Wine to Fall For this Autumn
The Hunter Valley is a wonderful place to visit at any time of the year, but Autumn has that special magical something – mountain and vineyard landscapes with hues of brown and red, cooler days and nights in front of warm, open fires, cosy restaurants and cafes serving up hearty dishes, welcoming cellar doors and of course the wine. What could be better?
Change is everywhere at the start of Autumn and as the seasons change, so do many of our drinking habits. For many of us, the changing seasons come with changing preferences in wine. It might even be an excellent time to try something new.
Those crisp white wines we crave in Summer tend to give way to light to medium reds and heavier, more textural white wines to suit the cooler nights and days. It is that time of year when our wine choices can be as varied as the days themselves.
So, what wines do you “pair with the season”? The lighter, brighter reds you might have enjoyed over Summer are still relevant now; however, Autumn will see them served at warmer temperatures and with more decadent ingredients. Think beef bourguignon with Pinot Noir or succulent lamb meatballs with Cabernet Franc.
Here are a few wine picks to stock your cellar this colourful season.
The cooler weather may be here, but that does not mean you need to stop sipping on a glass of your favourite Rosé. As a fantastic food wine, the versatility of Rosé is its standout feature as it can be paired with a wide variety of foods and flavours and handles spices and heat very well.
Those lighter-style reds you have been enjoying in the warmer weather remain an optimal choice for the cooler moments of Autumn; however, now is the time to enjoy your Pinot Noir, Merlot, Sangiovese, Grenache, Cabernet blends and medium-bodied Shiraz at room temperature.
Delivering the amazing flavours of Autumn, Pinot Noir is the vinous star of the season and a popular alternative to some of our famously big bold reds. Typically lighter in colour, with a perfumed nose and hints of cherry, raspberry and plum flavours balanced by smooth tannins, it is a particularly flavoursome wine and ideal with roasted meats, salmon and tuna dishes.
Medium-bodied but deceptively light in colour, Grenache is a varietal packed with aromas of raspberry, red plum and tobacco. This is a crowd-pleasing wine and is excellent alongside those cooler weather dishes such as grilled, stewed, or braised beef, veal, pork and chicken.
The typical young Hunter Valley Shiraz is a medium-bodied wine showing red and dark berries, spices and a great deal of tannin. With age, the wines become far more complex, full-bodied, yet smooth and richly flavoured with some earthy tones. The bold flavours give Shiraz the reputation as a very food-friendly wine.
Sangiovese is perfect for Autumn sipping. Not only does it offer you flavour satisfaction, but it is the ideal match for the creamier and richer meals that you crave once the cool weather moves in.
With the cooler months, those crisp and fresh whites we have been savouring the last few months make way for wines with minerality and richer textures, savouriness and concentration.
Most Chardonnay lovers will drink Chardonnay regardless of the season, but it is the perfect choice for Autumn. The style that has emerged today is all about letting the fruit take centre stage, with other elements such as oak taking a supportive role. It is one of the best autumn wines and suits the richer style of food the season is famed for.
Semillon is proof that Autumn is not just about red wines. This Bordeaux-borne grape is often blended with Sauvignon Blanc, giving an otherwise lush, mouth-filling wine a welcome hint of zippiness and an excellent match for those Autumn-inspired dishes.
Pinot Gris (or Pinot Grigio) is a great choice for Autumn weather – it's rich and textural with notes of apple and pear (how fitting for Autumn!), with just the right amount of spice from some time in oak.
A great one for transitioning from dry, crisp whites to something a little more complex.