Autumn calls for country walks, cosy fires and a glass of red wine. Wine expert Matt Dicks has picked his favourite red wines to see you through the season
As a former pupil at the village primary school, I have vivid memories of school assemblies. I used to sit at the back, out of sight from the teachers so I could chat to my fellow classmates. We used to sing hymns from a small paperback book consisting of missing pages, ripped pages or a cover and no pages. One of those hymns was called ‘Autumn Days’. Remember it? I won’t attempt to attach a voice recording to this article of me singing it because cracks in windows can cause an unwanted draught during this time of year. ‘Silk inside a chestnut shell’, ‘the grass is jewelled’ and ‘scent of gardens when the rain’s been falling’, were just some of the delightful lyrics used to describe the year’s most colourful season.
However, it’s not all about verses of hymns, as autumn is all about action in the world of wine. In the northern hemisphere, it’s harvest season. Grapes are being plucked from the vines in the vineyard by dozens of skilled workers, ready to be taken to the winery, where the magic of fermentation takes place.
After spending a year with a producer in Gloucestershire, harvest time was certainly the highlight. A constant stream of grapes arriving, ready to be
de-stalked, crushed and pressed. An all action week followed by misty weekends wearing that favourite cosy jumper whilst walking leafy lanes, was the perfect combination.
A colourful season requires some colourful wines, so here’s a selection autumnal red’s to ‘fall’ in love with:
A classic Bordelais blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec, it offers a palate of seamlessly integrated plum, cassis, blackberry and black cherry flavours
Beefsteak Wine Club has been created with steak and wine lovers in mind and honours the dining clubs of the 18th and 19th century, which celebrated the beefsteak as a symbol of liberty and prosperity.
First made in 1964, this is the Veneto’s answer to a ‘Super Tuscan’. Full-bodied with a soft tannin structure, cherry and plum flavours with hints of cinnamon, cocoa, tobacco and vanilla on the long finish. Exceptional value.
Filled with wonderful red-fruit flavours and a slightly smoky finish, this is a blend of Dornfelder and Rondo grapes. A complex set of aromas including red berry fruits and spicy oak are balanced by a gentle freshness.
A wine specially blended for Waitrose by the highly skilled Charles Back, a legend in the South African wine world. From bush vines in the Paarl area, the grapes were fermented as whole berries and then matured in old French and American barrels.