Despite the recent unseasonal weather, autumn appears to have finally arrived - and with it comes those wonderful flavours such as wild mushrooms and game that need some red wine to accompany them.
Continuing the rugby World Cup theme, New Zealand is currently my favourite destination for pinot noir, particularly from Central Otago on the south island (which until recently was probably more famous for being the backdrop for much of the Lord of the Rings).
Good pinot noir is never going to be cheap, but Tesco’s Finest Central Otago Pinot Noir 2009 (£9.99) is fantastic value for money. It has some complexity with a lovely scented nose of red fruits and spices followed by a silky, long finish. I’d serve this slightly chilled with roast duck or partridge.
Following a recent change in EU wine legislation, Italian wine-making family Piccini has just launched a red wine blended from four different regions of Italy - Venetian merlot, primitivo from Puglia, Sicilian nero d’avola and montepulciano from Abruzzo. I was a little sceptical but it really works very well
Piccini Memoro, Italia
This is a brilliant autumn red, rich and warm and almost port-like with notes of coffee, chocolate and dark red fruits followed by a velvety finish. This would be brilliant with a wild mushroom risotto or some venison.