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Have You Got The Bottle?

07 November 2012

An article on red wine, by Iain Andrew of Bon Coeuer Fine Wines

Blink and you may have missed it ….missed what you might ask? SUMMER!! The seasons change, and when they do, so does the wine we drink, unless of course you happen to live in Arizona where your concept of winter is totally non-existent in comparison to what we endure here in the North of England.

With the clocks changing, the leaves turning, a nip in the air and the first bonfire smoke drifting in on the breeze, its time to grab wax jacket, scarf and hat, stride out for a bracing walk in our glorious countryside with the wonderful incentive of returning to a hearty winter casserole or perhaps beef bourguignon, all washed down with a glass or two of a hearty robust red.

Generally wines with warming qualities are either from hotter climates and feature generous ripe flavours, or from grape varieties that are inherently spicy, such as Shiraz.

Shiraz, also known as Syrah when it is found in cooler climates, is one of my favourite red grape varieties. It usually has a gorgeous smoky streak running through it, a dollop of spice, and works brilliantly with roast red meats and steak, and also works wonderfully with duck. Aussie Shiraz is always a good safe bet here.

Bordeaux reds are usually a blend of three different grape varieties, namely Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. This holy trinity creates some of the worlds greatest wines and depending on where in Bordeaux the wine is produced, it will have a different ratio of these grapes. Whether it’s a rich and ripe scented Medoc, or a smooth plumy St Emilion, this region produces rich, warming wines that beg to be imbibed on a frosty winter’s night. More tannic wines, ( generally younger wines ) will work better with food , a big bold stew would be perfect , while older vintages will simply need an open fire and good company.

South America is a world away from Bordeaux both in terms of style and price, however, they are now consistently producing some excellent everyday drinking wines; Cabernet, Merlot and Pinot Noir all prominent grape varieties and firmly established in our mindset and thought selection. One varietal that is slowly emerging and becoming increasingly more popular is Carmenere, Chiles’ very own signature grape. This luscious rich red disappeared from European vineyards in the mid-19th century and reappeared among Chile’s Merlot vines a hundred years later.

Chocked full of dark berried fruits and spice, with a hint of tobacco and dark chocolate that flows smoothly onto a lingering finish, with smooth well-rounded tannins, this is a very pleasing, easy drinking varietal perfect with red meats and stews.

As the author of this current feature, and until Thomas the Editor says otherwise, I couldn’t possibly leave this current feature without a brief note to my own personal indulgence and favourite wine for winter and it comes from Mendoza in Argentina!

Aside from being famous for such icons as Maradona, Eva Peron and corned beef, Argentina is now the fifth largest wine producer in the world today making some seriously good award winning wines with global recognition. Malbec Kaiken Reserva has a wonderfully expressive nose of mature red fruits and chocolate, integrated harmoniously with the subtle oak and is a very approachable velvety wine with excellent structure and abundant, mature silky tannins…the only thing that I could possibly add…..bring on the beef!


Happy quaffing!


Iain Andrew

Bon Coeur Fine Wines

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