Fall Survival Guide

The Labor Day holiday is behind us. The kids are back-to-school and need rides to and from soccer, ballet, and piano lessons, etc. Then there’s your boss, who returned from vacation full of new plans for office efficiency and greater productivity. It’s enough to make the lazy days of summer seem all but a distant memory.

Here’s my wine survival tip for fall: buy a mixed case of wine now, because things will only get more hectic.

Why Buy a Mixed Case?

Having a mixed case in your house is like having a little nest egg for a rainy day. Even better, most merchants will give you a discount when you buy a case of wine—so it makes good financial sense, too since most stores give case discounts.

Two Bottles of Riesling: Perfect with any kind of Asian takeout, Riesling is one of the world’s most misunderstood and under-appreciated grapes. Rieslings tend to be lower in alcohol, are wonderfully aromatic, and can range in style from dry to slightly sweet. I’d head for the dry or off-dry bottles with their crisp apple and citrus flavors. Keep them in the fridge, and when you pick up some Kung Pao chicken, you’ll know a cool bottle of wine awaits at home—a perfect complement to dinner.

Two Bottles of Unoaked Chardonnay: Many of us resort to roast chickens from the supermarket for quick dinners. The ideal pairing for such a meal is unoaked Chardonnay. Chardonnay’s buttered apple flavors bring out the best in the bird. Now that many winemakers are no longer using toasted oak barrels in favor of stainless steel aging, Chardonnays are less expensive and more food-friendly.

Two Bottles of Sparkling Wine: Why we don’t drink sparkling wine more regularly in this country is a complete mystery to me. It’s versatile, affordable, and can turn a tuna sandwich into a festive event. Use one bottle as an excuse to invite friends to weekend brunch, and keep the other one for a celebratory night.

Three Bottles of Sicilian Red Wine: Sicily is the best place to find Italian red wine bargains. Wines from this region are juicy, flavorful, and the ideal mate for pizza, pasta, and burgers. The most common Sicilian reds include Nero d’Avola and Nerello Mascalese, two zesty grapes that produce full-flavored, fruit-forward wines with nuances of leather and flowers.

Three Bottles of Beaujolais: It has the same silky texture, fresh cherry-berry flavors, and earth aromas as Pinot Noir (aka Poor Man’s Pinot). They’re perfect with grilled foods, stews, and cheese dishes which makes them the ideal red transition wine as we move from summer into fall.

And There You Have 12 Bottles. Enjoy.