October is a somewhat confused time of year – the only month that can bring summer-like heat, damp autumnal chill and wintry darkness.
At this time of year, foods are gamey with intense sauces which means big wines with gamey, vegetal aromas.
This month, we also have a seasonally-appropriate guest entry from Norwich-based Beaujolais specialist, Beaujolais and Beyond
For sunny days Orballo Albarino, Rias Baxas (£10.49, Bacchanalia)
From north western Spain, this is made from the Albarino grape and similar to a summery vinho verde from across the border in Portugal.
Dark sandy yellow in the glass, there are aromas of citrus fruit and melon skin.
The palate is zesty with ripe citrus fruit, pineapple and yellow apricot, with fresh acidity.
Characterful more than elegant, it is bigger and fuller than the traditionally light vinho verde and would match with white fish, quenelles in a creamy sauce or chicken in a morel and sherry sauce.
For chilly days Domaine de la Plaigne, 2011, Régnié (£11.30, Beaujolais and Beyond)
Like Chablis to the north, southern Burgundy’s Beaujolais region is a once over-hyped region that is now ripe for a revival.
Made from the Gamay grape, Beaujolais does not aspire to the complexity of great Pinot Noir, for sure, but when well-made can show an alluring elegance.
Translucent purple in the glass, there are aromas of red and black cherry.
The palate shows a real purity of cherry and plum fruit and fresh, prominent acidity with real elegance and precision – this is a really lovely wine. Good.
With plenty of acidity, low tannins and pure fruit, it is a highly-versatile food wine that can stand up to stronger sauces – match with autumnal foods such as duck with cherry sauce or venison with red-wine jus.
For wintry evenings Silvern ‘Greenock’ Shiraz, Barossa 2011 (£9.25, Noel Young Wines)
Made by Noel’s partner at Magpie Estate in Australia’s Barossa Valley, this is a cancelled order offered at a bargain price.
Dark fruits, with a warming, slightly baked character, roasted spices and a slap of leather, held together by a prominent acidity.
Soft texture and savouriness, somewhat port-like.
With roast dinners Lavinyeta Puntiapart* 2011 Emporda, Spain (£14.99 CambridgeWine Merchants)
An unusual blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Samso (aka Carignan), this is dark purple in the glass, with sliced green bell peppers and pencil shavings on the nose.
There is lots of dark plummy, black cherry fruit and toasty-oak spiciness on the palate, cut through with fresh acidity and underpinned by perfectly-ripe tannins.
Long and savoury with an inky texture and a pleasant firmness on the finish, this is an extremely accomplished wine indeed. Very Good.
For days of mist and mellow fruitfulness Jean-Luc Matha, Cuvee Lairis, Marcillac (£11.50 Joseph Barnes Wines)
From south west France, this is made from the Fer Servadou grape – “fer” being a reference not to iron, but to a “feral” character of the grape.
Bright ruby purple, with initially a slight cabbagey-sulphurous aromas on the nose (often actually a sign of low added sulphur), below which are ripe strawberries and some leather.
Pure, precise red and black cherry fruit, peppery spice and fresh linear acidity.
Very elegant, with soft tannins, medium-length, some persistence and a clean finish – quite different and very interesting. Good.
Match with in-season game, especially pheasant or hare.
Other related articles
More on Beaujolais – BoJo-Lé
Bacchanalia – website
Beaujolais and Beyond – website
Cambridge Wine Merchants – website
Joseph Barnes Wines – website
Noel Young Wines – website
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