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5 of the best: Autumn wines

Autumn Wines

So the Sauvignon Blanc, Province Rosé and the Albariño is out of season for another year. In come those medium-bodied reds and full-bodied Chardonnays. While selecting wines, regardless of the season, is more about personal taste than anything else, some wines just feel ‘right’ about now. With the turning back of the clocks set to plunge us into long dark evenings, the fires in the pubs will be burning bright. The perfect setting for a good glass of vino.

With this scene in mind, we’ve taken a look through our range to bring to you 5 wines we think your customers will love quaffing this autumn. Whether it’s fireside or with tasty autumn dishes, we hope the list below will give a good starting point for choosing some wines for the season. Our wine range has won over 600 medals this year, so it’s no surprise that the ones we’ve selected have all been acclaimed at this year’s wine competitions. Let us know what you think in the comments below, or instead, let us know what you’ll be drinking this month.

Te Kairanga Pinot Noir, Martinborough >

New Zealand’s Te Kairanga winery has a rich heritage in the Martinborough region. It was founded 1984 but on land originally owned by the founding father of Martinborough, John Martin. The specialty of the winery has always been Pinot Noir, but they also make small amounts of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Pinot Gris. The site was recently purchased by the American billionaire Bill Foley and he immediately recruited the legendary John Kavanagh as Head Winemaker to match his ambition to produce the greatest Pinot Noir in the new world. John is quite simply one of the best Pinot Noir winemakers.

This core Pinot Noir wine shows intense black cherry, strawberry and spice. It’s elegant and beautifully balanced, with complex touches of earth, toasted oak and spice. It’s matured in French oak giving great smoky notes balanced on the palate by complex yet smooth tannins. It’s no surprise then that this wine picked up a medal at all four of the major wine competitions, including Silver at the International Wine Challenge 2017 and the Decanter World Wine Awards 2017.

Vidal Reserve Chardonnay, Hawke’s Bay >

We recently had the pleasure of having Vidal Estate winemaker, Hugh Crichton on our Matthew Clark Interviews podcast. He became the estate’s winemaker in 2006, having worked with the Vidal Estate winemaking team in various capacities since 2004. His work, with the rest of the team, has led to Vidal winning the Hawke’s Bay Winery of the Year award in 2013, as voted for by a panel of local and international winemakers and wine writers.

This full-flavoured oaked Chardonnay picked up a Bronze medal at the International Wine Challenge and Silver at the Decanter World Wine Awards this year. The 2016 vintage is a truly classic Hawkes Bay Chardonnay, perfect for poultry dishes. Fruit for this wine is selected from premium vineyards in the region, the grapes are then gently pressed. The juice is partially settled before being racked with light lees into French oak barriques. The oak barrels are selected to give a subtle flavour adding to the natural complexity gained from an extended maturation on the lees. The result is beautifully balanced with complex minerality and elegant finish.

Abbotts & Delaunay Alto Stratus Carignan >

Yet another wine that picked up a medal at all four of the major wine competitions this year, Abbotts & Delaunay Alto Stratus is produced with Carignan. Carignan is a great grape variety for hot, dry climates, yielding wines full of harmony and elegance. These grapes are transformed in a small winery set in a two-hundred-year-old building, surrounded by vineyards and squeezed between Minervois and Corbières. Within a few miles of the winery are some of the region’s most famous appellations such as Faugères, and Limoux. The grapes for this dark, brooding red came from two distinct terroirs: high-altitude vineyards which are populated by 100-year-old vines and arid Mediterranean soils where the vines grow alongside the shrublands known as the garrigue.

The grapes are hand-picked, with 60% vinified as whole bunches while 40% undergo a traditional vinification. The wines are racked at the end of alcoholic fermentation and are transferred to French oak barrels, 30% new, where they undergo malolactic fermentation and are aged for nine months. The nose shows herbaceous notes with hints of rhubarb, liquorice, gingerbread and pear; the palate is creamy, with fruity notes reminiscent of sour cherry flan. Brilliant!

Rioja Garnacha, Baigorri >

This sophisticated Rioja from Baigorri is produced using Grenacha, hand-harvested from 35-year-old vines. The grapes are collected from the steep vineyards in small crates in a process that makes a wonderful contrast with the astonishingly modern winery. The winery is constructed to aid the winemakers to produce the best wine from the grapes; below the entrance, carved out of the mountain, there are six floors designed to deal with the specific stages of winemaking and maturation. Grapes and developing wine are transported between each location by gravity; traveling down through the winery without being pumped. This gentle handling is reported to result in a better wine.

It seems to be true with this wine. Grenache has been made popular by producers from the Rhone and all over Spain. It’s lighter-bodied than most reds with high acidity, making it perfect for gentle transitioning during the autumn to the bigger reds of winter. The flavours of this wine are also season suitable, the nose shows a ripe, red fruit profile with floral notes of violet and pansy alongside hints of spicy cinnamon, nutmeg and clove. Rich and unctuous on the palate with a silky finish to the fine but grippy tannin structure.

Anjou Chenin Blanc Sec, Château de Fesles >

To finish we’ve selected a juicy white. Made from 100% Chenin Blanc grown in the mature La Chapelle vineyard to the south of the Loire, it is perfect for fish pie, a personal autumn favourite. Just off-dry it is a true sec. The maturing in oak casks ensures there is a richness on the palate, balanced beautifully by the acidity.

Pierre-Jean Sauvion, the Cellarmaster at Château de Fesles, is a fourth generation winemaker with plenty of experience; he had made wine in both California and Australia as well as Loire wines. The vineyards are situated on a slope beside the château. The soil here is stony and covered by a mixture of shale and clay. This is the third highest point in the Loire Valley and has commanding views over the surrounding countryside.

You can find more information about the wines we stock here. If you want to stock any of the wines mentioned, click here to place an order online now, or here to request an account with us; and don’t forget we’re here to support you with everything you need to ensure that your wine range is a success, from free menu design and print services to staff training .

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