The view from the window, the steel grey colour of the sky, the significant drop in temperature – summer has entered it’s dog days.
The colder mornings, cooler surf sessions and the loss of my beloved flip flops provide scant succour for summer lovers like Danny Zuko and I – we see the deadhead sticker on the Cadillac. But wait, the wines of autumn are here. I’ve got the top rolled back and the Wayfarers (with scarf, gloves and hat) on. Grab the corkscrew Danny, fire up the engine, its time for some red wine!
Il Monello (the kid) is from the famous estate of Braida in Piedmont, and a little gem of a wine. 100% Barbera, aged for 12 months in French oak. Bright, cherry red in colour with a nose packed with smoke, liquorice and herbal scrub. Spicy and earthy with powerful, dark fruit on the mid-palate, balanced with chary, toasty oak and a tight acidic bite on the finish.
Poliziano’s, Rosso di Montalcino is a scrumptious blend of Sangiovese and Merlot (20%). Its not downgraded Vino Nobile, but a specific selection in its own right. Packed with cherries, berries and damsons, its crunchy, herby characteristics superbly complement the season. It just needs some simple food – the delicate balance of fruit, tannin and acidity making it a great lunchtime wine.
Barbi’s Morrellino di Scansano is softer still, Sangiovese and Merlot again, but with a more open structure than the Montalcino. Similar notes of herbs, tobacco and cherries on the nose, the palate is light, ripely tannic, and balanced with a fresh, nervy acidity which makes it a great partner for fish (yes, fish) dishes like Brodetto Alla Ravennate and Zuppa Di Cozze.
Mazzei’s Ser Lapo is a magnificent Chianti Classico Riserva, and a wine for those colder autumn evenings. Bigger and more muscular than the others, with a rich, elegant, yet forceful character. This is a complex wine, so keep the food simple again – a good Bistecca Alla Fiorentina is an ideal accompaniment.