Charles' list

Wines I Like - Autumn

I like to choose wines to suit to moment, so there’s a lot of seasonal variation on my choices. Having said that, we do drink a lot of Italian red, whether from Piedmont or Tuscany or further afield. There’s just something about the combination of juicy ripeness, good acidity (whether we are talking about Dolcetto, Barbera, Nebbiolo or Sangiovese) and tannins that might have an edge of dryness which can hover on the edge of a refreshing bitterness. These wines are just so good to drink and every sip calls for the next, and most of them work at any time of year. I do routinely put reds in the fridge for ten or fifteen minutes as I don’t have a wine cooler and there seems to be nowhere in the house cool enough in summer. Try this – it can make such a difference if your wine is the right temperature. A 14.5%+ southern Rhone wine at over 18 degrees will have alcohol dominating the fruit. Cool it to 15 or 16 and it all comes back into focus. Don’t be a stick-it-on-the-Aga wine murderer. The pursuit of Pinot Noir also takes us all over the world for all the different nuances, and in a completely different way to the Italian wines, there is a Pinot for almost any occasion, any time of year.

We drink more red than white, but can’t resist a bright dry Riesling at any time. As the weather cools in the autumn it is a marvellous opportunity to get back to some of those quite bigger, lower acid whites with food – Thevenet’s Macons or Spanish whites, which can seem a bit clumsy with raw or cold fresh seafood in summer, come into their own with winter salads or fish in sauces.