Autumn is my favourite time of the year. From the Glorious Twelfth throughout until the end of the year. Partridge, venison, every type of squash imaginable, all come out singing. Dishes of lentils and heavier pulses and grains suddenly make more sense. Wild mushrooms grow, and later truffles come from across the channel.
My drinking habits change too. Not only is there a rebalance of the primary grape colours, but things turn more celebratory too. Prized bottles you’ve kept for months suddenly catch your eye as you think of an occasion to open them. This weekend with some close friends over for a meal of little more than roast squash, with platters of cheese, we opened Grappin’s Bourgogne Aligoté.
It’s not just favourite bottles however. Celebrations call for sparkling wines. This weekend, an English sparkling red blew me away, and an Italian pet-nat reminded me that Italy has far more sparkling to it than Prosecco.
Finally, Autumn calls for desserts. I’ve never had much of a sweet tooth but I’ve found one develop in recent years. As I tucked one of the last slices of fruitcake my grandmother made for me recently, I paired it with another light and fun Italian wine: a dessert wine that is a lot of fun.
There’s no Learn section this week: just a dedication instead to some lovely wines that I’ve devoured this Autumn.
At £21, Grappin’s Bourgogne Aligoté is not an every day bottle, but nor is it an unaffordable luxury. Six months lees contact gives this some wonderful buttery texture, but it’s still got that mineral elegance that you expect from aligoté. I can never have too much of this in my life.
Dunleavy is a Somerset vineyard known for its rosé. But last week, I was lucky enough to try their new sparkling red. Sparkling red?! That’s right. This is rondo – a red grape I often struggle with. But its treated well here. There’s strawberries, rhubarb and cherries in abundance. It’s £29.99, and if you’re looking for an aperitif sparkler for anything this Christmas, you honestly couldn’t go wrong with this.
Il Pestifero (£19.99 from Solent) is a pet-nat from Marche, Italy. Lightly sparkling with some cloudiness to it, this proved instantly more elegant than most sparklers you you’re used from Italy. This was gently fruity and delicious.
Finally, with some of my grandmother’s fruit cake, I finally found the time to open a bottle of Cà ed Balos Moscato d'Asti (£13 from Red Squirrel) that I’ve had for almost a year now. You might wonder, as I did, where this lightly sparkling, sweet white wine at just 5% ABV fits into your life. With cake is the simple answer, though it’s so balanced and light, you can understand why Red Squirrel suggest breakfast….
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