Misty mornings and earthy scents, satisfying crackles underfoot and fiery hues in the trees; Autumn is upon us. What could pair better with the season’s meditative ambiance than a rich wine to sip. We’ve selected fortified wines, dessert cuvées, vins jaunes and vins oranges, Rivesaltes, spirits, and classic vintages for you to enjoy.
Sauternes and other sweet white wines
In our eyes, Sauternes is THE sipping wine par excellence. It can age for decades, even a century, without batting an eyelid. The result of blending Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon first ‘attacked’ by Botrytis cinerea, a fungus that causes noble rot (it’s definitely autumn). If it can be appreciated young and fresh, it is absolutely divine after some time in the cellar. Notes of candied fruit, honey, dried fruit, vanilla, spices, marmalade, exotic fruit and nougat are revealed. Suave, not to say syrupy, powerful and extremely persistent, it makes a divine pairing with blue-veined cheeses or desserts. Of course, Château d’Yquem is the flagship domain in this field, but you can also turn to the nectars of Fargues, Gilette, Myrat and Rieussec.
Other regions produce lovely sweet wines. In Alsace, turn to the late harvests of Marcel Deiss and Ostertag as well as the selections de grains nobles of Hugel or Albert Mann. In the Loire, Quarts-de-Chaume and Coteaux-du-Layon are essential appellations ennobled by names like Domaine des Baumard and Pithon-Paillé. Montlouis and Vouvray are also tasty alternatives as proven by the domains of François Chidaine, Huet and La Taille aux Loups.
While some people enjoy mutés as an aperitif, their exuberance and rich texture ask really that they be enjoyed at the end of a meal. Others (like us 😊) particularly like them to feature as part of a warming ambiance… possibly in the evening, by the fire. Head for Portugal to hunt for great tawny ports from Quinta da Gaivosa.
Yellow wines, orange wines, rivesaltes…
Oxidative wines at their best, vins jaunes are Jura wines that have never been topped up but have been aged under a veil of yeast for at least six years and three months. On tasting, the energy of the aromas is what assails the nose. A whole anthology of notes including spices (curry, saffron), nuts, stewed apples and dried herbs announce a palate of an extraordinary persistence and promises happy pairings with an old Comté cheese, tagliatelle in walnut sauce or a risotto with morels. The most curious among you will melt for Jean Macle’s 1999 Château-Chalon.
A real trend at the moment, orange wines are also called « white maceration wines ». A name that says a lot about the result. Vinified in much the same way as reds, the grapes give rise to beverages with an accentuated colour and an almost tannic texture. These are gastronomic wines, which go well with characterful dishes. There is no shortage of such cuvées in this sale, but we cannot recommend enough the bottles from Vignoble du Rêveur (run by Matthieu and Jean-Michel Deiss), Fabien Jouves in the South West and Léon Barral in Faugères.
And then, could we put together a selection of sipping wines without including Rivesaltes? These wines, matured in the open air in glass bottles, have stood the test of time without taking on a wrinkle… except by gaining rich aromas of dried and candied fruits, coffee, caramel, cocoa and orange peel. The must? A match with a chocolate fondant.
Mature vintages are always a hit with wine lovers looking for a taste of history. The refined texture and evolved perfume emotional… and promise happy pairings with autumnal dishes. Mushrooms, grilled meat, roasted squash will be a perfect match. So opt for great Bordeaux wines (Haut-Brion, Lafite Rothschild), Burgundies (Leroy SA, Claude Dugat) or Côte-Rôtie wines such as those from Rostaing.
Happy sipping! 😊
See the sipping wines for sale on iDealwine
See all wines for sale on iDealwine