Wines to keep you warm

With the chang­ing sea­sons comes a change in our tastes, to­wards fuller- bod­ied bot­tles

The Irish Times Magazine - - DRINK - WINE JOHN WIL­SON

Icling to the dy­ing days of sum­mer for as long as pos­si­ble, hop­ing against hope that the days won’t get shorter and the tem­per­a­ture won’t drop. Sadl y, i nevitably, the weather has changed, the leaves are turn­ing and au­tumn has ar­rived.

As the sea­son changes we move on from the lighter wines of sum­mer to some­thing a l i ttle more warm­ing, not nec­es­sar­ily to any­thing quite as big and pow­er­ful as the ro­bust win­ter reds, but we cer­tainly drink more red wine, or white wines with a lit­tle bit more body and tex­ture.

We still drink fresh, crisp whites and light reds from time to time, of course, but many of us in­stinc­tively drink sea­son­ally. Sales of rosé plum­met, and of red wines in­crease, once the sun dis­ap­pears.

Choos­ing a wine is as much about mood as about the food you are serv­ing. I of­ten find my­self re­turn­ing to old favourites, such as the Pro­to­colo be­low. Like a favourite old coat or jacket, or a cosy blan­ket re­turned to the sofa, they of­fer a cer­tain com­fort at this time of year.

My favourite au­tum­nal wines in­clude mel­low Rio­jas, some of which can have a def­i­nite aroma of au­tum­nal un­der­growth, as does ma­ture Pinot Noir.

Both are per­fect for all of those game dishes that be­come avail­able for the next few months, or pork with roasted veg­eta­bles – onions, but­ter­nut squash and root veg­eta­bles.

If you add a cou­ple of ap­ples the white Château Saint Au­riol be­low would work well. If you add a lit­tle spice a fuller- bod­ied Grenache or Shi­raz would be per­fect.

For white wines with a lit­tle more rich­ness and body, go for Chardon­nay, Viog­nier, Rous­sanne or maybe a Godello, from Spain.

All of th­ese work re­ally well with white meats and fuller- bod­ied fish dishes. I had a great fish pie this week that was per­fect with a medium- bod­ied Chardon­nay. Chenin Blanc from South Africa also has that com­fort­ing cush­ioned rich­ness that seems just right on a colder evening. I have also en­joyed sev­eral warm­ing cur­ries in the past few weeks.

My lamb bhuna worked a treat with the Grenache Noir be­low on a damp Thurs­day evening; the Château Saint Au­riol went nicely with a creamy chicken curry.

Around this time of year all of those back- to- school ex­penses start to bite.

If you are self- em­ployed the tax­man is wait­ing im­pa­tiently for his an­nual pay­ment.

So, this week, four bud­get wines, all widely avail­able and all well un­der ¤ 15, to keep us warm in the cooler evenings.

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