Light Red Wine Will Help You Say Goodbye To Rosé & Hello To Fall

Labor Day has come and gone, and that means one thing: its officially, unofficially fall. While the first day of autumn might not be until September 21, the long weekend acts as a warm weather send-off. It's farewell to cold brew, hello to PSL. Adieu to rosé, bonjour to red wine. Or, at least, in theory. We have to admit a slight sadness, even in our caramel apple-filled hearts, at the idea of shelving our beloved pink wine until next summer.

Saying goodbye to rosé in the fall is similar to the wearing white after Labor Day rule — more of a conventional wisdom than an actual rule (as always, you do you). But still, we were curious: are there more appropriate reds for rosé fans that can help us get excited for longer, colder nights and sweater weather?

We spoke with Sayle Milne, of Wine Savvy, to get her top picks for light reds perfect for rosé and white wine lovers — or those of us just not ready for a heavy Cabernet quite yet. Ahead, five varietals to keep your eyes peeled for all fall long, as well as Milne's personal favorite picks.

Pinot Noir

Perhaps the first light red that most people think of is Pinot Noir, Milne explains. She calls it a "lovely, gentle" wine that pairs well with both meat and fish.

"If you like wines that are more earthy and savory, ask for ones from Burgundy and Willamette Valley, Oregon," she says. Enjoy a more fruit-forward wine? Look for ones from California, as well as other warmer climates. Her pick for Pinot is a California wine called Meiomi that is a balance between the heavier, Old World style and the lighter, California style.

Just one thing to keep in mind with this crowd-pleasing wine. Pinot Noir grapes are actually known as "heartbreak grapes." They have thin skin, and are more labor-intensive to grow as a result. You may have to be willing to shell out a bit more for a truly memorable bottle of Pinot.

Meiomi Pinot Noir, $19.07, available at Total Wine.
Red Zinfandel

"Zinfandel is always in my wine fridge," says Milne, "Even though it is fruit-forward, the finish is not heavy." Her top pick is a red Zinfandel from California; it was the most popular wine at her own wedding. "It appeals to the Pinot Noir lovers and well as the Cabernet Sauvignon lovers out there!"

Campus Oaks Old Vines Zinfandel, $14.99, available at Total Wine.

"I always love to recommend Gamay too," Milne says. It's the same grape used in Beaujolais Nouvea, a red wine that is famously released on the third Thursday in November. As far as its more famous cousin, Milne just offers this advice: "It is cheap plonk and please never buy it."

Instead, consider buying a Gamay from one of the "crus," or ten areas within the Beaujolais region. The small area of France has varied soil types that create deliciously different wines. Gamay can be expensive, but it does age well. If you are looking to try a bottle that won't break the bank, however, Milne recommends this one from Christophe Pacalet, with one parting piece of advice: "Ten minutes in the fridge before you drink them really helps them shine."

Christophe Pacalet Moulin A Vent Gamay, $17.84, available at Saratoga Wine Exchange.

Don't worry, there's a bubbly option, too. An excellent every day wine, Milne loves Lambrusco for take-out, especially with pizza. "The best Lambrusco can come in a bone-dry style or an off-dry style that's slightly sweet and all are frizzante (semi-sparkling)." It's also a great affordable option — you can grab plenty of great Lambruscos for under $20.

Carafoli Toccacielo Lambrusco, $16.99, available at 67 Wines.

If you are interested in a bit more of a treasure hunt, Milne's last recommendation isn't as well-known in the U.S. yet. An Austrian wine called Zweigelt (TSVYE-gelt), she loves it for its acidity, as well as a slightly spicy finish. You might not be able to find it in your local wine store, but keep your eyes peeled — it's worth a taste.

Heinrich Zweigelt, $18.97, available at Wine Chateau.
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