Now we’ve packed away all the pumpkin bunting and scary masks for another year, hoovered away the fake (and the real, no doubt) cobwebs and the kids are fully sated on cheap candy, thoughts turn to the more wholesomely English tradition of Bonfire Night – a slightly more grown-up affair, an opportunity to burn some of the old junk that’s piled up in the shed, stand well back from some blue touch-paper, reminisce at anyone who’ll listen about doing Penny-for-the-Guy as a kid and how Hallowe’en just wasn’t thought of, and discuss the ethics of commemorating violent interdenominational discord in the early years of the 21st Century with friends and neighbours over a nice glass of wine. Ah, wine!
We’ve put together a mixed half dozen – some hearty reds, a zippy Sauvignon and a bottle of supreme fizz – to cover your Bonfire Night needs.
Kick things off with Francois Egly’s astounding and unusual 100% Pinot Meunier Champagne, all from one vineyard in the village of Vrigny. Rich, deep and complex – a Champagne that will stand up to scrutiny on a chilly November evening even whilst kids run around getting excited about sparklers.
Of course, for hearty November reds, one need look no further than the Rhône valley, from whence we bring you a deep and solidly brambly Cairanne. Into the South of France proper, and we have Paul and Isla Gordon’s intense Grenache-Syrah blend Misterioso from Faugères – “a combination of Australian winemaking and Irish viticulture deep in the heart of the Languedoc” (their words, not ours). And, maybe less hearty but full of seductive class, Bourgogne Rouge 2011 Pinot Noir from F&L Pillot in the Côte de Beaune.
To lend a little non-French balance to our selection, we have a cracking little red from Austrian wine master Bert Salomon who, not content with making excellent white wines in Austria, is making some lovely red wines in South Australia. Here find his charming, ever-so slightly peppery, Merlot-based blend Süd. And for a little Antipodean organic refreshment, we have Nick Mills’ most excellent Rippon Sauvignon Blanc from grapes grown on the shores of the outrageously beautiful Lake Wanaka – really (really) crisp with fresh white fruits and a Loire-esque minerality.
Delivered to your door for a crisp £100 and, if you live in London, delivered to your door in time for Bonfire Night if ordered by Monday evening.
Have a good weekend,
The Lea and Sandeman Team