Sophia Finucane delves into her favourite wine pairings for the Autumn season.
Wine is something many people feel excluded from, as there is a great deal of snobbery around making information on it accessible. However, as research on the importance of fermented foods, and the Western interest in Kefir and Kimchi grows, it occurs to me that wine is Europe’s great fermented product. I am not arguing that wine is a health food, but the wine-making practice is certainly an ancient and fascinating one, and can be sustainable and relatively ethical when done right, especially given that it is one of the last remaining plant products that has largely stayed family or small business owned, without using as many outsourced laborers as other foodstuffs. It’s also delicious, and so many grapes get overlooked for a handful of those that have become popular. Here are some wine recommendations that aren’t a Sauvignon Blanc or a Bordeaux, and food pairing suggestions for them:
as research on the importance of fermented foods, and the Western interest in Kefir and Kimchi grows, it occurs to me that wine is Europe’s great fermented product.
The affordable one- Gaia Rosé. Rosé season may be winding-down, but if you are squeezing in one last glass before autumn truly sets in, this Santorini wine is a decently priced yet more unique choice. This boasts classic Greek flavours of watermelon, rose and pomegranate, while still remaining bone dry. Greek wine is often overlooked for French and Italian, but vineyards in this region often have ancient vines and centuries of vinification under their belts. Drink this refreshing choice with Mediterranean or North African food such as tabbouleh, or a feta, mint and watermelon salad, and you won’t be disappointed.
The one that changes your mind- Guerrieri Rizzardi Lugana. White wine is often thought of as either sour Sauvignon or pungent Pinot Grigio (not that those wines can’t be great, but there is such a plethora of awful ones). Lugana is by far the most popular white in Italy, and this one is very affordable. Instead of straight-forward lemon and apple notes, the hint of peach and orange blossom, not to mention the minerality provided by Veneto’s clay soils, gives a beautiful soft mouthfeel. With a creamy pasta (either non-vegan or an oat milk and nutritional yeast roux) this is an absolute dream, and will make those who only swear by red wine think again.
The fancy one that would make an excellent gift- Sierra Cantabria Gran Reserva. This long-aged Rioja is not cheap, but the kind of thing that is enough of a gift on its own, which is handy as we slowly edge toward the season when you don’t know what to buy for relatives at Christmas. The ageing in oak barrels gives a beautiful hint of cinnamon and chocolate, which is also great for the festive season. It pairs incredibly with anything rich: spicy pepper tomato pasta, red meat or game dishes, cheese or an aged vegan miso cheese board. This wine can be sipped slowly on its own and gets better as it sits open, so it really is a luxurious gift that it’s hard to imagine anyone wouldn’t be delighted by.