It is easy to miss the sublime divinity of Autumn. Amid our busy lives we tend to notice our surroundings only when they make us uncomfortable. Summer and Winter, like overconfident friends, shamelessly attract our consideration with their extreme personalities, while the innately-subtle in between months are insufficient to grasp our attention. Like the quiet, overlooked child in class, Autumn has qualities that far surpass the showiness of Summer and Winter, we just need to slow down a little and allow them to unfold.
I suppose there are scientific principles to explain the increase in clarity and intensity of colours that characterise this time of year. Have you noticed the sky is somehow bluer, and the crispness of the evening air seems to define and outline each leaf and blade of grass? I also love how the gradual decent of the mercury tickles that delightful desire for warm and cosy comforts… a desire for me that is appeased with a long glass of Sangiovese.
Why Sangiovese? Perhaps it is because a little bit of Tuscan warmth rests within each bottle… or simply because the light coloured, savoury varieties with their distinct cherry flavours and dusty notes are just what Autumn needs! Whatever the reason, I can’t go past Pizzini from the King Valley at the moment. It is truly alluring, as is my latest weakness – La Prova, raised and bottled in the Adelaide hills by the wonderful Sam Scott. Delicious!
Another compliment to Autumn is the often overlooked Grenache, or Garnacha as it’s referred to in Spain. Placing two shy unnoticed individuals together often brings out the extroverts within, and such is definitely the case with Autumn and Grenache. I don’t mean the boiled candy Grenache that may have come to mind, but rather the rich, spicy, savoury and fruity varieties that radiate excitement and well, make me smile. Grenache from the McLaren Vale region in South Australia and Evodia and Honoro Vera from Spain, are currently earning my biggest smiles.
Mencia is another red that is keeping me good company this Autumn; always ready to satisfy that desire for a little warmth and comfort. Like Grenache, Mencia offers a fragrant richness and a spicy, but delicate fragrance that I like to describe as ‘pretty’. DE J Palacios Petalos Mencia with its black cherry and currant hues and Castro Ventosa El Castro de Valtuille Mencia Joven, both from the cool climates of Bierzo are my Autumn favourites this year.
Now for those of you that are keen to embrace Autumn, but prefer a white, I would recommend a full bodied, creamy Chardonnay. Mr Barval from Margaret River is a rich, textural, full bodied… wine, and I am truly in love with it! The Maverik Twins from the Eden Valley region of South Australia have also won my affection with their buttery richness. The depth of these bottles could almost be described as doughy. They make me think of ANZAC biscuits or brioche, full and satisfying – just what I need on a cool Autumn evening.
You have now been formally introduced to my recent companions; the dear friends I can trust to keep me company as I appreciate the fleeting beauties of Autumn. When you pay a visit to La Vigna you may recognise them, standing quietly, but always ready to make new friends.