As autumn days get shorter and evenings bring more chill, we all need to switch from ice cold white wines, rosé and bubbly in favour of fuller red wines. Something to warm one up, something to pair the hearty food of yours. We have come up with six different wines that are perfect this time of the year.
Even though we are starting with a white grape variety, this is for a valid reason. Chardonnay is a nice transition to bolder red wines. In September, mid October you may still crave for a light refreshment and Chardonnay is naturally one of the alternatives. Some of you prefer to opt for zesty young Chardonnays with a strong hint of minerality, the rest will pick oaked Chardonnay for its smooth and creamy flavour. There is no right or wrong. We recommend to pair your favourite Chardonnay with any types of cheeses: goat cheese for unoaked wines and pungent gorgonzola for buttery oaked Chardonnay. Chardonnays are often a great match to pasta and risotto dishes. Tip: add a glass of your Chardonnay when cooking risotto. This way the wine will help balance the acidity of the dish while bringing out the rich flavours.
We include this Italian red grape variety for its ability to produce amazing rosé wines. October gives you an opportunity to experiment and try new wine varieties. Grignolino is usually lighter in texture, so you can give it a try before turning to full-bodied red wines. Grignolino offers fresh fruity juiciness of strawberry and cranberry, and the classic Italian acidity, making it an ideal choice for people who don't like sweet rose styles. Dry on the palate with a soft hint of tannins, such wines are best paired with cheeses and fruit desserts.
Moving on to red wines. Our first suggestion is Venetian Refosco - one of the oldest varieties in Italy. Powerful and slightly bitter, Refosco wines have nice notes of currants, red berries and plums. It is rich in tannins and acidity, which pairs well with all kinds of roasts, poultry and game. Our tip: open a bottle of Refosco an hour prior to serving. Let it breathe at 16 °C approximately. If the alcohol volume is higher, serve it at 18 °C for a better experience.
Indeed a special wine, Valpolicella Ripasso. A little brother of Amarone, Valpolicella Ripasso is made with two fermentations, the first one with fresh grapes for 6-7 days and the second one in contact with Amarone skins. It offers a nice concentration with notes of ripe red fruits, but also some type of freshness that allows for wider food pairing choices. It is a true autumn wine, giving enough flavour, structure and complexity to match meat ragout, stews, grills and hard medium-ripe cheeses.
A "little hill" from the Piedmontese dialect of Northern Italy, Dogliani is an easy-drinking, fruit-driven dry wine made from Dolcetto grapes. The region produces wines full on notes of dark cherries, black fruits, prunes, licorice and cocoa. Dogliani wines are moderately acidic - a very classic characteristic of Italian wines - which goes along with the local cuisine very well. This is a rule of thumb: to successfully pair a wine, match it with the dishes where the wine originates from. In the case of Dolcetto di Dogliani, it would be meats, truffles, tomato-based pasta and pizza. A piece of advice - decant or aerate if possible. Younger wines may be reluctant to give away all the tasting profile at first.
One of the most popular red grapes, Syrah, or Shiraz, is a versatile variety influenced by the climate where the grapes are grown, from medium-bodied French Syrah to bold Australian Shiraz. That is why we have included Shiraz in this Autumn wines list. It is up to you to decide the style of Syrah/Shiraz that you'd like to explore. However, oftentimes Shiraz is a powerful, full-bodied, dry tannic wine with notes of dark berries, chocolate, coffee and spicy hints of black pepper and smoke. Aged bottles offer tertiary earthy flavours of leather and truffle. The important thing about Syrah/Shiraz is serving temperature and aeration. Because the alcohol content is quite high, about 13% to 15,5%, it is advised to serve it at either 16 °C to prevent the alcohol from "burning" your palate or serving it at 18 °C after an hour of decanting, this way the wine evaporates the alcohol content naturally so you are able to enjoy the wine in its fullest.
Following our recommendations, we have created the ultimate Autumn Wine Collection box featuring all six wines mentioned above. It is an amazing opportunity to try all the suggested wine styles this autumn, explore more, surprise friends or simply gift the wine box to your close ones. You can check the collection here: