WINE O’CLOCK: Whites to sip as the leaves turn red
Keats called autumn the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, and undoubtedly it is a time for mellow and fruity wines.
We’re putting away the barbecues and packing school lunch boxes instead of picnic baskets. And we’re putting away the wines of summer, the sparkling vinho verdi and rosé from Provence, in favour of something with a little more body.
It’s not time yet for roaring fires, dark Sherries and big Burgundy reds but the light whites of summer are looking a bit out of season.
Mellow doesn’t have to equate with red, however. There are some nice rich, textured whites that match the mood of autumn and go well with seasonal ingredients such as butternut squash, mushrooms, pumpkin and game.
Chenin Blanc is a good choice. It has a rich texture and mineral taste. South Africa is a big producer with good stuff to be had under the Stellenbosch label.
Greek wines are becoming a little more common in our shops. Their good whites are full of texture and go well with Greek dishes such as Moussaka and Stifado.
Whites from Alsace and blends with a high Viognier content will go well with spicy dishes and curries.
White Burgundies go well with sturdy fish, such as cod and salmon, as do the whites you may find under the Châteauneuf-du-Pape label, an improvement on many of the over-rated reds that go by that name.
La Perriere Mégalithe Sancerre (SuperValu, €21.64 in current French wine sale)
You’ll rarely go wrong with Sancerre. This one is a complex balance of fruit and vanilla. excellent with shellfish or any chicken dish
Chanson Mâcon-Villages (O’Briens €18.95)
Chanson is an old Burgundy house, now owned by the Bollinger people, of Champagne fame. This Macon has a citrus flavour with a gentle after-taste of honey. It won’t over-power fish but can hold its own with duck or a squash-based casserole.
Gustave Lorentz Pinot Blanc Reserve (SuperValu €11.80 in French wine sale)
Pinot Blanc is second cousin to the better known Pinots, Noir and Gris. It produces a full-bodied white with a smooth texture. Excellent with spicy food or a curry.
Nostos Roussanne (€29.95 thecorkscrew.ie)
Greece produces some nice wine but we don’t see a lot of it in Ireland. This one is from the Manousakis winery on Crete. The Roussanne grape is originally from the Rhone but this wine has that slightly oily texture, typical of Greek products. It’s a very fragrant wine with complex flavours of peach, apricot and honey. Great with game or with lamb dishes.
– MICHAEL WOLSEY