It’s that time of year again. Time for wrapping oneself up, getting cosy in front of the fire and, of course, enjoying a glass of something suitably fortifying as the last nuance of Indian summer ebbs away.
The below wines should suit just that, and more – you might just find grapes that you have not heard of, from all around the world. There’s an autumnal white wine that can definitely hold its own in against its red counterparts, and two reds for whatever scenario those fireside sofa moments bring this October.
The grape geeks among you may be surprised at the suggestion of an autumnal white from the roussanne grape, but stick with me; in a glass of this roussanne you will find everything you’d want, and more.
Roussanne is a grape normally harnessed to marsanne and viognier in the Rhone Valley. However, this fantastic South Australia producer has taken an incredibly unappreciated grape and allowed it to be the star all on its own. With its perfumed scent of fresh pear, apricot and honeysuckle, it soothes your weary limbs like entertainment television does on a Saturday night. On the palate, concentrated summer fruits combine with a dollop of Greek yoghurt freshness, all underlined with a moreish, nutty backbone.
Aromatic, intense and weighty, yet elegant – everything you could desire! Picture Mel B’s assertion, Cheryl Cole’s seductive beauty, Simon Cowell’s gravitas and Louis Walsh’s…. well Louis Walsh’s light freshness. No food needed, just a sofa, a fire and some trashy TV.
£12.99 Majestic, £12.49 Waitrose
Instead of bringing out the usual Claret or Côtes du Rhône suspects for your in-laws this autumn, why not surprise and impress them with this bright and charming red from one of Italy’s most famous producers of Amarone, an iconic Italian wine. Enlighten them to an original Supervenetian from 1964 – a wine that created a new category for wines from the Veneto. The Corvina blend is fermented and then re-fermented along with some partially dried grapes, thereby recreating the rich and complex flavours of a baby Amarone. Concentrated redcurrants and ripe cherry flavours greet you on the nose and continue on the palate. The wonderful brightness of the fruit is combined with a subtle sprinkling of clove, cocoa and spiced vanilla notes and yet ultimately a structured, savoury finish prevails, supported with satisfying, juicy tannins.
Treat your partner’s parents to something new and delicious in front of the fireside – at only 13% alcohol, you might just remain more engaged with their chat, which can’t be said for some other more robust, autumnal reds!
£7.99 Waitrose Own Carmenere, Chile
Like roussanne, this grape is an untapped vinous talent. The lost grape of Bordeaux, it only resurfaced after a century of neglect to find new life in the wilds of Chile. And thank goodness! It is a fantastic grape with the succulence of a merlot but the concentration and intensity of a cabernet sauvignon or syrah, while being a far more adventurous choice than a malbec. Carmenere is typically rich, medium-to-full bodied and spicy, and this wine is no exception. Abundant in blackberries, blackcurrant and wild briar fruit, this epitomises a liquid autumnal berry crumble, with a slight mocha and sweet spice enveloping the ripe fruit. It would go brilliantly with a roast and then as a post-pud Sunday siesta wine, to unwind with in front of the fire and a film.
£11.00, Marks & Spencer
There is nothing better than curling up on the sofa, cosy with a loved one, while it’s freezing cold and dark outside. And I promise you, this wine is definitely not a third wheel. Corbieres is one of the best-known wine regions of southern France, famous for its robust and intensely flavoured wines. That said, this wine’s blend of grapes could not be more judiciously balanced with concentrated aromas and flavours of blackcurrant, plums and brambles from the grenache, a warm clove spice from the syrah and a rustic, smoky, savoury nuance from the mourvedre, with carignan adding to and orchestrating the body of fruit, sumptuous perfume and satisfying tannic structure. It would be perfect with a simple charcuterie platter, some hard cheeses, or just on its own… I can guarantee that this wine, paired with your other half, will make sure that you will not want to move from that fire!