What once was the season for the PSL has somehow morphed into the season for pumpkin spice everything. From cookies to cheese, there’s a pumpkin spice treat for every taste. (We even saw a pumpkin spice cleaning spray the other day; though that’s obviously not for consumption.) However, the one item we haven’t been able to get our hands on is a good PS-flavored wine. So, we thought, why not get a little creative and find the perfect wine pairing for some of our favorite seasonal delicacies?
“Pumpkin spice is usually made up of some combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, and allspice. Generally, the varietals that work best with those ingredients are late harvest wines or wines that have a little more residual sugar in them that give the right sweetness to balance out that warm spice,” explains wine educator Cassandra Rosen of Tussock Jumper Wines.
Given that pumpkin spice is also an intense flavor, you also want to find a wine that matches the intensity or something subtle that complements it, point out sommeliers Arden Montgomery and Margaux Reaume, co-founders of Argaux. Ahead, our experts share some of the best wines that work with this uniquely autumnal flavor profile.
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With Pumpkin Spice Chocolate: A French Red Blend
Expert pick: 2020 Chateau de Montfrin AOP Cotes du Rhone Village ‘A La Douceur d’Aller’ Rouge ($28; argaux.com)
This balanced red offers a little bit of everything, with notes of black cherry, black pepper, and an elegant oak influence, say Montgomery and Reaume. The tannins are smooth and the body has a finish of dark chocolate, toffee, and espresso beans, which is what makes it pair nicely with spiced chocolate.
With Pumpkin Spice Crackers & Cheese: A Sweet Bubbly Rosé
Expert pick: Bon Ami Wine Cuvée Rosé Brut ($12; Whole Foods)
We know what you’re thinking—summer’s official wine with fall’s official flavor? Believe it. “This versatile varietal goes beyond summer,” says Rosen. The fruity, red berry flavors of this particular sparkling rosé add the perfect touch of sweetness without being overly cloying. Try pairing it with Trader Joe’s pumpkin spice crackers and creamy brie, or follow Rosen’s lead and create an upscaled grilled cheese using brie, raisin bread, and pumpkin butter. Yum!
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With Pumpkin Pie Or Pumpkin Spice Cookies: A French Chardonnay
Expert pick: Tussock Jumper 2018 Chardonnay, France ($12; drizly.com)
This isn’t a buttery, heavy California chard that you may be thinking of. This one is fresh and fruit-forward, with notes of toasted hazelnuts, bright citrus, and a hint of vanilla that make it a perfect pairing with these types of decadent baked goods, says Rosen. Don’t feel like baking? Have a glass with a couple of Partake Soft Pumpkin Spice Cookies ($6; freshdirect.com), which are vegan and gluten-free.
With A Pumpkin Spiced Soup: An Aromatic Chenin Blanc
Expert Pick: 2019 Lubanzi Chenin Blanc ($16; wine.com)
Chenin blancs are generally off-dry in style, combining a floral nose with both tropical flavors and a crisp minerality that makes them ideal to sip alongside a savory pumpkin soup, Rosen explains.
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With A Pumpkin Loaf: An Italian Pinot Grigio
Expert Pick: 2020 Weingut Griesbauerhof Alto Adige Pinot Grigio ($28; argaux.com)
The aromas of orchard fruit, honey, and almond are subtle yet sophisticated, so they aren’t competing with the intense flavors of the pumpkin spice, explain Montgomery and Reaume. They add that because this particular wine comes from a cool climate region, the acidity is higher, a nice contrast to the warm, baked qualities of the pumpkin spice.