Wine Varieties to Explore This Autumn
As we step out of summer sunshine and slowly meander to the depths of winter, wine drinkers across Australia get to enjoy the nuanced season of autumn. It’s that time of year when change is everywhere and the wine choices can be as varied as the days themselves. Our expert Panellist, Adam Walls, provides his insights into the types of reds that suit the cooling temperatures and discusses what white wines are best to handle the richer food options appearing on menus everywhere.
Riesling is renowned for its backbone of mouth-watering acidity. It is true that Riesling is a perfect wine for the hotter months, however, don’t discount its potential to be one of the go-to varieties to drink throughout autumn. Across most of the country we are blessed with a mild start to autumn, the days are full of sunshine and warmth, and Riesling’s ability to be really refreshing is perfect for sipping during daytime feasting and relaxing. But even as the temperatures start to drop as the sun sets, Riesling becomes the perfect accompaniment to the slightly richer styles of food that autumn ushers in. The acidity, again, is key as it helps cut through the richness of the food.
Adam: “Riesling will always be fresh and mouth-watering, and with its generous flavour weight it suits not only occasions that soak in the last of the summer sun, but also matches the richer and heavier foods that are some of the best parts of autumn.”
Chardonnay comes in many shapes and sizes. The style that has emerged today is all about letting the fruit take centre stage with other elements such as oak taking a supportive role. This medium-bodied style is the perfect match to autumn’s classic characteristics. We naturally look for more weight in our wines once we sense the cool change in the air and Chardonnay not only gives us this extra fruit weight, but also offers a creamy texture to boot.
Adam: “Most Chardonnay lovers will drink Chardonnay all year around, however, I think it’s one of the best variety to sip during autumn. Its weight is enough to offer comfort against the warmer weather and it suits the richer style of food the season is famed for.”
The famed red grape of Tuscany – an area renowned for producing wines that are as savoury as they are fruit-focused. This savouriness is the key to helping Sangiovese pair with the earthier flavours we see creeping into our cuisine at this time of year. In addition, Sangiovese has slightly higher levels of acidity compared to many other red grape varieties and this enables it to be a perfect match with richer slow-cooked dishes.
Adam: “Sangiovese is perfect for autumn sipping. Not only does it offer you flavour satisfaction, but it is the perfect match to the deeper, creamier and richer meals that you crave once that cool wind starts blowing.”
Grenache is one of the most popular varieties at the moment with many of the straight varietal wines being beautifully perfumed and elegant. But of course, Grenache also shines as the leading force in perfectly balanced red blends, such as the classic coupling with Shiraz and Mourvèdre (Mataro) or better known as GSM. Grenache blends such as this offer the elegance and perfume of Grenache with the spice and power of the more robust Shiraz and Mourvèdre, and this extra muscle helps the wine to not only offer comfort against the cold, but to complement the richer and fuller flavoured autumn fair. Don’t discount these wines for lunchtime enjoyment as well, they are perfectly matched to autumn sunshine and lighter-style lunches.
Adam: “Grenache brings the seductiveness, while others such as Shiraz and Mourvèdre bring the muscle. These wines are the perfect example of why winemakers love blending varieties together. You get to benefit from how well they work together!”
In the warmer months of summer, we look for lighter bodied wines. In the depths of winter, we look for full-bodied wines. Where do medium weight wines sit? Autumn of course. Autumn weather can be unpredictable and can vary from warm to cool conditions in the same day – and this is the type of weather that Merlot shines in. It is a classic medium-bodied red variety, loved for its smooth texture and ease of sipping. Today’s Merlots are better than ever with our winemakers being able to tease out more structure and length of flavour than ever before.
Adam: “A favourite amongst many wine drinkers, purely because it is so easy to drink. Modern Merlots have so many interesting characteristics and can have wonderful length. Now is the perfect time of year to be enjoying this medium-bodied style.”
Discover more great autumn inspired wines in our Autumn Catalogue here.