September means back-to-school time – not quite the end of the summer weather, but neither yet fully autumnal. It is the start of a gentle slide into gradually cooler weather, shorter days and general decline.
But with an Indian Summer still a distinct possibility, we need a range of wines for all potential outcomes.
Spain may be generally better known for oaky reds, but this is a good, fresh, crisp white from Rueda, to the north west of Madrid.
The secret to the steely crispness (and relatively low alcohol level of 12%) is the combined effects of altitude (between 600m – 800m) the influence of the river Duero and night-harvesting of the grapes to maintain freshness.
Verdejo originated in north Africa but was brought to this part of Spain hundreds of years ago and is now associated with the area – it is aromatic, like a Sauvignon Blanc, but a bit more textured.
With a steely acidity, green apple fruit, aromatic notes and persistence, it’s a good alternative to Sauvignon if you are looking for something similar-but-different.
Crisp enough for aperitif, food matches are as per Sauvignon – goat’s cheese salad, grilled vegetables or seafood.
One would be forgiven for expecting a Pinot Noir with a French name to be from Burgundy; however this is actally from Montelimar in Ardeche – an area of the south of France better known for its nougat than its Pinots Noirs.
As with the Verdejo, the wine benefits from an unusually moderate microclimate that favours the grape’s preference for cooler climates.
Pinot is a good autumnal wine for various reasons – it’s one of the lighter reds, and matches well with game which is just coming into season.
This wine is light and approachable with cherry fruit – a good easy-drinker, it will match with food such as duck or leg of lamb, or can be sipped, slightly chilled, in the garden on a hotter day.
A Sangiovese more akin to Brunello’s style of soft tannins and ripe fruit than the challenging Chianti style, this shows lots of ripe fruit on first opening.
With aeration, it becomes more distinctly Italian – with dark cherry fruit, a rasp of acidity, some spice and a firmness on the finish.
Match with rich beef dishes, such as bolognese or meatballs.
A Syrah from Languedoc, this is geographically European, the Old World, but from a sunny cornerand comes with a touch of New World swagger to it.
It’s big and ripe, with lots of sweet dark fruit, but also some complex spiciness, acidity and savouriness – a classy crowd-pleaser; good concentration and poise.
Match with roasted red meat or hearty stews with a bit of spice and some root vegetables.
Bacchanalia – website
Cambridge Wine Merchants – website
Joseph Barnes Wines – website
Noel Young Wines – website
Main image credit: website
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