Speak to any chef worth their salt and they will tell you that autumn is a magical time of year in the kitchen. Seasonal ingredients such as butternut squash, truffles, mushrooms, pumpkin and game start to appear, as diners tuck into more hearty and warming dishes. A direct affront to the turning weather, a kind of culinary overcoat.
Restaurant wine lists change at this time of year too; gone are the myriad rosé options and crisp whites; the light, fresh reds are pared back and in their place come richer, more full-bodied wines in red and white.
Reds are the obvious go-to wines as the temperature drops and the sun dips below the horizon ever earlier. However, if you’re not quite ready for hearty, wintry reds, this is a fine time of year to explore richer, chewier white wines from varieties including Marsanne, Chenin Blanc, Viognier and Carricante.
These grapes – in blends or on their own, and often showing a little age – are the perfect foil for autumnal root vegetables, stews, pies, roasts and more, offering savoury, robust, forthright characters.
Oak ageing and time spent on lees lends richness and body to white wines, as well as savoury flavours, providing excellent pairings for this seasonal earthy, savoury food.
Which white wines for autumn?
An obvious choice might be an oaked Chardonnay, for example from the Macônnais in Burgundy, or from California. A white Rioja or an aged Sémillon will provide a similar flavour profile too.
If you want to try something a little different, why not try a Viognier from Condrieu, a Gewurztraminer from Alsace, or a Ribolla Gialla from Friuli?
Autumn climes and food also lend themselves well to orange wines too, where the texture, tannin, full body and savoury, nutty characters provide depth and complexity to many an autumnal dish.
Here are 12 white wines for autumn, tasted and rated by the Decanter team. Southern hemisphere readers might want to check out our summer wines guide.
White wines for autumn:
Wines listed in score order