Wines for changing season



Wines for changing seasons

As the weather starts to cool down in the Southern Hemisphere, and heat up in the northern hemisphere, it’s sometimes difficult to find a wine that will fit with the changing of the seasons. It can be hard to know whether you’re hot or cold, whether you should be inside or outside, or whether to dine in or go out to a restaurant. Equally, it can be difficult to find the right wines. Here are a few tips to help you make wine selection a bit easier this autumn/spring.

Southern Hemisphere
If, like me, you’re going through a cooling changing of the seasons at the moment, you want something nourishing and warming but also something that is clean and fresh on your palate. Here are a couple of red and white wine tips to keep you going as the weather cools and the leaves fall.



Medium-body Cabernet Merlot – Margaret River, Australia
The warmth and structure of Cabernet Sauvignon is a very traditional partner for Merlot. I find many people I speak to are a bit reluctant to enjoy Cabernet Sauvignon as a single varietal, but when blended with the supple, round texture that you often see in Merlot, it is a truly winning combination. To keep everyone interested in the wine, I’ve chosen a medium-bodied Margaret River as your first stopping point. Coolish, but not to the point of cold, Margaret River provides the ideal long growing conditions for this blend of grapes, and is probably – climatically speaking – closest to Bordeaux in terms of the growing conditions for these grapes. Enjoy with a sharp cheddar, an aged Comté or a blue cheese as the weather cools, and it will blow your socks off. It could also go with the right cut of steak, if you choose a medium-to-full bodied version of this combination or, if you feel up to, a good wallaby or venison fillet.

Dessert wines – Botrytis Riesling or Late-Harvest varieties
I find it hard to think why more people don’t serve dessert wines at their dinner parties. White dessert wines like these sweeter varieties can cool you down on a warmish autumn evening/day, or warm you up if served with a pudding or cheese. They’re sweet, sure. But they don’t always need to be overly sweet, and the texture of the sticky sort of wine that you get is really unconventional at Australian dinner parties in recent years.



Botrytis is a disease that shrivels the grape and leaves the winemaker unable to use it in a normal table wine, as it usually maintains high residual sugar, hence why it is suited to a sweeter variety or occasion, such as dessert. A late-harvested Riesling might retain higher sugar and so, will pair perfectly with a blue cheese. Something rarer, like a late-picked Schönburger or a Muscat can also add spice (Muscat) or figgy warmth (Schönburger) to your occasion.

Northern Hemisphere
As it warms up, you will also face the same difficulties we find here in the Southern Hemisphere. Is it hot, is it cold? Will it rain, or will the sun come out? Here are some foolproof wine choices to evade the changing seasons.

Dry Riesling
If you’re in between hot and cold weather, then something as polarising as an off-dry or German Kabinett-style (high sugar) Riesling could put the dampener on your get together or wine-drinking experience. To be safe, stick to dry Rieslings that can provide some body and minerality to bring out the warmth in a dish – like an Asian stir-fry or noodle dish – or can cool down a warmer evening, served with fish and a salad.



Beaujolais
This French wine, made from the Gamay grape, is made in the youthful style for early drinking, and usually provides richly fruited wines with some depth and character. They are rarely tannic or hot in the mouth, and are generally light to medium-bodied, to be enjoyed with friends with or without food. Because they’re lighter in style, they can be consumed as a pre-dinner wine, or more fittingly, over lunch or afternoon drinks in the Spring sun.
The easy-drinking style also means that you can warm up with friends or on your own without much hassle of decanting, aerating and things like that. It is an easy breezy wine but being red, can be served warmer than white wine and so is a versatile accompaniment to many dishes or as I said, on its own.
It doesn’t take itself too seriously and while you can get good and bad versions, stick to a good recommendation from your local wine merchant and you really will find that this can brighten up an indecisive Spring day.

Cheers,
David


Images:
http://www.xanaduwines.com/media/trade_tools/Yering%20Station/Images/YS%20Vineyard%20Autumn.jpg
http://www.margaretriverdiscovery.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/fraser-gallop-autumn1.jpg
http://101pairings.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/honey-clove-poached-apricots-triple-cream-cheese_late-harvest-riesling_pairing.jpg
http://media3.onsugar.com/files/2012/11/46/3/192/1922195/d7a14acba9ffbfb7_Beaujolais-Nouveau-2012.preview.jpg

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I think I was captured by how essentially natural or organic the whole process of winemaking is. It's farming, it's viticulture, it's weather and soil, and many more things. It's the winemaker. But after all these things, after the cap is unscrewed or the cork popped, I (and you) get to enjoy it. Then we talk about it and learn some more. Which is, I guess, the reason why you're here! Here you'll find stories, links, wine education samples and wine reviews. I am entirely independent and my wine reviews and ratings are based on my own thoughts and opinions. I accept no endorsements for products or good reviews. Enjoy! I can be reached for comments, feedback and questions at dbtaylor01@gmail.com. Good drinking to you! David

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