Orchards heaving with apples, brambles rich with blackberries… there is an abundance of wine to celebrate this season
Henry Fessy Brouilly, Beaujolais, France 2013 (£11.99, Waitrose) Keats’s season of mellow fruitfulness is upon us, a time of year that brings out a sentimental strain of very British childhood memories in me to do with scrumping apples and pears and rummaging in brambles for blackberries and bilberries. There are wines that seem to fit particularly well with this mood, capturing autumn in a kind of flavour photograph. Many of the red wines of Beaujolais, for example, have the vivid, finger-staining colour and the mix of sweetness and tartness that you’d find in a bucket of just-picked blackberries. I’m thinking of wines like the crunchy, vibrant example from Henry Fessy or the even more perfumed and vivid, natural-feeling Domaine Chasselay Fleurie, Beaujolais 2014 (£14.95, Vintage Roots).
Domaine des Forges Le Moulin du Gué, Savennières, Loire, France 2013 (£10.49, The Co-operative) White wines made from chenin blanc are the best for conjuring the almost overwhelmingly sweet scent of an orchard when the trees are heavy with fruit and the ground an ankle-risking obstacle course of apples in various states of decay. Chenin’s spiritual home the Loire Valley, where it’s used to make everything from grogeous honey and tarte tatin-flavoured sweet wines such as Domaine des Forges St-Aubin Coteaux du Layon 2012 (£11.75, Stone Vine Sun) to searing, Cox’s apple-like sparklers such as Domaine de la Taille aux Loups Triple Zero Montlouis-sur-Loire NV (£12.90, Justerini & Brooks). For a dry match for an autumnal roast of pork (with or without apple sauce), however, I’d opt again for Domaine des Forges and their wonderfully tangy and taut chenin from Savennières.
Yalumba Old Bush Vine Grenache, Barossa Valley, Australia 2013 (from £10.99, The Co-operative, Morrisons) The ability to summon up a British autumn isn’t confined to wines made in cooler climates (such as that in northern France) that at least approach that of the UK. Grenache, for example, is a variety that only works (in fact thrives) in the heat of the south. But both Yalumba’s silky example from South Australia and, in simpler, more direct form, Tesco Simply Garnacha 2013 (£4.99) from northern Spain, are alive with sweet and succulent brambly berry flavours. Similarly, the soft, mouth-filling white wines made from Rhône varieties marsanne and roussanne often remind me of a ripe English pear, none more so than the delectable Eric Texier Côtes du Rhône Brézème Roussanne 2012 (£16.95, Wine Direct).