October is arguably the most important month in the wine calendar. The grapes are coming in, squeezed pressed and the vineyards are nearly bare again for winter. Everywhere – in the northern hemisphere anyway – wine lovers are celebrating.

Just putting aside those summer cocktails and beers is enough to get people serious again. While your wine doesn’t have to be serious, it is nice to reflect a little, renew your determination and ponder the coming winter.

This list is so you don’t have to ponder too long:

1. 2012 Kofererhof – Pinot Grigio Trentino Alto Adige

This one is worth the rave reviews. Organic, at the base of the Dolomite Mountains, grapes are raised high and cool, between 700 and 800 meters above sea level. And like many Alto Adige wineries, a number of wines come out bearing the Koferhof label. While the Kerner is also an interesting, more summer white, this Pinot Grigio is simply outstanding for colder October evenings. Farmed with only organic fertilizers and insecticides, it’s at the forefront of the Austrian heritage wines being bottled in the region. Remember, Alto Adige varieties will have less fruit and more acidity than American Pinot Grigios.

You don’t want to serve it with spicier fare. On the contrary, go for fish like sea bass, sole or haddock. Trout is fine but keep your meats whiter too. Chicken and turkey or cured pork. In generally, your sides will include parsley, mint, thyme, fennel, and chives, mixed with white pepper, a little ginger or cinnamon. Cheeses like gruyere or muenster, are subtle and perfect. Avoid going much hardier.

2. 2010 Culler – Casaeda Napa Valley

The Cabernet Sauvignon Casaeda from 2010 give you structure and vigor. Complex, fruity but not overly so, you get some black cherry and plum and the occasional espresso. It will mature around 2015 – 2025 and last a good ten years at its best, but this is already one of the finest Napa Valley Cabernets of recent years, and it’s generally priced so you needn’t be embarrassed to pick up a case or two. Brie is the light standard cheese to accompany most Cabernets so you won’t go wrong here.

3. NV Alfred Gratien Brut Champagne

Lots of readers here are only reading because they’re celebrating or planning a party. And champagne will be the perfect accompaniment. The Alfred Gratien will give you a seamless, harmonious blend based on pinot meunier, there are gingery flavors layered with citrus pith and white fruit. The opening is airy, long and integrated. The Alfred Gratien also pairs very well with some of the heartier October fare. Think risotto, or even mashed potatoes. A spinach with white beans sautee is very nice, not too elevated and goes over very well whether you’re listening to the rain bringing down the last remaining leaves, or something cheerier. Even a football game on the television is well worth a celebration with some style.

4. 2011 Michel Gassier “Lou Coucardie” Blanc

Maybe we’ll keep our feet on the ground for the moment. Imagine those same food pairings but with something a little more basic and not so ribald. The Gassier can give you a mineral-laced pear and peach styled fruit. It gets complicated though with brioche, honey, and toasted hazelnuts. This is your ponderous self at your best; at the art opening or discussing the details of your re-finance or getting heavy on plans. It’s sophisticated and full-bodied, well textured, and rich. With a good sense of layering and a structured mouth. The finish is long, exceptional and something to give your October meetings, or gatherings or get-togethers a little more “oomph,” while still staying smart.

5. 2011 Le Cantine Di Indie “Vino Rosso Di Popolo”

Just so we don’t over complicate things, let’s make pasta and lots of it. There’s nothing better than a big, family style dinner no matter who you’re inviting. And the wine of the people, the “taste of the piedmont” is perfect. 50% Nebbiolo, 30% Barbera, and 20% Dolcetto grapes, it’s ribald again – but now in that tomato sauce and “tear a piece of bread” way. The Barbera are acidic and fruity, the Nebbiolo are heavier on tannins and aromatics, and the Dolcetto make everything soft and harmonious.

There are as many ways to celebrate October as there are people celebrating. These are just some ideas for pairings for a variety of October style celebrations. Remember, there is a bottle perfect for your celebration. The point is to celebrate!

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This article was written by James T., a copywriter, editor, SEO, and all-around wine enthusiast. Find him on Google+.

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