As the colours begin to change, it’s time to welcome a warmer, richer, and heavier cuisine. Colder weather brings us closer to more robust flavours in our food, and the same goes for wine. Wine becomes more of an accent during the colder months, as pairing it properly more important during the festive season.
Autumn is the perfect time to switch flavour profiles from the sweeter varieties of wine enjoyed during summer to drier wines with tannins providing an extra layer of warmth. The time has come to start enjoying the Grenaches and Cabernet Sauvignons. Take a look below to see our selection of the five best autumn wines to sample, along with pairing suggestions for the perfect fall-themed meal.
Known as Spain’s king of reds, this traditional wine contains aromas ranging from earthy tobacco and leather to clove, cinnamon, and nutmeg compliments of its distinctive ageing process. This ageing system is labelled based on the oak ageing, so customers who prefer a more spiced flavour can go for the “reserve” or the fruitier “Joven” labels. The most well-known Tempranillo is from Rioja, who’s medium-body perfectly aligns with the spotlight-stealing Autumn braises and stews.
For game and cream-based dishes, try pairing a bottle of 2009 Vega Scilia Unico Gran Reserva Ribera del Duero, with its aromas of black cherry, tobacco and blackberry. Served at 16-18°C, this wine could match perfectly with a veal shank and potato croquettes, and dark chocolate truffles for dessert.
This distinctly southern Italian red wine is perfect for welcoming the colder months. This grape variety is very common in Puglia, grown in a sunny and dry environment it creates a sweeter, and more reserved flavour compared to its almost identical companion, Zinfandel. The name “Primitivo” refers to its early ripening characteristics, which differs it to Zinfandel’s longer hanging period. Primitivo wine will provide you with dark berry, fig, and other dried fruit notes, while some leather and earthiness characteristics are present.
This wine works very well with roasted lamb dishes, hearty lentil stews, and casseroles such as eggplant parmesan. Try a cult favourite – 2016 A Mano, `Prima Mano` Primitivo – to be paired with dishes matching its robustness.
Although sparkling prosecco’s are likely to be left in the summer heat, a great transition wine is a good Rosé. This hybrid wine is perfect for those “in-between” times when you are not ready to drink that January wine in front of the fireplace. It works well with heartier meals during the colder months while still being fresh and light enough to enjoy with other foods. With primary flavours such as red fruit, flowers, citrus, this is sure to brighten up your meals.
Try the Charles Heidsieck Brut Rose NV, from Champagne, this autumn; it pairs beautifully with meaty dishes and oilier fishes. This Rosé is compromised of the three key Champagne varieties – Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Meunier – giving it a robust and full-bodied quality. With this wine you will experience ripe cherry tones alongside toasty vanilla bean flavours and creamy, rich brioche notes. Once tried, we can assure you will keep a second bottle on hand all winter.
This white wine is perfect for the Chardonnay fans who want something a little rounder and more robust for the upcoming winter. The viognier variety comes from Southern French regions and has delightful qualities; its characteristics include a delicious honeysuckle quality, along with aromas of vanilla and peach. Its richer flavour moves away from the typical light and thin qualities of white wine, making it perfect to enjoy during Thanksgiving or throughout the winter.
This wine is perfectly paired with foods that allow its fruity aromas to shine through; meats like roasted chicken, turkey, pork chops, tilapia, salmon, shrimp, or lobster would pair perfectly with this wine. Additionally, it can be complemented with cheeses like brie, and vegetables found in autumn like pumpkin, fennel, and squash. Why not try a roast chicken with apricot and almond alongside a bed of saffron rice with a bottle of the well-known 2011 Cote Rotie Maison Rouge Domaine Georges Vernay to bring out its creamy rich texture?
The less known yet equally delicious white wine, coming from Germany, is perfect for warming up your home while it gets colder outside. This explosively aromatic wine is described as “once tried, never forgotten” due to its incredible flexibility and ability to suit tastes universally. A Gewürztraminer will provide you with multiple aromas; roses, apricots, mango, pepper, lychees, and sweet spices may come to mind when enjoying this wine.
Given this, the perfect match to your bottle of Alto Adige Gewürztraminer DOC “Josef Hofstätter Vigna Rechtenthaler Schlossleiten” 2015 is a pungent cheese or rich meat dish. This wine pairs very well with spicy food, fatty dishes with creamy sauces, or even some simple antipasti.
We hope these recommendations have ignited your interest in exploring what wines will accompany you perfectly in these coming months. For more information on which Autumn wine is for you, or to buy one of these delightful selections, please contact your PA at Insignia.