Early autumnal reds: spice and warmth for cooler nights


Chilly evenings call for a bolder, darker taste. These three wines will lift your spirits

Delas Crozes-Hermitage, France 2015 (£13.99, The Co-operative) Rather like wearing that new winter coat for the first time, at this time of year there is a pleasant novelty to autumnal food. The spicy soups and rich stews answer the early call of cosiness. There are wines, too, that go well with this seasonal shift; red wines of spice and warmth that match the dishes and the softly melancholic nights-drawing-in mood. With their mix of blackberries, cassis, violet and pepper, those made from the syrah grape in the area south of Lyon in France’s Rhône Valley have a pronounced autumnal lilt. This example from the reliable firm of Delas in the area’s largest appellation, Crozes-Hermitage, is beautifully vivid, supple and succulent.

La Verdier Cairanne, France 2015 (£10, Morrisons) It’s a good 70-mile journey from Crozes-Hermitage to the village of Cairanne. The trip from the northern to the southern end of the Rhône Valley marks a seamless change in style. Here, the grenache grape variety makes its presence felt – usually in tandem with syrah (and mourvèdre and sometimes a cluster of other varieties, too) – and this generally brings wines that have much of the spice of their northern counterparts, but with more sweetly fleshy fruit, weight and heft. They’re just as effective with those same autumnal dishes, however, not least in this particularly polished example made for Morrisons by Boutinot, where the brambly jam fruit is seasoned with aniseed, rosemary and pepper.

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