Gorgeous PNW Wines to Fall For

Grapevines curling around at Stoller Vineyard (Image by Stoller Vineyard)

Golden leaves, crisp air, cozy knits, and pumpkin-spice everything—fall is such a special time of the year. Autumnal vibes are everywhere around us. The true beauty of fall is that it is the season of change, of shedding the old to make way for the new. It is amazing to stroll around apple orchards and pumpkin patches, but sometimes it’s nicer to stay in with a cozy meal paired with wine.

We’re already layering on the sweaters and have bid farewell to sundresses and floppy hats. Until next time! This means—it is time to transition to warming wine too. As the weather gets colder and the days get shorter, it is time to make the switch from rosé to red. Bye pink wine! We’re just a couple days away from Thanksgiving, and it will be Christmas before we know it. There are bottles of vino to crack open for celebrations galore. Or you could just curl up by the fire with a copy of your favorite dog-eared book and enjoy a spicy, earthy wine. 

Here’s a wine line-up to go with the colder days and good times ahead. Luckily for us, we don’t have to look too far for wonderful wines. These wines are hyperlocal, bountiful gifts of the Pacific Northwest. They’re not too heavy on the pocket either—all in the range of $20 to $40. Happy sipping! 

Adelsheim Vineyard’s 2015 Breaking Ground Pinot Noir 

Adelsheim calls the Chehalem Mountains home and this AVA is diverse, unique and bountiful. All of these elements are translated into their world-famous wines. As we transition into cooler temperatures, Adelsheim Vineyard’s 2015 Breaking Ground Pinot Noir is the ideal wine to drink. Pinot Noir tastes like fall in a glass, and this one is particularly reminiscent of the forest. It is brimming over with dark cherry and woodsy notes. The best pairing for this vino? Comfort food. Spaghetti Aglio olio, mashed potatoes, mushroom risotto. Some melt-in-the-mouth mushroom risotto and a glass of this pinot noir is the most wonderful marriage. The combination of a classic red wine and a decadent risotto is one of the best food-wine pairings in the world. It is so hard to mess with!

Adelsheim’s Associate Director of Education and Experience, Elizabeth Clark, talks about fall wines, “There are so many variables that go into enjoying a glass of wine; the food I’m eating, the mood I’m in, and the weather outside. Luckily, we have entered my favorite season of the year so it’s a lot easier! The 2015 Breaking Ground Pinot Noir is the one-size-fits-all food pairing wine. This wine has the perfect balance of fruit, spice, and earthy flavors that allows pairing it with mushroom risotto, spiced pumpkin soup, or pot roast so very simple.”

Adelsheim’s 2016 Staking Claim Chardonnay 

It’s already November, and this is the wine you should be drinking. Fall isn’t just about red wines, but about full-bodied, rich white wines too. This creamy wine with its notes of stone fruit is a great compliment to spicy food – think Indian, Chinese or Thai! If you want to try something unconventional, try it with a robust Spanish paella or a meaty Moroccan tagine. The simple but striking flavors of this wine are offset spicy, exotic dishes really well. Clark says, “The Staking Claim Chardonnay is structured without an overly oaky flavor and has striking acidity. The flavors in the Chardonnay are bright and fresh, which can complement corn chowders, roasted squash, and poached pear-walnut salads.”

Structure Cellars Winery’s Foundation Syrah

At Structure Cellars Winery – Brian and Brandee, a married couple, pour themselves into each vintage, and count themselves lucky every single day. Their sheer passion reflects in the quality of the excellent wines they make. Take their Foundation Syrah for example. This wine, right here, is an excellent go-to choice for when you have unexpected guests or are throwing an impromptu dinner party.

A bottle (or few!) of this most versatile Syrah and a charcuterie platter is perfect for an instant get-together. I love this wine for how easy it is to pair with food. While pinot noir is the obvious (and delicious!) choice for some fall sipping, you’d be pleasantly surprised to see just how well this savory Syrah goes with Autumn’s hearty foods.  It is a lovely transitional wine between summer’s rosé wines to winter’s deep, dark reds. It is almost jam-like in flavor, with hints of licorice and cocoa. It complements a wide range of foods – from Italian to Ethiopian to Mediterranean cuisines. 

Structure Cellars Winery’s Foundation Cabernet Franc

Cabernet Franc is the ultimate autumn wine. This luscious wine from Structure Cellars is supple with a lot of structure. If you want to move beyond fruit-forward wines, try this. This wine is almost grassy in taste. It also has notes of clove and peppercorns. Brandee from Structure Wines says, “ Our Cabernet Franc reminds me of all the SEATTLE Fall things…it has this aroma that just makes my heart so happy.  The technical word for it is Petrichor

It is an earthy scent that comes from the ground after rainfall.  To me, this wine smells like fall rain in Seattle – wet earth, dry leaves, wet gravel.” For an unexpected pairing, try this wine with a hot, steaming bowl of ramen or just a simple bowl of chicken soup. The warming broth with this herby wine makes for a delightful contrast, and a meal to remember. Sometimes, small pleasures bring the biggest joys.

Bayernmoor’s Estate Pinot 

Bayernmoor is a family-owned boutique winery and estate vineyard located in the hills of Stanwood, WA. The spectacular vineyard showcases stunning views of Mount Rainier, the Cascades, and the Olympic mountains. Over half a century, the land has gone from a working dairy farm to a world-class Pinot Noir vineyard. The 2017 Bayernmoor Estate Pinot Noir feels a lot like Christmas, and is worth saving for the big feast! Notes of strawberries and cream are immediately present in the glass.

A good swirl unlocks aromas of rhubarb, black cherry, and clove. This dark magenta wine has a lovely, intense flavor. This rich wine is best enjoyed in December when it’s freezing outside and you’re warming up with a fun dinner party and some Christmas carols. It pairs spectacularly with Italian food – a fruity contrast to some cheesy, garlicky goodness. It is a shining example of the care and work put in the vineyard. 

Bayernmoor’s Chardonnay

White wines aren’t just for summer. Chardonnay, in particular, is a warm, savory option for now. From harvest to barrel aging, Bayernmoor’s Chardonnay has been made in the traditional Burgundian approach. This buttery, creamy wine is perfect to usher in winter. It tastes like a delicious medley of vanilla, hazelnut, and pear. This floral wine began its journey with grapes harvested by hand from two of Washington’s premium Chardonnay vineyards and finished by aging in a blend of new and neutral French Oak barrels.

You want to be sipping this amber-colored wine next to a crackling fire on a chilly winter day. Not many whites pair as well with fall fares like turkey, roast potatoes and chicken pot-pies as this one. Open this bottle after a hard, long day of roaming about pumpkin patches.

Bayernmoor’s Cabernet Sauvignon

Open this bottle of wine and take a nice, big whiff of the muskiness it holds within. Bayernmoor’s Cabernet Sauvignon is sourced solely from the striking Destiny Ridge Vineyard in Horse Heaven Hills. This rather fine wine is aged for 22 months in 100% French oak. The flavor is like fall would taste bottled up – you can taste notes of mocha, plum, honey with just the right amount of acidity. You want to save this one for a special dinner with a special someone. It also makes a great gift for the host, for any winter soiree that you’re invited to.

Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2016 

Nestled in the heart of Dundee hills, the Stoller Family Vineyard spans an expansive 400 acres, with mountain ranges buffering the vineyard. This is one of my favorite wines in recent times and is especially nice now that the temperatures are dropping lower. Stoller Family Estate’s 2016 Pinot Noir is one of Oregon’s finest wines. The color itself, a saturated purplish-red is an indication of how intensely flavored this wine is. This juicy wine from Willamette Valley is ideal for a cozy dinner with loved ones.

This lush, silky wine is the perfect pour to pair with Fall’s hearty dinners – roast chicken, earthy squashes and leafy greens. This wine with its bright fruity notes and a lingering, smooth aftertaste is a classic representation of the Dundee Hills in Oregon. To make things even more special, the label packaging also pays tribute to Veterans’ Legacies Anniversary. This special bottling commemorates the 75th anniversary of D-Day & The Battle of Normandy. Proceeds go directly towards Veterans’ Legacies, an organization that is dedicated to preserving and sharing the individual legacy of each veteran and their story.

Nine Hats Chardonnay

The aromatic wines of Columbia Valley make a strong case for some Fall drinking. Want to try off-beat wine for fall? Look no further. This gorgeous wine is easy on the pocket too! Long Shadows Vintners winemaker, Gilles Nicault, and founder, Allen Shoup, have been experimenting with the Columbia Valley’s top vineyards to produce a style of Chardonnay they both enjoy. 

Complex, expressive and beautifully balanced, this wine is 100% barrel fermented in French oak. The Nine Hats Chardonnay is a vibrant oak-aged wine with a creamy peach flavor and leaves you with a delicious, almost nutty aftertaste. Although this is a rather versatile wine, it pairs exceptionally well with meaty, comfort food—pot roasts, meatloaves, beef stews, and meatballs.