Four wonderful wines to fall for this autumn…

Nusrat Ghani

1) White wine choice from a Chilean feng shui winery

Montes Reserva Chardonnay

2020 Montes Reserva Chardonnay, Aconcagua, Chile (£8, Co-op)

Tuck into this ridiculously good value, versatile, curvy, lemon-curd, ripe pineapple, peach and apricot-stashed Chilean chardonnay with cauliflower cheese, chicken risotto, chicken/pork casseroled with mushrooms in a creamy sauce, chowder, fish pie, and duck à l’orange.

Subtle oak ageing – injecting light, refined notes of vanilla, creamy nougat and spice – lends support. Also chill it for a mushroom omelette, pork with cream and prunes, pumpkin risotto/ravioli, roasted butternut squash risotto, roasted sweet potatoes and proper (e.g. Quicke’s) cheddar.

A well-made, highly pleasurable drink. It gets my vote at £8. Waitrose Cellar also sells it, for £9.99. Alc 13.5%


2) A classic standout red from last week’s press tasting at 67 Pall Mall, with a rich and seductive nose

Chateau Le Clos du Notair Cotes de Bourg

2017 Château Le Clos du Notaire, Côtes de Bourg, Bordeaux, France (£10.50, The Wine Society)

Epic price, seamless, savoury, mouth-filling, interesting and unexpected, too – this is a must-buy claret, with pristine fruit, a fine line of acidity and a web of filigreed tannins. Whilst it won’t go anywhere in a hurry, it’s perhaps best consumed youngish. Hello, Christmas ’21!

Do not wait till then, though, as this is sure to sell out within weeks at the country’s principal purveyor of bargain wines – Stevenage’s The Wine Society. Bargain mega-plus from superlative Society Bordeaux buyer Tim Sykes.

Comprising 72% merlot (the rest cabernet franc), this really is absolutely spot on. Goes brilliantly with grouse, roasted/casseroled lamb, steak, a roast rib of beef and roast veal.

Unbeatable value. You have the claret scoop! Alc 14%


3) Bonjour to autumn with a red ‘bargaindy’

Louis Latour Bourgogne Pinot Noir La Chanfleure

2020 Louis Latour Bourgogne Pinot Noir ‘La Chanfleure’, Burgundy, France (£12, Clubcard price, otherwise £15, Tesco)

My kind of regional Burgundian pinot noir (arguably the definitive food wine), made from 25-year-old vines by Maison Louis Latour, with ethereal, magnificent, leafy, earthy, spiced red-cherry, blackberry and strawberry fruit scents and flavours.

The tannins are beautifully tuned, palate-whetting and orchestrated. Boeuf à la gardiane, boeuf bourguignon, game birds, numerous mushroom dishes, roast beef/duck/pheasant/ pumpkin, and even simply prepared meaty fish such as cod (perhaps wrapped in prosciutto), hake, halibut, monkfish and skate would be delicious matches.

Serve around 14-16°C, just a little cooler than full-bodied or tannic reds.

Drinkability in spades! Alc 13%

Did you know/ Le saviez-vous?
‘La Chanfleure’ is an old French name for a ‘tâte-vin’, the tin or glass pipette used by the cellarmen to draw a small quantity of wine from the barrel to taste during vinification.


4) Spice up the nippier evenings with a warming, multi-vineyard Aussie shiraz with pizzazz

Penfolds Bin 8 Shiraz Cabernet

2017 Penfolds Bin 8 Shiraz Cabernet, Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale and Wrattonbully, South Australia (£25.99-£27.78,  Morrisons)

Do you crave richer, full-bodied, ripe and richly-textured autumnal Aussie reds? Pep up your palate with this impeccable, generous American and French oak-aged, dark forest berry, black plum, mulberry and blackcurrant fruit-stashed multi-region, classically Aussie shiraz cabernet blend from superior sites.

As becomes a vivid wine of this quality from Penfolds, the star in Treasury Wine Estates’ crown, the palate is incredibly long, a peacock’s tail unfurling on the finish and aftertaste. There’s a punctuation mark of cigar box and bouquet garni, too.

It’s a main-course, protein-loving red with no lack of fruit or, indeed, complexity, for the cooler days and evenings to come. Just the ticket for anything beefy, including goulash, ribeye/T-bone/tomahawk steaks and game casseroles.

So easy to drink now or in five years. Treat yourself. Alc 14.5%


Follow James on Twitter @QuixoticWine

Autumn Leaf Photo: © Katerina Solovyeva/

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