October has been something of a mixed month so far with a late Indian summer to kick things off, some distinctly wintry temperatures a few days later, and a bit of mist and mellow fruitfulness in between.
However, one thing remains constant and that is the need for bigger, warming wines to go with some appropriately seasonal food.
All the wines this month come from the warmer parts of classic wine countries and have a greater degree of ripeness and up-front fruit as a result.
In general, we are looking at grape varieties that score highly in terms of personality rather than for classical restraint and good food matches will be something appropriately full of spicy, herby flavours, such as good butcher’s sausages, spiced game, meaty stews and roasted mediterranean vegetables.
Concertino Corbières 2008 £8.99 Cambridge Wine Merchants
Made from an unoaked blend of Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre, there is smokey prune fruit and eucalyptus on the nose.
On the palate, there is juicy, dark berry fruit with some gentle grip on the finish.
Vedilhan Syrah Viognier Languedoc 2009 £8.49 Bacchanalia
This mix of northern Rhone gapes shows dense cassis with liquorice and vanilla spice on the nose.
The palate is soft and full with a touch of peachiness from the Viognier. The acidity feels rounded and mouthfilling with some vanilla sweetness on the mid-palate.
From the “heel” of Italy and made from the big Negroamaro grape which is native to the region, this is the most crowd-pleasing wine straight out of the bottle.
The nose is full of ripe elderberry fruit whilst the palate is rich and warming with sweet fruit and hints of cooked Christmas spices, balanced with good acidity and ripe tannins.
On the finish, there is just enough grip to let you know this a food wine.
With such unpredictable weather and temperatures this month, it is hard to make a recommendations based on seasonality – on a warmer day the juciness of the Corbières might suit, whilst the warming fruit and spice of the Salice Salentino will keep any wintry damp and chill away.
However, for me, the most enjoyable wine here is the Veldihan Syrah Viognier for its complexity and soft, peachy texture.
Bacchanalia – http://www.winegod.co.uk/
Cambridge Wine Merchants – http://www.cambridgewine.com/
Noel Young Wines – http://www.nywines.co.uk/
Main image credit – http://www.sjlshots.com/2008/03/18/october-leaves/
Copyright Tom Lewis 2011
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