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Tag Archives: Champagne

  • Impress with these Five Sparkling Wines

    There are so many sparkling wines to choose from and with New Year's Eve just around the corner, you may be wondering which you should serve.

    If you are looking to impress your guests, here are five wines we suggest to WOW your friends and family. From a real showstopper to New World favourites to French Cremant, you can't go wrong with this selection.

    Make sure to place your order by midday on Thursday, 27 December 2018 for pre-New Year's Eve orders.

     


     

    Louis Roederer

    Louis Roederer Cristal 2008
    £240.00

    A bottle and presentation box of Louis Roederer Cristal 2008

    For something really lavish! A real showstopping wine!

    Wine Enthusiast 100/100 - A Perfect Score

    This highly anticipated 2008 vintage is a highlight of recent years. A beautifully structured blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier showcasing toasted almonds, hints of vanilla and cinammon and luxurious biscuit.

    Leconfield Wines

    Australia has long been proud of its sparkling red wines. Leconfield is a top producer that bases its wine production on a simple philosophy: great wines are crafted from great vineyards.

    Leconfield Syn Rouge Sparkling Shiraz NV
    £14.99

    A bottle of Leconfield Syn Rouge

    Vibrant and refreshing, the Shiraz shows off raspberry and fruit notes along with a pleasant spiciness. Served chilled and ideal with spicy food.

    Leconfield Syn Cuvee Blanc NV
    £14.99

    A bottle of Leconfield Syn White

    Quality traditional method sparkling wine from Australia. Fine balanced mousse and firm body.

    Haute Cabriere

    Pierre Jourdan Brut BV
    £13.99

    A bottle of Pierre Jourdan Brut by Haute Cabriere

    Pierre Jourdan Brut by Haute Cabriere is our best selling MCC. A perfect alternative to Champagne, it is more fruit-driven in style and more supple than Champagne.
    Buy 12 for £12.49 each and save 11%.

    A superb price for a Methode Cap Classique wine. This 40/60 Pinot Noir/Chardonnay blend shows apple and lime crispness from the Chardonnay and depth with a hint of berry from Pinot Noir. The wine is produced using the traditional double fermentation method as utilised in Champagne to create wonderfully fine bubbles and mousse.

    Langlois-Chateau

    Langlois-Chateau Cremant de Loire Brut NV
    £15.99

    A bottle of Langlois Chateau Cremant de Loire NV

    An excellent French sparkling wine from a Bollinger-owned estate. You can't go wrong with this wine!

    A blend of Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay and Cabernet Franc. A light lemon colour with delicate bubbles. Quince and peaches on the nose with grapefruit and peach on the palate. Just a hint of honey.

    Last orders for Pre-New Years Eve delivery 12pm on 27 December 2018

  • Christmas Wine Pairing

    Which wines will you be serving?

    We spend a lot of time preparing for Christmas lunch or dinner. Here are some Christmas wine pairing suggestions for the Christmas celebrations to save you time wondering which wines to serve.


     

    Aperitif

    Pol Roger Brut Champagne NV
    £39.00

    A bottle of Pol Roger Champagne

    Champagne or Sparkling Wine is a very accommodating wine and can be served as an aperitif or with any course of your menu.

    The Brut Réserve is a blend in equal parts of the three champenois grape varieties: Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay. Served at Prince William and Prince Harry's weddings, Pol Roger is very reasonably priced at £39 per bottle. Available in a gift box.


     

    Turkey

    GlenWood Grand Duc Chardonnay 2015
    £40.00

    A bottle of GlenWood Grand Duc Chardonnay 2015

    Beautifully crafted with pure and precise flavours of yellow stone fruit, dried mango, nuts and vanilla. A crisp elegant structure with a long lingering soft finish. Full oaking but integrated perfectly.


     

    Gammon

    Larry Cherubino Ad Hoc Cruel Mistress Pinot Noir 2016
    £17.99

    A bottle of Larry Cherubino Ad Hoc Cruel Mistress Pinot Noir 2016

    A light Pinot with sweet clove and black cherry aromas. Sweet spice, smoky, leather and black plum flavours on the palate, all beautifully balanced.


     

    Fish

    Orange River Chenin Blanc 2018
    £7.49

    orange_chenin_web

    A pale yellow hue with a subtle green tinge. Dry white offering delicious flavours of pear, litchi and guava. Very easy drinking and smooth.


     

    Dessert

    Chateau Filhot Grand Cru Classe Sauternes 2009 (375ml)
    £23.50

    A bottle of Chateau Filhot Grand Cru Classe Sauternes 2009

    A luxurious Sauternes from Bordeaux with a silky mouthfeel, slightly sticky, apricots and peaches, lychee and hints of eucalyptus.


     

    Mixed case

    Luxury Christmas Selection (6 bottles)
    £245.00

    A half case of luxury Christmas wines

    Six bottles are included in this luxury selection of Christmas wines:
    Pol Roger Brut Champagne NV
    Giles Morat Sur La Roche Pouilly Fuisse 2016
    Glenwood Grand Duc Chardonnay 2015
    Robert Mondavi Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 2013
    Caro Baron de Rothschild 2014
    Chateau Filhot Grand Cru Classe Sauternes 2009 (375ml)


     

    If you want to select only one or two wines for your Christmas celebration, we recommend a Pinot Noir and a Sparkling wine. Overall, Pinot Noir pairs well with most light and dark meats and a variety of dishes. And of course, who can enjoy a celebratory meal without Sparkling wine!

  • Win a Case of South African Sparkling Wines

    To celebrate summer, we are giving away a selection of some of the best sparkling wines South Africa has to offer!

    All six bottles are produced using the Methode Cap Classique process used in producing Champagne. The result is top quality Sparkling Wines with a fine mousse and lots of flavour.

    Enter by clicking here.

     


     

    The six bottle mixed case includes:

    - Pierre Jourdan Brut
    - Klein Constantia Brut
    - Le Lude Brut
    - Lanzerac Blanc de Blancs
    - Pierre Jourdan Belle Rose
    - Stony Brook Bailey Rose

    Enter our South African Sparkling Wine Competition now to stand a chance to win this case of excellent SA Sparkling Wines!

    Click here to enter online.

    If you can't wait for the competition to end, you can purchase your own case here for a discounted price of £100!


     

    Competition is open to UK residents only. You must be over 18 to enter. No purchase necessary. Competition closes 31 August 2018. See full Terms and Conditions when you enter.

  • Le Lude Part 1: Where Mathematics & Mystique Meet

    Paul Gerber, winemaker at Le Lude, was teaching mathematics when he got married. “Within a few months of getting married, I convinced my wife to let me go and study oenology at Stellenbosch.”

    When he finished, he specialised in bottle-fermented sparkling wine and worked in Northern Italy, Champagne in France and Germany. On his return to South Africa he did an internship at Graham Beck. This is where he met Nic and Ferda Barrows in 2011.

    The Barrows bought a property in Franschhoek, and they had a very specific vision of creating a specialist Methode Cap Classique cellar. They offered Paul a job and the rest is history.

    Le Lude is a real family affair. The interiors are done by Ferda and the Barrow’s one daughter, Olga, an interior designer. Their other daughter, Nicolene, trained as a chef in Europe and worked in London at La Gavroche for two years before returning and opening Orangerie, the restaurant at Le Lude.

    The Le Lude Approach

    Paul takes a traditional approach to making sparkling wine and uses all the traditional cultivars, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier.  He says, “I don’t see Champagne or for that matter Cap Classique that comes from various areas losing terroir identity. It’s everything but: each component brings something specific to the blend and therein maintaining terroir. The bigger definition of terroir encompasses the philosophy from the region, from the winemaking family and that’s all so much more than just a piece of soil. I think terroir is much deeper than just the soil and we need to see it as this more complex matrix, together.”

    “For me the characteristics in Champagne and bottle-fermented sparkling wine are the length of the wine, the texture on the palate, the finesse and the elegance of the wine. It’s not a big wine. White wines, red wines, they’re the extroverts of the wine world. They give you a lot, whereas Champagne, there’s a bit of mystique there. The nose gives you complexity, but it’s not an exuberant aroma. And the same on the palate. It should start softly and build and that complexity is built with many fine layers. Almost like little pieces of rice paper, that together make something big and full but on their own as they lift up they pull away easily. That is how we see this style of wine.”

    A photo of the view of Franschhoek and vineyards from Le Lude

    Paul told us about how his background in mathematics has influenced his approach to producing Le Lude’s wines. “Cap Classique is a process driven wine and in some way mathematics is process driven. It’s about solving problems, having a systematic approach to doing that. These wines love that. It’s not just about ticking the boxes, it’s about ticking the little boxes in between those boxes. Every decision you make in the vineyard, every decision in the winery has an impact on the bubble that’s going to rise in the glass one day. If you keep that in mind, it means that you look at the wine completely differently when going through the process.”

    When asked about the difference between Champagne and South African MCC, Paul said, “With South African Cap Classique, you should taste the ripeness and fullness. This gives the wine texture and persistence but at the same time it remains elegant with finesse.”

    “Pieter Ferreira of Graham Beck says you can taste the sun in the fruit. You taste the ripeness in the Pinot Noir and the Chardonnay in South African grapes but you still want the finesse of the wine. That’s the characteristics that we see as important for Champagne: finesse, elegance, length. And we want to have all of those ripe fruit characters because that’s our terroir. In Champagne you’re going to have fresh lemon, lime, fresh zesty character. Here you’re going to have a little bit more lemon meringue, or creamy lemon tart. So you are still going to have that ripe, rich flavour, but it’s just that little bit riper.”

    Non-vintage Wines

    Le Lude Brut NV

    A bottle of Le Lude Brut

    The Brut is a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The idea behind the Brut is to highlight the character of the Chardonnay. A little Pinot Noir is added to give a bit of width and density to the palate.

    Tasting notes: elegant citrus blossoms with fresh lime aromas and secondary aromas of nougat, roasted nuts and hints of proving dough. Bright, fresh and elegant palate entry. Aromas of grapefruit, ripe lemon and pear forms a structured mid-palate. The mousse shows finesse and texture with a restrained presence. Length develops delicately on the palate with fine tertiary aromas of caramelised honey, vanilla and dried fig.

    Le Lude Rose NV

    A bottle of Le Lude Rose

    The Brut Rose is to display the character of the Pinot Noir. Paul uses a little Chardonnay in the blend for brightness. The Rose is bigger, fuller, softer and a little more robust than the Brut. It is drier than normal Cap Classique rose but it has a lot of strawberries and cream and raspberry notes on the wine without the weight.

    Tasting notes: ripe cherries, red lollipop and raspberry aromas provide a delicate profile to the wine. These are followed by some hints of grapefruit and wild rose. The palate opens with a voluptuous texture supported by elegant acidity. Initially fresh red berries, wild plum and spice. The length and richness of the palate develops a complexity with raspberry compote and hints of blueberries and aniseed.

    Vintage wines

    Le Lude’s first vintage wines were blended in 2012. All vintage wines are the premium selection of the tanks and from the outset the idea was to mature them for at least five years.

    “The agreement has always been the wines are ready to drink today but must show the potential to age. When we blend, we focus on that because I want to be able to sell you a bottle of non-vintage brut and tell you, you can drink this in three years’ time,” said Paul.

    “The vintage wines have been matured but taste pristine so we know we can say for at least the next five years this wine going to mature beautifully. So then you have a wine that’s ten or twelve years old.”

    Le Lude’s first Blanc de Blanc was harvested in 2015. It took three years and nearly four harvests before Paul decided which blocks to use. “This will become Le Lude’s flagship wine and the benchmark for everything we do at Le Lude. But it’s only for release in 2022.”

    Pairing Le Lude Wines

    Sparkling wine is very versatile when paired with food and Le Lude’s wines are no different.

    Paul told us, “Now that we have the vintage wines, we are going to start doing wine dinners. We have seven wines now that you can serve right throughout the dinner; so six courses plus aperitif. This will be a unique experience to show different styles and how they work with different foods yet are not completely dominated.”

    A Photo of pink roses at Le Lude

    The future

    Sparkling wine is becoming very popular due its versatility and often times more affordable alternatives to Champagne such as MCC.

    “The fact that people are drinking a lot more bottle-fermented sparkling wine is fantastic. It’s good for business but it means all of us need to improve our game, improve the quality that we’re producing. It’s the one thing at Le Lude we keep questioning: how can we do something better? What can create a better experience for our guests?” said Paul.

    “And you don’t want to say at any point to yourself, this is good. I think the day that you say that about your own wine, it’s dangerous. I like the idea of thinking there’s always something that I can improve.”


    Keep an eye on our blog, and look out for Le Lude - Part 2 where you will learn more about the beautiful Le Lude, their wonderful restaurant Orangerie, and Lily Pond House, the perfect getaway to include in your next trip to Franschhoek.

     

  • In Celebration of Champagne

    February, the month of romance and love, is in full swing. Valentine’s Day, chocolate and Champagne have been featured everywhere this month.

    In the world of wine however, Champagne is only one type of sparkling wine. It’s probably the best known but definitely not the only one. But great Champagne is most often less than affordable. There are however, many affordable options from all around the world that will certainly leave your pocket feeling less strained but still are of good quality!

    Much of the bubbly from outside of Champagne is produced using the same methods and often with the same grape varietals.

    Here are some tips to help you navigate the world of bubbles.

    Tip 1: French Champagne-style Alternatives

    Champagne is not the only region of France producing great bubbly. France has a total of 23 other wine regions producing fabulous sparkling wines such as Crémant d'Alsace, Crémant de Bordeaux, Crémant de Bourgogne, Anjou mousseux AOC and Blanquette de Limoux AOC.

    Tip 2: International Champagne-style Alternatives

    Keep your eyes open for international alternatives. Here is a list of names of non-French wines made using the same traditional methods used to create Champagne around the world:

    - South Africa: Methode Cap Classique

    - Spain: Cava or Espumoso

    - Portugal and Argentina: Espumante

    - Italy: Metodo Classico

    - Germany and Austria: Sekt

    - USA, Australia, etc: Traditional Method or Méthode Champenoise

    There are other sparkling wines such as Prosecco, but this is not made using the same method as Champagne.

    Tip 3: Serve your bubbly at the right temperature

    All sparkling wines should be served between 6 and 8°C. Anything warmer could cause the wine to lose flavour and bubbles too quickly.

    Tip 4: How to open the bottle correctly

    To avoid unnecessary wastage or an F1-style shower, opening the bottle of bubbly correctly is essential. Whilst some, like Takuan von Arnim, Cellar Master at Haute Cabriere are masters in the art of sabrage (opening the bottle using a sabre!), most of us need to use more simple methods to extract a cork!

    A photo of Takuan von Arnim, Cellar Master at Haute Cabriere doing sabotage

    To avoid injury to yourself and your guests, it is necessary to control the release of the cork. There are two ways to do this. The first involves grasping the cork firmly and twisting the bottle slowly. The cork travel upwards as the bottle twists, but you still retain a good deal of control when the cork separates from the bottle. The second method involves loosening the wire cap but not removing it entirely. This aids in keeping additional control.

    Both methods, as long as they are done slowly and with control, will ensure that bubbles are preserved.

    Tip 5: Pouring and serving sparkling wines to preserve bubbles

    In order to maintain effervescence, bubbly should be served in a long flute. It is also very importance to trickle the wine down the side of the glass while tilting at an angle. This ensures more carbon dioxide remains in the wine, enhancing the taste and mouth-feel of the wine.

    Tip 6: Pairing bubbly with food

    The best thing about bubbly is that it is so very versatile. It is no longer primarily a celebratory drink. It can be enjoyed with many different meals. Some ideas include:

    - Brie and other creamy cheeses

    - Salami and prosciutto

    - Seafood such as shellfish, smoked salmon, caviar and calamari.

    - Duck or beef

    - Fruit-based desserts such as tarts and crepes

    - Buttered popcorn

    - Pizza

    Hard To Find Wines stocks a wide range of bubbly. Take a look at our website and make a selection for your next celebration!

    Next week we will take a look at Le Lude, an exquisite Methode Cap Classique producer from Franschhoek in South Africa.

  • Christmas is Coming

    Are you wondering which wines you should serve with your Christmas meal? Hard To Find Wines is here to help you with a wide selection of wines perfect for Christmas celebrations. 

    Mark Davies has specifically picked the wines listed below as the perfect Christmas selection. The list includes sparkling wine, red wines, white wines and fortified wine.

    Sparkling Wine for Christmas

    Langlois Chateau Cremant de Loire Brut NV
    Loire, France - £14.49

    A bottle of Langlois Chateau Cremant de Loire Brut NV

    A light lemon colour with delicate bubbles. Quince and peaches on the nose with grapefruit and peach on the palate. Just a hint of honey. A blend of 60% Chenin Blanc, 20% Chardonnay and 20% Cabernet Franc.

    White Wines for Christmas

    Haute Cabriere Chardonnay Pinot Noir 2016
    Franschhoek, South Africa - from £9.99

    A bottle of Haute Cabriere's Chardonnay Pinot Noir

    Pioneer of this genre with it's 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir blend. Just a hint of a sweetish impression thanks to ripe fruit and smooth richness from extended lees-ageing. Still soft and supple and incredibly easy drinking.

    Bladen Little Angel Sauvignon Blanc 2016
    Marlborough, New Zealand - £12.99

    littleang-sb16-web2

    Zingy tropical fruit flavours with a long finish. Fresh scented gooseberry nose with hints of lemon zest. Medium bodied and not overpowering, lively acidity and fresh fruit flavours.

    Red Wines for Christmas

    GlenWood Chardonnay Vigneron's Selection 2015
    Franschhoek, South Africa - £18.99

    glen_vs_ch_web

    Barrel fermented with wild yeast, 12 months in new French oak barrels. Gentle oaked nose leading to a creamy buttery palate. Almonds and vanilla with a smoky peach and citrus finish.

    Vinedos Real Rubio Rioja Crianza 2014
    Rioja, Spain - £12.99

    A bottle of Real Rubio Rioja

    Classic Rioja Crianza from the boutique bodega of Real Rubio. Aged in oak barrels for 18 months, this wine is leagues above supermarket Riojas. Brambly dark red fruits are coupled with subtle oak flavours of cigar box. Drinking now but will still improve in the bottle for the next few years.

    Te Hera Kiritea Pinot Noir 2012
    Martinborough, New Zealand - £12.99

    A bottle of Te Hera Kiritea Pinot Noir 2012

    Only a very limited quantity of this premium handcrafted Pinot Noir are produced. With redcurrant and a hint of ripened strawberries and eucalyptus on the nose and vibrant fruit on the palate, this Pinot Noir is followed by layers of dark cherry and tobacco. Fine, elegant and with just enough acidity and tannins to balance against the berry flavours.

    Chateau Musar Hochar Pere et Fils 2013
    Bekaa Valley, Lebanon - £13.99

    A bottle of Chauteau Musar Hochar Pere et Fils

    Rich red berry flavours and dark fruits, layered with an austere vegetal quality synonymous with Musar. Very much old world in style, with restrained flavours and a dignified dryness. Not too heavy, perfect as a stand alone wine or with most meat dishes.

    Fortified Wine for Christmas

    De Krans Cape Ruby NV
    Calitzdorp, South Africa - £11.49

    A bottle of De Krans Cape Ruby NV

    This ruby puts many LBVs to shame. This SA port type wine has a proper port taste with rich flavours of cherries, ripe plum fruit and hints of chocolate and spice.

    Of course, there are many other options on the Hard To Find Wines website to delight any wine enthusiast! So why not pop over to our selection of wines right now and make your Christmas wine selection today!

    Please note that last orders for delivery before Christmas need to be placed by midday on Thursday, 21 December 2017.

  • Thanksgiving Wines

    Harvest celebrations are held the world over, in both religious and secular circles. Probably the most well-known harvest celebrations in Western countries include Thanksgiving Day in Canada and the USA and Harvest Festivals in the UK.

    Thanksgiving in the USA

    Thanksgiving takes place in the USA on the fourth Thursday of November. The festivities that led to modern celebrations in the USA can be traced back to a 1621 harvest celebration at Plymouth in today's Massachusetts and were introduced as a federal holiday by President Roosevelt in 1942.

    Traditional activities include family dinners, parades (such as the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, held annually since 1924), charitable endeavours, religious thanksgiving services, big sporting events (for example, American football and basketball) and the unique event of Turkey Pardoning. Each year, the President of the United States is presented with two live turkeys. At least one of the turkeys, sometimes both, are pardoned from becoming Thanksgiving dinner and taken to a farm to live out the rest of their life.

    The usual foods enjoyed during Thanksgiving include roast turkey, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, gravy, sweet potatoes, corn, autumn vegetables such as pumpkin, and pumpkin pie.

    Thanksgiving in Canada

    Thanksgiving in Canada takes place on the second Monday in October. While no firm evidence exists to confirm the details of the first Canadian Thanksgiving celebration, many believe that is occurred in 1578. The origins can be traced to harvest celebrations of French settlers in the 17th century. Today's celebrations are strongly influenced by elements of US Thanksgiving and by immigrants in the 1700s from Ireland, Scotland and Germany.

    The same foods as those enjoyed in the USA, such as turkey, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie, are served. Other foods, such as baked ham and apple pie are common, as well as salmon and wild game.

    Harvest Festivals in the United Kingdom

    Fruit and vegetables on a table with a cornucopia

    While the traditional Harvest Festival of Thanksgiving had no official date in the United Kingdom, it was traditionally held on the Sunday nearest the harvest moon occurring closest to autumn equinox. Harvest Thanksgiving in Britain has pagan roots but is now often seen as a Christian festival, celebrated by churches and schools in late September or early October.

    The festival is celebrated with singing, praying and giving thanks for the harvest. Collections of food take place which are then donated to charities to help those in need.

    Wine pairings with Thanksgiving meals

    Whilst Harvest Festivals do not traditionally involve meals like their cousins across the pond, more and more people are celebrating Thanksgiving in the UK, be they US or Canadian expats or others who enjoy the idea behind Thanksgiving.

    So, we've had a look at which wines you should consider serving at any upcoming Thanksgiving festivities you may have planned. While traditionally, Zinfandel and Beaujolais Nouveau have been wines served with US Thanksgiving meals, here are a few alternatives to consider:

    Aperitif - Rosé or Blanc de Noirs Champagne

    Perfect as a pre-Thanksgiving aperitif, Rosé or Blanc de Noirs Sparkling wines are bold enough to pair with a main course as well.

    Our recommendation: Lanzerac MCC Blanc de Blancs NV - £19.99

    Turkey - Pinot Noir

    Pinot Noir works well with white and dark turkey meat, cranberry sauce and creamy dishes such as mashed potatoes.

    Our recommendation: Porters Pinot Noir 2006 - £39.99

    Ham - Amarone della Valpolicella

    If ham is featuring as your main dish this year, Amarone's rich cherry and chocolately flavours will complement the sweetness of the ham. A moderate acidity acts to cleanse the palate which is ideal when serving rich meats and gravy.

    Our recommendation: Zenato Amarone Classico Della Valpolicella Doc 2011 - £48.00

    Venison - Shiraz

    Shiraz pairs well with venison due to it's spicy, gamier flavours, particularly if the venison is served in a casserole. Another good choice would be a Pinot Noir.

    Our recommendation: Kilikanoon Killerman's Run Shiraz 2014 - £13.99

    Tofu - Sauvignon Blanc

    Tofu has no significant flavour of its own, so pairing will mainly be down to how the tofu is served, prepared or its accompaniments. One tofu dish often served as a vegetarian option to replace turkey is tofurky. It is often very salty, so a Sauvignon Blanc with a crisp acidity will do well. Otherwise, if uncertain, another good option would be a Pinot Noir or a Sparkling wine.

    Our recommendation: Groot Constantia Sauvignon Blanc 2016 - £12.79

    In short

    If you want to select only one or two wines for your Thanksgiving celebration, we recommend a Pinot Noir and a Sparkling wine. Overall, Pinot Noir pairs well with most light and dark meats and a variety of dishes. And of course, who can enjoy a celebratory meal without Sparkling wine!

    A caution for vegans

    Not all wines are vegan. Whilst at first it may seem that being made from grapes and yeast, wines should be vegan, there is a winemaking process involved that introduces non-vegan elements. The process is called fining and is used to clarify wine. When selecting wines, choose those that are unfined and unfiltered. That way you can be sure that no animal products were used in the production of the wine.

  • Autumn Wines for Autumn Times

    The weather in the UK is turning chilly, nights are getting longer and with the first light fall of snow hitting Scotland just this past weekend, we are most definitely in the midst of autumn. While the harvest festivals and bonfire night let us know that we are nearly in winter, we are not quite there yet. So sometimes when it comes to wine, we can feel a bit uncertain as to which wines are the best options for these cooler, but not yet deep-of-winter, evenings and the various autumn celebrations.

    While you could drink any wine you personally prefer at any time of the year, if you want to pair your wines with seasonal produce and seasonally inspired dishes, then picking wines that suit the season would be a good idea.

    Naturally, in spring and summer, we tend to drink more rosés and whites, particularly the lighter, aromatic and crisp wines that compliment the warmer weather. But which wines are autumn wines?

    Red wines

    Red wine choices for autumn include light- and medium-bodied reds such as Merlot, Rioja and Pinot Noir, which pair very well with slightly heavier food that we tend to prefer in Autumn. Pair a Merlot or Rioja with a beef stew, shepherds pie or a lasagne. Pinot Noir is a versatile wine, pairing well with most meats, mushroom risotto and beef wellington.

    Hard To Find Wines has a wide selection of light- and medium-bodied reds to choose from for your autumn wines. Here are a few you might want to consider.

    Muratie Merlot 2006

    muratie_merlot

    Deep intense ruby red to inky black. A combination of plums and chocolate come to the fore followed by blackcurrants and dark chocolate on the palate. The full intense assortment of flavours provides a feast for the palate. The wine has lots of body, yet subtle with well integrated oak giving it a lasting finish.

    Vinedos Real Rubio Rioja Crianza 2011

    A bottle of Vinedos Real Rubio Rioja Crianza 2011

    The graciano grape combined with the classic tempranillo produces a wine with lively colours and solid acidity. On the nose, the French cask mingles with the red berries and vanilla. Potent in the mouth, long on the palate with pleasant, ripe tannin which completes the harmony of the wine.

    Te Hera Kiritea Pinot Noir 2012

    A bottle of Te Hera Kiritea Pinot Noir 2012

    A handcrafted Pinot Noir from Te Hera located in the Martinborough region of New Zealand. Only a very limited quantity of this premium Pinot Noir are produced. With redcurrant and a hint of ripened strawberries and eucalyptus on the nose and vibrant fruit on the palate, this Pinot Noir is followed by layers of dark cherry and tobacco. Fine, elegant and with just enough acidity and tannins to balance against the berry flavours.

    Other good autumnal reds include softer red blends and cabernet franc.

    White wines

    Oaked Chardonnay is an excellent white wine choice for autumn and it pairs really well with butternut ravioli, roast chicken and dishes with rich, creamy sauces. Another great white autumn wine is Viognier. Viognier may be full-bodied like Chardonnay but it has distinctly different aromas and tastes and it pairs with Moroccan food, root vegetables and pork with a fruity sauce.

    Hard To Find Wines' selection of autumnal whites include the following:

    GlenWood Chardonnay Vigneron's Selection 2015

    A bottle of GlenWood Vigneron's Selection Chardonnay 2015

    Produced from top quality 26-year-old vines and expertly barrel oaked to obtain a winderfully rich and creamy wooded wine, this GlenWood Chardonnay is barrel fermented with wild yeast for 12 months in new French oak barrels. A gentle oaked nose leading to a creamy, buttery palate and almonds and vanilla with a smoky peach and citrus finish.

    Mellasat Viognier 2014

    A bottle of Mellasat Viognier 2014

    Made using 100% Viognier, the grapes for this wine were picked at optimal ripeness, with the resulting juice barrel fermented and matured for 8 months. The nose undoubtedly shows beautiful floral and orange blossom aromas, with peach and apricot flavours on the palate.

    The four seasons option

    And if you really can't decide between all these options, you can always opt for the most versatile wine that fits all seasons equally well: Champagne and other sparkling wines such as South Africa's Method Cap Classique.

    Here are a couple to tempt you:

    Pierre Jourdan Brut NV

    A bottle of Pierre Jourdan Brut by Haute Cabriere

    This 40/60 Pinot Noir/Chardonnay blend shows apple and lime crispness from the Chardonnay and depth with a hint of berry from Pinot Noir. The wine is produced using the traditional double fermentation method as utilised in Champagne to create wonderfully fine bubbles and mousse.

    Gaston Chiquet Selection Cuvee Champagne NV

    A bottle of Gaston Chiquet Cuvee Champagne NV

    With aromas of fresh apricots and plums on the nose, and fruit, minerality and floral top notes on the palate, this excellent Champagne from vineyards around Dizy is blended 40% Pinot Meunier, 35% Chardonnay and 25% Pinot Noir.

    Of course, there are many other options on the Hard To Find Wines website to delight any wine enthusiast! So why not pop over to our selection of wines right now and make your autumn wines selection today!

  • Haute Cabriere - Part 1: A Taste of History

    The Cellar at Haute Cabriere

    The Cellar at Haute Cabriere

    The Past

    The first thing that becomes apparent when arriving at Haute Cabriere in Franschhoek, South Africa, is the immense weight of history that the wine estate bears, going as far back as 1694. To put that date in perspective, in the UK that year, both the Bank of England and Greenwich Hospital were established and according to legend, the year before in France, Champagne was created for the first time by Dom Pierre Pérignon who it is said infamously declared "Come quickly, I am drinking the stars".

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