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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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