Autumn Food & Wine Pairing
As we move into the Autumn, with temperatures dropping and softening light, it’s important to embrace the seasonal change. In many ways it is an exciting time of the year when it comes to the seasonality of food and wine, with many enticing simple matches that can be enjoyed.
When we consider autumn and food, we often think of food dishes that reflect the season itself. The return of slow-cooked food, deeper wholesome flavours, more robust, hearty fair.
As with all food and wine pairings, the golden rule is match like with like. Roasts, casseroles, stews, braised dishes, risottos, pies are all great options and recipes are easy to access online or in the forgotten cookery books sitting on our shelves since we received them as gifts last Christmas.
The following are a few wine suggestions from the Whelehans Wines range that will make your food sing when matched properly.
When I think of autumn and red wine, I think of the rich deep flavours of the wines from regions such as the southern Rhone Valley and the ubiquitous Grenache; the sauvage Cabernet Franc red wines of the Loire Valley; deep brooding Touriga Nacional from Portugal; the highly elegant sophisticated Nebbiolo reds of Piedmonte in Northern Italy; and, of course, the plump, muscular Pinot Noirs of California.
Château Beauchene, “Vignobles de la Serriere” Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2018 [Rhone Valley] A classic blend from one of the most famous of French appellations. Grenache (70%) blended with Syrah (20%) and Mourvédre (5%). Rich, full-bodied and yet elegant with a savoury character pushing through the dark berry fruits. This will work well with any roast - lamb, beef or pork.
Domaine Filliatreau Saumur-Champigny " Vieilles Vignes " 2016 [Loire Valley] 100% Cabernet Franc (a more rustic, edgy and punchy parent variety of Cabernet Sauvignon) has a touch of wild winter fruit with a vivid, intense, raspberry flavour. Made for any meat dish that requires good firm tannins and acidity to cut through any fattiness. A good match would be confit of duck or slow-roasted pork.
Quinta dos Aciprestes 2018 [Douro Valley Portugal] Douro reds pack a soul-warming comfort, full-bodied intense dark cherry fruits, a touch of pipe tobacco and leathery spiciness. This would work so well with a wild mushroom risotto or a charcuterie board.
Franceso Rinaldi et Figli Barolo 2015 [Piedmonte Italy] Nebbiolo is the grape here, and contrary to its wide perception as a full-bodied oaky powerhouse, it should be considered an elegant, savoury, red of firm tannic structure and refreshing acidity, more akin to a fine red Burgundy if you will. Bright red currant and red cherry fruit with a suave supple texture upon which hangs a hauntingly complex fruit character. This is a deep wine worthy of the finest cuts of red meat, rib-roast of beef on the bone served rare with a mustard and herb crust.
Failla ‘Lola’ Pinot Noir 2017 [Sonoma Coast, California USA] Beautifully silky and pure, deep red currant, strawberry fruit and a pleasant full texture. Failla is a boutique fine wine producer par excellence, their whole range is well worth seeking out. Ideal with (when it’s in season) venison stew or fillet, if you insist, would be a match made in heaven.
Whites also have their place on the table at this time of year. Richness, body and plenty of fruit work best with the earthy, rich, savoury food offerings. Whites from Macon, the Chardonnay heartland of Southern Burgundy; or the beautifully
complex honeyed (but dry) Grüner Veltliner of Austria; the Loire Valley’s Chenin Blanc can work wonders with its deep orange peel citrus fruit and nutty character; Alsace Gewurztraminer (if you’re truly adventurous) or Riesling (which tends to be full-bodied in this region) are superb food wines.
Domaine Guerrin & Fils Pouilly-Fuissé La Maréchaude 2018 [Macon France] If gloriously golden rich oaky Chardonnay is your thing, look no further. This has a wonderful fruit intensity of ripe buttery fruit and butterscotch, in the finish there’s a finely judged zip of acidity to restrain all the abundant fruit. Class in a glass. Served with a herb-coated, garlic stuffed roast chicken, and you’ll never look back.
Türk Grüner Veltliner “Vom Urgestein” 2019 [Kremser Austria] Of all the whites suggested here, this is perhaps the most adaptable. Light, pure, honeyed ripe fruit with wonderful balance and a very long finish. Try with rhubarb crumble, or a posh starter like scallops with Clonakilty black pudding; it’s that varied when it comes to good partners.
Château de Fesles Anjou Chenin Sec 2018 [Loire Valley France] Waxy texture under ripe tropical pineapple and green apple fruit. A hugely popular white wine with our regular customers. This will work with chicken and mushroom pie or a good ‘ould’ traditional Dublin Coddle.
Trimbach Gewurztraminer 2017 [Alsace France] Gewurztraminer tends to have a reputation as a ‘marmite’ wine, which I feel is unfair. It is a unique white with really no pretenders or similars. Intense in fruit concentration and flavour, Turkish delight, lychees, ripe golden apples are but a few of the adjectives that hit the mark. This powerful white is full-bodied, but needs very careful matching. For me nothing beats pairing it with oven-baked Camembert or 70’s throwback a cheese fondue.
Trimbach Riesling 2018 [Alsace France] Alsace Riesling, due to its relatively warm climes and low rainfall, tends to produce full-bodied Rieslings. When sipped this tastes like baked apple and a green granny smith at the same time. A simple match that works every time - roast pork with apple sauce.