Changing seasons means change of wine
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The nights have drawn in, the temperature has dropped and warming soups, casseroles, and winter roast vegetables are appearing on menus, followed by comfort puddings such as crumbles and fruit pies to finish...
In turn, these foods need fuller flavoured warming wines to accompany them. Soups come into their own on cooler days and there are some ideal pairings.
Try some of the chunky vegetable soups with a fruity Cotes du Rhone such as the great value Reserve de l’Abbe from the renowned co-op Foncalieu or an Italian from the Barbera grape such as the Feudo Maccari whose savoury fruity notes will complement the vegetable blends.
Or if it’s a creamy vegetable or chicken soup try Alsace Pinot Blanc from the cave Coop at Turckheim or a more unusual pairing with a South African Roussanne that has a full soft fruity mouthfeel from a producer like Rustenberg.
A lovely combination is soup and sherry – a dry Oloroso adds flavour to the soup and is delicious to drink with it as the dry nuttiness matches the meaty savoury soup.
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Try Gonzalez Byass Alfonso Oloroso Seco or Palo Cortado dry Amontillado. Sherries will also complement fish soups, or you could try a dry fruity white or some of the fuller flavoured roses such as the Esk Valley Malbec Cabernet Rose from New Zealand whose flavours match the spicy, garlic and tomatoes in fuller soup.
It’s time for the return of Chardonnay into wine racks, as this grape variety produces some stylish fruity wines that are far removed from the clunky oaky Aussie Chardonnays that turned many wine drinkers into ABC drinkers (Anything But Chardonnay).
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Look out for unoaked New World versions from Australia and Chile that are full of stylish crisp light ripe fruit.
Lightly oak-aged Chardonnays, such as those from the South of France where the light creamy vanilla notes add a little more flavour, are a great match to creamy vegetable soups and warming fish casseroles etc.
Wines made from the aromatic Viognier grape are worth looking out for, whether unoaked like those from Mont Rocher in the Oc region of Languedoc Roussillon, or the fuller lightly spicy New World wines from this grape such as those made by Yalumba in the Barossa Valley, where the warm sun means very ripe grapes with lovely ripe peachy, tropical fruit flavours and a light peppery finish.
Casseroles, like soups are a combination of robust full flavours and demand wines with similar characteristics to match them. Beef Bourguignonne and other meaty casseroles need gutsy wines to accompany them so look out for some of the Southern Hemisphere reds such as Argentinian Malbec like the great value vibrant Chilean Carmenere such as Los Tres Curas.
On the other hand, pasta sauces with garlic and tomatoes or a chilli con carne go best with Italian reds whose full fruity notes of cherries plus some balancing acidity are ideal – check out a Montepulciano such as the Conviviale or the white partner Conviviale Fiano with a lovely crisp fruity note with a hint of spice.
Or, for steak lovers the go-to wine is made from the Malbec grape and Argentina, Chile or France make wines with full juicy fruit notes with lovely oaky notes too – check out Decero or Don Nicanor for a great drink.
Why not dig out your autumnal and winter recipes and experiment with different wines to accompany them?