Looking for the best autumnal wine? Want to know which wine to pair with your favourite comfort food? Read on for the finest bottles available, then check out the best supermarket red wines to buy.
Long, dark nights and chilly weather make us all crave comfort, and if we can match our favourite food with a wine we know we love, so much the better.
Robust, meaty dishes cry out for full-bodied reds, whether it’s an Argentinian malbec with steak and chips, or a classic rioja with cottage pie or a chorizo stew. If you prefer something lighter, such as pinot noir or gamay, sausage and mash or mushroom risotto make very friendly partners, as do earthy veggie dishes, especially if they contain lentils. Medium-bodied Italian reds – chianti, montepulciano d’Abruzzo or perhaps something punchy from Puglia – are no-brainers with pizza.
Think less about the main ingredients and more about the way they’re cooked when you’re pairing wine with food. Fish when it’s simply grilled, or cooked en papillote in the oven, will suit a bright and zesty white such as sauvignon blanc or albariño, but if you put it in a creamy fish pie or a buttery sauce, a lightly oaked chardonnay or South African chenin blanc will make a much better companion. Both also go brilliantly with roast chicken, and are my go-to match with macaroni cheese.
Hot and spicy food is more of a challenge with wine – chilli can clash horribly with tannin and oak in reds, while it strips out all the flavour in delicate whites. I like unoaked, peppery reds such as syrah (or shiraz as it’s also known) with most tomato-based curries, while fruity rosés and off-dry whites (try riesling, torrontés or gewürztraminer) are lovely with chicken tikka masala or a Thai curry, and anything flavoured with coconut, lemongrass, lime and ginger.
Dessert wines to look for include sauternes, sweet tokaji or other late-harvest whites to go with fruity tarts and crumbles, especially if they’re served with custard or cream; they’re also super to sip alongside blue cheese, almond-flavoured biscuits or a slice of afternoon cake. I’ve recently discovered how good chocolate is with Japanese umeshu plum wine, but it also goes very well with tawny port or a little tot of rum.
More like this
Five autumn pairing wines to try
A cracking sauv blanc from Germany, fresh and grassy with elderflower and gooseberry fruit. Fantastic with roast scallops, or try it with celeriac shawarma.
Clairet is the name for Bordeaux’s deeply coloured rosés, which suit winter better than their pale cousins from Provence. This is great with grilled vegetable dishes, and is surprisingly good with an Indian takeaway.
Top-notch pinot noir from New Zealand for a special occasion. Delicate and herbaceous with crunchy red fruit and some woody spice – the pork belly with beans and pistou would be lovely with it.
Off-dry blend of muscat and gewürztraminer, aromatic with scents of lychees and roses, this sits really well with Southeast Asian dishes. Try it with this sprout som tam.