Autumn's Seasonal Wines
"Flavours to warm the soul!"
Richer, rounder and something a bit more soothing is what we are looking for when temperatures drop. As the leaves falls and we settle inside by the fireplace and around the dinner table, our palettes tend long for something different too. As a wine enthusiast and expert, preparing for the cooler months allows me the fun task of doing a bit of inventory in the curated wine shop, which by the way is always changing and expanding as I come across great wines that lives up to the principle of being fine wine that doesn’t break the bank.
Without further ado, I am delighted to present this years’ selection of autumn wines, personally selected flavours to warm the soul.
There are some usual suspects but also a few wines chosen for their warmth of character which, will be soothing as the season changes.
Of course, the autumn wine collection includes Aix Rosé, which we drink all year round. Some white wines which we also drink all year round. And.. then there are the Fizz.
Quite a few of you it seems, agree with me when it comes to Fizz! One should always have some Nyetimber Classic Cuvee MV and Champagne Pol Roger in the fridge in case a celebration emerges... "If nothing obvious is in sight, you can always celebrate having a chilled bottle in the fridge" 😊
Then of course , we have the reds! The darker and cooler months lend themselves more to warming reds. How do we choose them? And why?
I have my “Cabernet Sauvignon days”, particularly when there is red meat involved.
But… I do think Merlot is a great grape variety too and of course Pinot Noir, especially when dreaming of the lamb shanks in the slow cooker, the buttery mashed potatoes and all that sort of comforting stuff.
Another example is a gorgeous wine from Bordeaux, Château Canon Chaigneau, which so far has remained under the radar. That is all changing as critics lavish praise on what is being created by Thierry Garnaud who was maître de chais and winemaker at Château Cheval Blanc from 1988 – 2018 (you can read more about him Here)
So, for the moment Château Canon Chaigneau 2019, Lalande de Pomerol is eminently affordable at under £30 per bottle but this could easily treble in price, given the pedigree of the team and the amazing wines they are producing.... (one to stick in the cellar before the price leaps...).
Like many of our other wines, this suit my principle of being on the right side of the fence, which essentially means you are not compromising on quality and not breaking the bank.
The full Autumn Wine collection is below with some personal notes:
Nyetimber, Classic Cuvee, MV, Product of England
The sparkling wines of the UK are without doubt, capable of being 'World Class'!
We have the same meagre climate as Champagne and many of our still wines are challenged by the average sunshine hours of a British Summer! But the addition of sugar for the second fermentation changes the goal posts, as it does in France, and the results are genuinely delicious...
Come winter, summer, or rain, this is a must have in our fridge. Celebrations does not care about seasons.
Champagne Pol Roger, Brut Reserve, NV
There is no doubt that Sir Winston Churchill knew a thing or two about imbibing and his friendship with the glamorous Odette Pol Roger must have helped his choice of fizz for breakfast, lunch and dinner!
I have always been a huge fan of the Brut Réserve which is a blend in equal parts of the three champenois grape varieties: pinot noir, pinot meunier and chardonnay. (served Magnums at my wedding)
Like I said before, always have a bottle in the fridge in case of emergency.
Etienne Guigal Côte du Rhône Blanc 2022
From this illustrious producer in the Rhone, a gorgeously complex but refreshing white wine. Spectacularly underrated in my opinion and unusually versatile with or without food and in all seasons.
For those who feel the need to know, the blend is: 60% Viognier, 15% Roussanne, 10% Marsanne, 8 % Clairette, 5% Bourboulenc, 2% Grenache blanc
(Cotes du Rhone producers are allowed to use up to 15 grape varieties in their Reds!)
Domaine Bouchard Pere et Fils, Macon Lugny, St Pierre, 2020
Bouchard have been in Beaune since 1731 and produce some fabulous wines from the length and breadth of Burgundy.
This specific wine is remarkable value for a White Burgundy these days and makes regular appearances on our table as well as many neighbour's tables it seems.
It has become increasingly difficult to find value for money in a region where demand generally outstrips supply. Bouchard is one of the best examples of owners/negotiants in the region with a fabulous range of well-made offerings.
AIX Provence Rosé 2022
We discovered a long time ago that brands attract eccentric attention, and it may be that AIX will one day similarly fall victim of its own popularity and follow the price path of Sacha Lichine's Whispering Angel.
Until then, we believe this wine to be one of the most delicious alternatives at a still sensible price...
I can only emphasise that rosé is not just a summer wine. The pinkish hue blends in well with the fading autumn shades.
Château Landat, 2018, Haut Medoc, Cru Bourgeois
From the same stable as Château Lamothe Cissac, this Haut Medoc is another gorgeous example of a ripe and possibly 'Pauillac' style wine without the price tag. Benefiting from an hour in a decanter this wine can be consumed now, despite its youth but will continue to soften and please for at least the next 5 years.
These bottles and the Magnums of their 2016 make regular appearances at home and we feel that the value is genuinely outstanding.
Chianti Classico 2020 La Casa di Bricciano
From the family run estate founded by the owner and winemaker Peter R. D. de Pentheny O’Kelly we are stocking their wonderful wines. Peter was an Irish blooded Swazi, who acquired the farm in 1990. He lived on the farm with his family and personally ran the farm with the help of Giorgio Benvenuti, a vine specialist. After Peter's death in 2016, the family run farm is now led by Peter's son Rory with the expert guidance of oenologist, Dr Vittorio Fiore.
There are many versions of Chianti Classico coming from that famous region west of Florence, but this example fits into the full blooded version of Sangiovese at its best. These wines are crafted to be drinkable at a young age, but some people will undoubtedly prefer to keep hold of them for another couple of years before savouring the rich and silky textures...
Château Canon Chaigneau 2019 Lalande de Pomerol 2015
The Romans recognised the greatness of this terroir and winemaking began here almost 2000 years ago...
Château Canon Chaigneau is located on the eastern side of the Lalande de Pomerol appellation on something known as the Néac plateau, this land is just to the north of the Pomerol plateau, where the illustrious neighbours include the likes of Petrus, Lafleur, la Conseillante and Clinet.
At Canon Chaigneau, they are lucky enough to have a terroir of clay, limestone & iron deposits; very similar to those great names mentioned above. This terroir adds genuine complexity to the wines, making them refined & age worthy.
Working with this terroir is none other than Thierry Garnaud, a legendary winemaker who has been in charge since 1995. Thierry was maître de chai at Château Cheval Blanc from 1988 – 2018, responsible for such 100 point legends as the 1990, '98, 2000, '03, '05, '06, '08, '10, '15 & 2016.
His savoir-faire and talent is undisputed; making the wine with the same passion & alchemy that he had at Cheval Blanc. This wine exhibits the enviable ‘iron fist in velvet glove’ structure & sensuality.
Jeff Leve, The Wine Cellar Insider 92/100
The On the nose you find espresso, leafy herbs, spice, earth and plums. Medium-bodied, fresh and spicy on the palate, with touches of olives that accompany the plums, cherries and chocolate... Drink from 2022-2033.
Goulée by Cos d'Estournel 2016 Medoc
I was reassured to discover that The Café de Paris in Monaco sells this wine in the American Bar at a modest €35 per glass
We have managed to source a parcel of it in the UK and at £29 per bottle inc. vat it is a complete bargain. Cos d'Estournel 2016 is £260 per bottle so to have access to the team's significant wine making skills, at such a modest price, is a treat.
Meerlust Estate Red 2019 Stellenbosch South Africa
The name Meerlust means “pleasure of the sea” and the property dating back to 1693 is situated 5km from False Bay with the cooling influence of the coast, importantly allowing the grapes ripen slowly.
The estate has been in the Myburgh family since 1756 and today the high-quality winemaking continues under the guidance of the family's 8th generation, Hannes Myburgh.
This wine is a blend of 43% Cabernet Sauvignon, 31% Merlot, 21% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot. It was aged in barrel for 17 months in 46% new French Oak, 45% 2nd year & 9% 3rd year barrels....
What most people do not know is that there is a good dollop of declassified Meerlust's flagship wine, Rubicon included in this delicious blend. The result is stunning!
Warre's Otima, 10-Year-Old Tawny Port, Douro, Portugal
The Portuguese drink a reasonable amount of Tawny, especially the British in Portugal and generally it is served chilled and sometimes referred to as 'mouthwash'!
Tawny Port is far less toxic than young Ruby or Vintage Port... its 10 years maturing in wood takes away many of the more corrosive elements naturally present in Port and leaves a soft and gentle alternative which really cannot be blamed for the hangover...(Read more here)
As the perfect finale to supper, we always have one of these in the fridge (and a few in the rack in case of evaporation).
As a final note on Autumn wines, my belief is that all wines are for all seasons, it all depends on the right setting, food, and company.
In case my personal favourites for the Autumn leaves you longing for something else, do get in touch, I am always happy to make more suggestions.
Our Autumn Collection can be found Here.