Fall wines for seasonal sipping

Sep. 26, 2012 at 10:21 AM ET

Thirsty Girl founder and wine expert Leslie Sbrocco and Food and Wine magazine's wine editor Ray Isle share their picks for the perfect wines to sip this fall season.

Category: Celebration sips

Ray’s pick:

Gloria Ferrer Sonoma Brut, Sonoma, Calif., $20

California sparkling wines like this elegant, citrusy one from longtime Sonoma producer Gloria Ferrer offer the same pleasures as French Champagne, for a fraction of the price.

Leslie’s pick:

Ruffino Prosecco, Italy $15

A crisp sparkling wine packed with juicy fruitiness, this pairs alongside brunch dishes as easily as spicy fare. With a hint of sweetness, is a crowd-pleasing sparkler, too.  

Category: Chardonnay

Ray’s pick:

J. Lohr Riverstone Chardonnay, Arroyo Seco, Calif., $14

California Central Coast producer J. Lohr makes this lush, full-bodied Chardonnay with grapes from Monterey County's Arroyo Seco region; it's terrific with rich soups and stews for fall.

Leslie’s pick:

Alamos Chardonnay, Mendoza, Argentina $13

With a kiss of spicy oak notes and ripe flavors, this southern hemisphere wine grown high in the Andes Mountains maintains a beautiful balance of fruit and freshness.

Category: On-the-go sips

Ray’s pick:

Clif Family Climber Red, California $17 (for 1.5 liter pouch)

If you're tailgating, you need a wine container that won't smash to bits if you drop it in a stadium parking lot by accident. Clif Family (of Clif Bar fame) packages this juicy Cabernet in an environmentally friendly, 1.5 liter pouch made from BPA-free plastic.

Leslie’s pick

2011 Mulderbosch Chenin Blanc, Western Cape, South Africa $10

A perennial favorite for its zesty citrus aromas wrapped with a lightly lush texture, this Chenin Blanc is a star on the South African wine scene. Sip alongside turkey burgers topped with grilled pineapple or fruit salsa.

Category: Zinfandels

Ray’s pick:

2008 Cameron Hughes "Zin Your Face" Zinfandel, Calif. $15

Despite the amusing name, this is seriously tasty wine -- full of ripe berry fruit and spice notes.

Leslie’s pick:

2010 Tormaresca "Torcicoda" Primitivo, Salento, Italy $22

Primitivo is the same grape variety as Zinfandel but shines with elegance in southern Italy's Puglia region. Situated in the heel of the boot-shaped country, the warm climate lends itself to big reds that pack a peppery punch.

More from TODAY Food: