Watch rockets explode while sipping these warming wines on bonfire night – Alistair Gibson

Pinot Gris 2017, Vin dAlsace,Exquisite Collection
Pinot Gris 2017, Vin dAlsace,Exquisite Collection

As it’s bonfire night on Monday it may well be that you are going to be out in the garden watching the night sky light up with gunpowder as you stand near a roaring bonfire. 

Hot dogs or steaming bowls of chilli may be on the menu, so here are a few winter warmers to help the evening well and truly sparkle.

Co-opIrresistible Chilean Carmnre 2017

Co-opIrresistible Chilean Carmnre 2017

In the UK, the wine region of Alsace is much misunderstood, which is a great shame as it produces some of the most food-friendly wines in France.

Pinot gris is Alsace’s take on pinot grigio – they are, in essence, the same variety. 

In general it’s a much more interesting grape in this eastern French region than the oceans of somewhat nondescript Italian wine found here, particularly in the sub £10 a bottle category.

Pinot Gris 2017, Vin d’Alsace, Exquisite Collection (Aldi £7.49) is a lovely introduction to both Alsace wines and to pinot gris in particular.

The first thing you notice is the colour, a sure sign you are not in Italy here, there is a touch of gold straw in the glass and the aromatic nose is a really inviting mix of dried mango and apricot, a touch of honey and maybe a little smokiness in the background, or is that the bonfire?

The palate is medium bodied with more fleshy exotic fruit and honey but with some lively acidity to balance, before a touch of fruit sweetness and spice on the finish.

This is an off-dry wine but that’s what makes it such a versatile food wine. 

Try it with duck liver pate with orange on hot buttered toast, or a warming fish pie.

Some reds for sausages or a chilli would include Co-op Irresistible Chilean Carménère 2017 (Co-op £7) which is not only great value but also a perfect autumnal evening wine, and the label is lots of fun.

It offers lots of dark currant fruit, black cherry and a little spice on the nose, followed by a fresh, easy mouth-feel with a nice spicy finish.

Toro Loco Edicion Memoria 2016, Utel-Requena (Aldi £9.99) offers bit more power.

Utel-Requena is a region near to Valencia on Spain’s Mediterranean coast and this red is a blend of local grape variety bobal along with some tempranillo and merlot which has been aged in a mixture of oak barrels and clay amphorae.

This ageing has added a layer of complexity which, to be honest, I wasn’t expecting in this wine.

There are dark ripe, soft fruits – plums and cherries – on the nose with a little vanilla and spice, before a very smooth palate with more dark fleshy fruits and savoury spices and a long, warming, quite detailed finish.

It would be great with sausages around the fire but would also work really well with a bowl of venison casserole or a hearty lasagne and it really does over-deliver at this price, an autumn sparkler!