fruity gewurztraminer in particular, and suggests trying Gundlach Bundschu Estate Vineyard Gewurztraminer 2017 from Sonoma County, California.
Get Recipe: Super-Green Thai Curry
Cheesy Pasta Dishes
When it comes to cheesy pasta dishes, like fettuccine alfredo or a mushroom ravioli, Killeen is all about a classic light Italian red. One of her favorites is Rocca Felice Dolcetto D'Alba, which is made in Piedmont, Italy.
Get Recipe: Mac & Cheese with Collards
Sweet Potato Fries
While fries made with sweet potatoes aren't all that better for you than standard potato fries, they still deserve a place on your healthy fall plate. Killeen goes for chardonnay here, as she says "It's full-bodied and dry, but this time I'm going with an unoaked because I don't want it to overwhelm the natural sweetness of the sweet potato." Her pick? A to Z Unoaked Chardonnay from Oregon.
Get Recipe: Baked Sweet Potato Curly Fries with Parmesan
Brussels sprouts have made their way to the center of a fall table, and we are all for it. Killeen advises pairing this green veggie with a zesty white wine, like a sauvignon blanc. She says to keep your eye out for Whitehaven Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough, New Zealand the next time you're making a batch of Brussels.
Get Recipe: Cider-Braised Brussels Sprouts with Bacon
It's all about the red when it comes to serving up a glorious, juicy beef tenderloin. Brogile prefers a cabernet sauvignon and says Paso Robles is a wonderful spot for a full-bodied cab at a great value. He loves Cala Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon in particular. Killeen loves a classic Bordeaux blend and says Chateau Feret-Lambert Bordeaux Superior is a great affordable option.
Get Recipe: Beef Tenderloin with Cabernet-Mushroom Sauce
Fall is apple season, which means our kitchens are full of sugar, spice and everything nice (read: apple-forward desserts). Killeen actually prefers a hard cider here to play up the apple flavors—try Shacksbury Dry Cider from Vergennes, Vermont. It brings the cool factor, thanks to its bright-orange cans and modern typography.
Get Recipe: Deep-Dish Apple Pie
Stuffed Spaghetti Squash
We love a tomato-rich sauce with our spaghetti squash, even though it pairs well with so many other flavors. The best wine pairing, however, is a Chianti, according to Killeen. She likes Felsina Chianti Classico from Italy.
Get Recipe: Vegetarian Spaghetti Squash Lasagna
We are big fans of any pork chop recipe (especially if it packs a fall double-whammy with apples), and Killeen says you need a wine that is full-bodied and makes for easy drinking. She likes d'Arenberg The Money Spider Rousanne, a dry white wine with a hint of fruity sweetness that plays well with the apples.
Related: Sauteed Pork Chops with Apples
Chicken Pot Pie
This classic comfort food tastes even better when fall rolls around. Brogile says he loves the combination of a buttery, flaky dough with the rich, creamy filling of a pot pie. His pick is a fresh, crisp and savory sauvignon blanc. He prefers one from France, like Domaine Paul Buisee Touraine Sauvignon Blanc from the Touraine region.
Killeen also loves a white wine here, and opts for a Côtes du Rhône blend. This wine is full-bodied and dry, with hints of creaminess, but no chardonnay. Her pick is JV Fleury Côtes du Rhône Blanc.
Related: Skillet Chicken Pot Pie
Wondering if you should really be pairing your pumpkin bread with a glass of vino? We sure think so! Killeen advises pairing it with an off-dry, slightly bubbly moscato. She likes Vietti Moscato d'Asti Cascinetta.
Get Recipe: Pumpkin Banana Bread
Gnocchi is a fall favorite, especially when it's paired with a rich and savory sauce. When it comes to wine pairings, Killeen advises going for an Italian chardonnay.
"I know I'm picking chardonnay a lot, but it seems to go well with so many fall foods because it's full-bodied without being overpowering," Killeen says. She is a fan of De Forville Piemonte Chardonnay from the Piedmont region of Italy.
Get Recipe: Gnocchi with Bacon & Creamy Pumpkin Sauce
Whether you fill your pie with meat or lentils, rich and hearty comfort food needs a wine that can stand up well. Killeen says syrah is the perfect complement here, and she likes Paul Jaboulet Aine Parallele 45 Cotes-du-Rhone, a French syrah.
Get Recipe: Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie
Your Thanksgiving turkey will taste even better with the perfect wine pairing. Killeen prefers a pinot noir that is light, fresh and doesn't overpower the turkey (and pairs well with the cranberry sauce!) She likes Montinore Red Cap Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley in Oregon. Brogile also likes red wine here, and his go-to is a light-bodied red, such as a Beaujolais. He likes Louis Jadot's Beaujolais-Villages Gamay and serves it slightly chilled.
Get Recipe: Herb-Roasted Turkey