The southern Rhône is an example of how wine preferences change with the seasons. I’ve barely looked at a bottle from the area all summer (I’m not alone: sales in the warmer months are minuscule in the Tate restaurants), but colder nights, along with the deeply flavoured food that comes with them, point to a red of warmth and character.
This large area is best-known for the Châteauneuf-du-pape region. Its reds can be made from many varieties, although it is the richly fruited grenache that forms the backbone. There is a lot of Châteauneuf made, and much of it is not good value. Avoid the own-label stuff that dominates the supermarkets and either buy the best (at a price) or look elsewhere in the region. The wines tend to be full-bodied but not overtly tannic, with dark fruit like blackberry, and spice. As they age they turn a bit feral, which I love: think of game and mushrooms.
Here are three to try. The Gigondas, in particular, will be lovely with David Tanis’s grilled mushrooms, or bring it out with any slow-cooked, red-meat dish.