As the cooler autumnal weather kicks in, it is time to switch to richer wines

John Wilson: It is time to move from light, refreshing white wines to something with bolder flavours

Over the past few months, the annual grape harvest has been taking place all over Europe. It is a time of nerves and of celebration as growers and producers wait to see what nature will bring. An unscientific poll of three countries seemed to indicate a difficult growing season finishing with a good crop of healthy grapes.

Over here, we have been enjoying a warm and balmy autumn (punctuated by the odd storm), but there is a definite chill in the morning air now. Leaves have turned and started to drop. As the cooler autumnal weather kicks in, we gravitate to more comforting, warming food, and wines too – both red and white.

We may not yet be ready for the full-on winter stews, but more substantial meals are required. Seasonal ingredients include a bounty of fruit and vegetables. Root vegetables roasted to an earthy sweetness; mushrooms, pumpkins and squash, perfect for soups and sauces but above all, risotto. I begin to hoard chicken stock for mushroom risotto, start to cook richer, meaty pasta dishes, spice-scented curries and white bean and tomato bakes.

It is time to move from light, refreshing white wines to something richer with bolder flavours. Chardonnay, chenin blanc, viognier and godello all offer more texture and body. For red wines, it is time to think of grenache blends from the Rhône, Languedoc and Spain, rich shiraz from Australia and other warming wines. I always associate autumn with pinot noir, and begin to yearn for nebbiolo and other Italian specialities that provide an antidote to the cooling weather.


Chardonnay 2022, Domaine de Castelnau, IGP Pays d’Oc

13.5% abv, €13.75

An unoaked Chardonnay with exotic fruits, rich broad peaches and pineapples. A nice aperitif with creamy sauces or mild rich curries.

From: Wines on the Green, D2

Saint-Véran Terroirs 2022, Domaine Simonin

13.5% abv, €28

Succulent, mouth-filling stone fruits, a hint of toasty hazelnut, and subtle harmonious acidity. Try it with creamy chicken, pork, mushroom dishes or buttery poached salmon.

From: Higgins, D14; Clontarf Wines; Deveney’s, D14; Martins, D3; Leonard’s, Trim

Lidl Ripasso Classico Superiore

13.5% abv, €11.99

Ripe red cherries, soft tannins and gentle spice. Drink it with mushroom, risotto, spaghetti bolognese or meaty pizza.

From: Lidl

Monterustico Dogliani 2022

13.5% abv, €27.99

A dangerously seductive soft fruity wine with damsons and red cherries, a touch of chocolate, and a smooth finish. Perfect with mushroom or pumpkin risotto, or meaty pasta dishes.

From: Grapevine, Dalkey; Corkscrew, D2; Terroirs, D4