According to the Met Office, summer is apparently officially over, August 31 being the last day of that season. So it’s time to think about autumn wines.
Personally I love the change of seasons. They bring with them seasonal foods and that means the chance to taste different wines to match.
For me autumn is a time to think about slow cooking, casseroles and stews and dishes like mushroom risotto. So here are a few autumnal wines worth seeking out.
Pinot noir and, in particular, red Burgundy, is probably a wine that instantly springs to mind. It’s sadly never cheap, but Mischief and Mayhem Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2013 (Waitrose £12.99 down from £14.99 until September 20) is a great introduction.
It was the creation of Brits Michael Ragg and Fiona Traill-Stevenson back in 2004, who had the intention of making excellent wines as well of simplifying the minefield that Burgundy can often be.
This has a lovely aromatic nose with wild strawberries, red cherry, a little spice and a touch of vanilla, followed by a silky, fruit-driven palate. It’s difficult not to enjoy it by itself, but it also goes perfectly with coq au vin or a simple roast chicken.
Bordeaux also comes into its own at this time. Château Pey la Tour Réserve 2012, Bordeaux Supérieur (Wine Society £11.50) proves there is some good value to be found in Bordeaux at this price level. This is the reserve bottling of this well-known Bordeaux estate, its merlot dominating a little cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc. It has ripe blackberry and cassis, spice and background oak.
It’s medium to full-bodied with some complexity and is going to work really well with roast beef on Sunday.
Spain is also a good source of autumnal reds. Bodegas Pascual Buró 2012 Ribera del Duero (swig.co.uk £14.95) is a special vineyard selection made from 100 per cent tempranillo aged in a mixture of French and American oak for 10 months.
There’s lots going on here with dark fruits, roasted coffee and some chocolate, followed by ripe tannins and a smooth, warm finish and great length. Decant for an hour before serving then match with a slow-roasted shoulder of lamb or lamb hotpot.
Still in Spain, CVNE Reserva 2011, Rioja (Majestic £12.99 or £9.99 as part of a mixed six; Waitrose £12.99) is a little more elegant. It comprises mainly tempranillo but with a dash of some of the lesser- known Rioja varieties, garanacha, graciano and mazuelo and aged in American oak. This is textbook Rioja from one of the region’s oldest producers. There’s coffee, dark berry fruit and a touch of smoke all framed by vanilla oak. It has a long, lingering finish. It would work well with lamb or confit duck leg, or perhaps that mushroom risotto.
-Alistair Gibson is proprietor of Hermitage Cellars, Emsworth. Call 01243 431002