So Cheshire’s wine column, by Richard Smith of The Wine School of Cheshire
For many autumn is a favourite season. The leaves are falling and the evenings are becoming darker and red wine is calling!
It’s not all about red of course, but I have selected some great wines to suit the weeks ahead which will match beautifully with autumnal ingredients.
For white wines, more mineratlity is needed (think belly pork on a Sunday) and for reds a little more jam and spicy notes and a lot more body!
1 – Ridgeview Bloomsbury NV
English sparkling has been making headlines for quite a few years and this is the best of the non vintages (NV) out there on the high street by far.
Ridgeview is owned and operated by the Roberts family and they supply Buckingham Palace and Downing Street so you know you’re in good hands.
Produced from the classic Champagne grapes Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier which are grown in Ridgeview’s own Sussex vineyards, this sparkling gem is perfect on it’s own, great with a full English if you’re celebrating early in the day and a cracker with great British Fish and Chips on a Friday!
Of course there are plenty of other excuses to open a bottle too.
Waitrose £28.99 (look out for frequent offers in-store when you’ll get 25% off!)
2 – Alto Los Romeros Gran Reserva Roussanne Marsanne 2015
These two grapes (Marsanne and Roussanne) are classic Rhône Valley varietals and this Chilean winemaker has absolutely nailed it. Made from 63% Roussanne and 37% Marsanne, these grapes are always better together and rather dull when produces as single varietal wines.
Ignore the Gran Reserva in the title as this is more marketing than substance but nevertheless a fantastic wine from Chile’s Colchagua Valley.
The nose is all honey flowers and citrus fruits and this fuller flavour white is fantastic on its own in the cooler months and really comes into its own with dishes such as chicken and chorizo terrine.
Tanners Wines £9.95
3 – Atlantis Santorini 2016
Just like the island where this wine is made, it’s perfect to enjoy throughout the year. In summer it’s Sea bass and salads, in autumn think French beans and lardons and in winter a great match for a superbly cooked roast chicken.
This wine is made from 90% Assyrtiko, 5% Aidani and 5% Athiri grapes – much easier to drink than pronounce I assure you and not too dissimilar to a quality Sauvignon Blanc.
The vines on Santorini grow in the form of large birds nests to keep the grapes safe from the coastal winds. This is a fragrant wine with a zesty edge and needs a food match to bring out the flavour.
4 – Delaire Graff Chenin Blanc 2015
This wine is incredible! On paper it may seem a tad pricey but you haven’t tried it yet! A gem from South African diamond dynasty Graff (did you see what I did there?!) this in Chenin Blanc and then some.
Partially aged in oak – don’t worry it doesn’t taste like a Chardonnay from a 1986 wine bar – this wine is all stone fruits with a tropical edge.
This needs to be at the accurate white wine temperate of 8 degrees to fully appreciate the flavour and the minerality will cut through the fat of a belly pork Sunday roast in a heat-beat and leave you wanting more.
Corks Out £15.50
5 – Vaza Rioja Crianza 2015
Before I first tried this wine, my immediate thoughts were it’s too cheap to be a good Crianza. (pronounced cree-anne-tha) Never pre judge as I do in fact always preach! What a cracker!
Made with a classic Rioja blend of 85% Tempranillo, 10% Grenache and 5% Mazuelo grapes and aged in French and American oak as a good aged Rioja should be, the vanilla comes through a treat on the nose and there are plenty of fruit flavours you’s want and expect.
Enjoy with roast lamb, medium strength cheeses or after dinner on its own. Rather lovely before dinner too!
Tanners Wines £9.95
6 – Simon Hackett Old Vines Grenache 2015
Simon Hackett is a renowned Australian winemaker who learned his skills with Brown Brothers before going it alone with his boutique winery in McLaren Vale – and how glad are we that he did?!
Made from 100% Grenache this is a medium to full-bodied red with spicy notes and mineral after flavours. Perfect for an autumn night in – you’ll want something to eat to take down the tannins and max the fruit flavours.
Wonderful with a lasagne al forno or confit duck and incredible with a cheeseboard, great friends and good conversation!
Corks Out £15.50
7 – Notte Rossa Primitivo 2016
Puglia is the heel of Italy’s boot and Primitivo its principal red grape variety – known as Zinfandel in California where it tastes completely different, this is your perfect jammy Sunday lunch red. But don’t wait until Sunday if you don’t have to!
Made from 25 year old vines and aged in French and American oak, this full-bodied red is jam on the nose, a little plum and chocolate on the palate and more jam!
Sensational with roast beef, also great with steak and indeed dark chocolate or a cheeseboard – also big enough to stand up to some punchy chutneys. At £11 this doesn’t break the bank and you’ll no doubt need two bottles as the first will leave you craving for more!
Corks Out: Knutsford, Alderley Edge, Chester, Timperley, Stockton Heath (corksout.com)
Tanners Wines: Chester (tanners-wines.co.uk)
M&S: Handforth Dean, Cheshire Oaks, Chester, Northwich, Warrington Gemini (marksandspencer.com)
Waitrose: Alderley Edge, Wilmlsow, Chester, Northwich (waitrosecellar.com)
All prices quoted were accurate at time of writing. Vintage availability may vary.
Article sponsored by The Wine School of Cheshire