It’s cold. And it gets dark before the day has properly begun. Which means we now have to turn the light on when admiring the colour of that pre-supper glass of red wine. Shorter periods of daylight send a signal to our brain to reject the lighter hues of summer and seek out dark reds and browns of winter. So leave the light-green Sauvignon Blancs unopened and pick up a bottle of its red cousin Cabernet Sauvignon instead.
This blood-red coloured wine not only matches the autumn foliage but also the heartier foods we’ll be eating once the weather gets cooler.
Pies, pizzas and roast meats all match the blackberry smell and taste of Cabernet Sauvignon wines. This grape variety, though fruity, can be rather one dimensional so winemakers often blend in other grape varieties to add complexity.
Tastes of blackcurrants and aromas of Bovril all add complexity when Shiraz is added and Shiraz-Cabernet Sauvignon wines reach their zenith with South African wine producers. Extra aromas of damp leaves and flavours of burnt toast are made by the hot South African sunshine – the results are robust wines best enjoyed with a large chunk of meat.
For lighter flavours stick to Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot blends. You’ll find this classic twinning in French Bordeaux reds. Expect less Bovril and more cherry and plum flavours
PG Wine Reviews
Chateau Vieux Manoir French Bordeaux 2011
£5.99 Co-op (down from £7.49 until November 18)
Cherry, coffee and liquorice flavours. Good value.
Les Tours de Bordeaux 2013
£6 Spar (down from £10.49 until November 12)
Initial flavours of cherry and damson lead you to expect a light and fruity wine, but then those deeper flavours of leather and tobacco peep through leaving you wondering if you shouldn’t have matched it to a heartier meal.
Chateau Barthez French Haut-Medoc 2009
Bramble and Turkish Delight flavours that must be matched to steak and chips.
Montes Reserva Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon
Complex flavours of blackcurrant and vanilla yoghurt followed by chocolate, cinnamon and spice. Deep stuff.
Apothic Californian Red 2012
Can you name several red grape varieties? Yes? Then they’ll be in this blend along with a few others. Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Merlot and Syrah combine to give flavours of creamy raspberry and chocolate truffle. Nice! But watch the alcohol – it’s 13.5%.
Evans and Tate Australian Breathing Space Cabernet Sauvignon
Long flavours of milk chocolate, damson and blackberry – a good wine and worth the dosh.
Tweet me a wine question @huxelrebe
© Paula Goddard 2014 www.paulagoddard.com