BOTTLE SHOTS: Professionals recommend wine pairings for fall

This week, instead of telling you what I think you should be drinking right now, here are recommendations from Arkansas’ most knowledgeable wine professionals.

  • ◼️ Blair Wallace, owner, Ciao Baci, Little Rock
  • Bootleg Red Blend, Napa Valley

This wine is drinker friendly with dark fruit notes and beautiful tannins. Would pair well with several of Ciao Baci’s new fall menu items.

  • ◼️ Stan Parks, wine sales, King James Wine, Bentonville
  • Chateau Montelena Chardonnay

Thanksgiving is a time for breaking out the good stuff. And while I’m not reinventing the wheel with this recommendation, I stand by it as an absolute essential for the holiday table. Chateau Montelena Chardonnay from Napa Valley has it all. Beautiful fruit, acid, creaminess. This wine is built to pull off the difficult trick of pairing well with all of the disparate flavors of the Thanksgiving table.

  • ◼️ Josh Mills, host, Acquired Tastings podcast, Little Rock
  • Guy Breton Beaujolais

With the weather changing and the holidays fast approaching there are so many wines that come to mind. My favorite holiday wines are Beaujolais wines. They are wonderfully food and budget friendly. They can be taken to any festivities or just enjoyed around the house with your loved ones. A producer I love is Guy Breton. He is practicing organic farming with little intervention during the winemaking process. The wines are bright with red fruit and good depth and acid to carry it through.

  • ◼️ Nick Rule, wine specialist, Colonial Wine & Spirits, Little Rock
  • Karthauserhof Riesling Trocken

My holiday season wine choice is a dry riesling from Mosel producer Karthauserhof. I’ve been bitten by the riesling bug, and this wine has beautiful, fresh acidity with bright tropical fruit notes of mango and pineapple, and a dry finish. It would be a great choice for the Thanksgiving table where there’s a wide range of flavors, ranging from sweet to savory, making it hard to match with some wines.

  • ◼️ Weisi Basore, proprietor and beverage director, Bar Cleeta, Bentonville
  • Cinque Campi Lambrusco

Instead of recommending a traditional winter red, we want to nominate the lambrusco from Cinque Campi to enjoy this holiday season. Rooted in Emilia-Romagna’s gastronomic culture, lambrusco (served chilled) was born to be food-friendly, whether it’s with Parmigiano Reggiano, prosciutto or mortadella. This bone-dry red sparkler is crafted in the old-school lambrusco tradition using mostly grasparossa grapes, the boldest of the lambrusco grapes. It’s complex, tannic and high-toned enough to quell richness from any roast, pasta or winter favorites. Plus it’s weird enough to be an icebreaker at any gathering — “chilled, sparkling and it’s red?”

  • ◼️ Susie Long, wine director, Petit & Keet/Cypress Social, Little Rock
  • Champalou Vouvray Brut

There’s no denying that bubbly wines are having a moment, which means they are sure to be a hit at any holiday party. And don’t friendly people need friendly wine? This delicious and affordable bottle is less austere than Champagne with its generous profiles of white flowers, minerals, honey and almonds. Easygoing in nature, a glass of this off-dry Loire sparkler will pair well with whatever winds up on the grazing table this holiday season.

As always, you can see what I’m drinking on Instagram at @sethebarlow and send your wine questions and quibbles to

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