If you need a reason to top up your wine-rack, the changing of the seasons is definitely one. The nights will start to draw in, the heating bill will sky rocket and those brisk evening walks will be followed by a glass or two of comforting wine. We can’t prevent those early morning trips to de-ice the car, or the dog rolling in who knows what, but we can make the evenings that much more enjoyable.
I happen to love Autumn and everything that comes along with it. The colours, the food, the race towards Christmas and of course, the wine. There isn’t a set wine that you should be drinking at this time of the year. As always, your preference is the most important. However we do find that people start ordering more red, and fruitier red, the closer we get to Winter.
Whites that are refreshing, and reds that are warming. Those are the two keys to any good Autumn wine. People tend to start eating heartier dishes, more stews and casseroles. So it’s only natural that the wines we see become more popular, are the wines suited to that kind of food. The Italians and French may get the plaudits for matching their wine with the food they are eating, but you do it too!
Here are six red wines that you simply have to try this Autumn.
The magnificent sanglier (wild boar) that populate the wild scrubby oak forests of the Languedoc are a wonderful totem for the region. They are also rather tasty and thus are highly prized by the locals. But no amount of hunting stops them from eating rather a lot of grapes the moment they take on enough sugar for their palates. Ironically, in this wine, this reduces yield and concentrates quality. Hence our homage to the wild pig.
This is a chunky, fruit-bomb of a Cabernet, carrying the ‘old school’ Aussie stamp of almost overripe fruit intensity, swathes of oak and super juicy tannins. A style almost lost but once rediscovered very hard to forget. Recently released after a period of mellowing in the cellar, this is ready to be opened and embraced alongside a classic roast rib of beef. If there is a wine more suited to Autumn, then I haven’t found it.
This wine is an ambitious Shiraz from Lodi, the self-styled ‘Zinfandel Capital of the World’. So it’s a boon to find such a succulent Shiraz cutting Zinfandel’s lunch, on hallowed turf. This parcel was made by the team at one of the most prestigious operators in these parts – it’s a condition of the deal that we can’t tell you which! Suffice it to say that if you had to pay the full ticket for the estate label, it would be twice the price.
The new vintage blend of the stellar Coyam from the Emiliana estate in Chile does its previous incarnations justice, already causing quite a stir in both Virgin HQ and the Press alike. This wine is a fine pedigree, expertly blending down to the finest drop 38% Syrah, 31% Carmenere, 19% Merlot, 10% Cab Sauv, 1% Mourvedre and 1% Malbec to create a smooth, deeply concentrated red wine, harnessing the individual character of each gape variety. Simply the bees knees with Sunday roasts.
This Golden State wine had me at hello. Its rich, dark fruit with shades of cinnamon and cocoa could not be resisted. From first sip, ‘it was going to be, and now it is’. The sole reason that we do not have a great deal more excellent Californian wines, like this one, is because the region is really pricey. Lodi has a great tradition of fine wine making, and a history of dizzying dollar price tags. We have been very fortunate to bag this wine, which would fetch a lot more over the pond.
Ladera’ means slope, as this wine takes its name from the south facing angle of its vineyard. Bringing together 3 varieties – Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Syrah – has resulted in a wine with concentration, balance and a wonderful purity of fruit the Ladera vineyard is famed for. Use of French oak was judged to perfection, not overshadowing the purity of fruit, but adding layers of complexity. This is pretty special. A spicy red and black berry scented wine that’ll mature gracefully over the years.