Autumn officially starts on Monday, September 23 this year, so if the weather holds we still have a few more weeks of summer left.
However, meteorologists observe autumn starting on September 1, and so the words of the famous Keats’ poem, To Autumn, are rather apt.
I always enjoy the change of seasons and from a wine perspective the autumn is an opportunity to open some different wines to match some of the new season’s produce. White wines with a little more body and some richness, and reds that are a little more robust and perhaps a little more complex, are the wines that spring to mind for autumn.
Although not particularly well known, a perfect white grape for the autumn is marsanne.
Its home is in the northern Rhone Valley but can also be found in the south of France, and there are also some small plantings in the new world, especially in Australia.
It can produce wines that are quite broad with notes of pear, quince, spices and nuts and – from the right sites – does have the ability to develop complexity with some bottle age.
Irresistible Marsanne 2018, Pays d’Oc (Co-op £8) has appeared in this column before but it is such a lovely introduction to this grape and offers such good value that here it is again.
Produced for the Co-op by one of the south of France’s most respected producers, this could almost be included in Keats’ poem.
The bouquet offers pear, almonds and a touch of tangerine peel, the palate is medium bodied with a little honey and some fleshy pear before a nicely textured finish.
This would be lovely with a roast chicken or a tray bake of seasonal vegetables.
Bird in Hand ‘Two in the Bush’ Chardonnay 2017, Adelaide Hills (Waitrose £10.99 on offer from £13.99 until September 10) is from one of Australia’s most highly regarded wineries, which, over the past few years, seems to have won countless awards at international wine competitions.
The winery takes its name from the site of a gold mine from the late 1800s and this wine is named after one of the disused shafts.
This is the perfect chardonnay to ease you into autumn. It has spent a little time in oak so has some weight, but is also really well balanced with notes of peach, cashew and just a little spice on the nose, followed by more peach and also some melon on the palate with a little minerality and some nicely judged acidity.
Match this with a fish pie or a creamy white meat dish.
Irresistible Carménère 2017, Valle de Maipo (Co-op £7) is another one of the highlights of the Co-op’s Irresistible range and is terrific value.
Carménère has almost become Chile’s signature red grape and this is still very fresh with a bouquet of black cherry, dark currants, fig and a touch of spice. The palate has some weight with more dark fruits and a little oak in the background.
This would go nicely with an autumnal sausage casserole or a mushroom risotto.