clock changeThe clocks go back on Sunday. So now it will get dark before the day has properly begun. Which means we now have to turn the light on when admiring the colour of that pre-supper glass of red wine.

sun risingShorter periods of daylight send a signal to our brain to reject the lighter hues of summer and seek out dark reds and browns of winter. So leave the light-green Sauvignon Blancs unopened and pick up a bottle of its red cousin Cabernet Sauvignon instead.

This blood-red coloured wine not only matches the autumn foliage but also the heartier foods we'll be eating once the weather gets cooler.

Aldi RossoPies, pizzas and roast meats all match the blackberry smell and taste of Cabernet Sauvignon wines. This grape variety, though fruity, can be rather one dimensional so winemakers often blend in other grape varieties to add complexity.

Tastes of blackcurrants and aromas of Bovril all add complexity when Shiraz is added and Shiraz-Cabernet Sauvignon wines reach their zenith with South African wine producers. Extra aromas of damp leaves and flavours of burnt toast are made by the hot South African sunshine – the results are robust wines best enjoyed with a large chunk of meat.

For lighter flavours stick to Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot blends. You’ll find this classic twinning in French Bordeaux reds. Expect less Bovril and more cherry and plum flavours.

PG Wine Reviews

Grapevine Spanish Cabernet Sauvignon
£3.79 Aldi
Black cherry flavours with added liquorice and toffee. Simple stuff.

The Scarlet Pimpernel South African Merlot Malbec 2018
£7 Co-op
Plums and violets.

Yellow Tail Australian Cabernet Sauvignon 2018
£7 Tesco
Spicy blackcurrant and mocha.

Prestige du Capitole French Cabernet Sauvignon 2018
£9.99 Laithwaites
A rather unsophisticated offering from the normally reliable Laithwaites. Simple sweet cherry and coconut.

plumsLess wine and more vinegar has been sampled this week as I’ve been sipping samples of hot home-made chutney straight from the boiling pan. After picking several tonnes, (well it seemed like it) of wild damsons and, its near neighbour, wild bullace from the Shropshire hedgerows I needed to find a recipe that would do justice to their flavours. After perusing many recipe books and websites, while finishing off the dregs of a bottle of South African red opened the night before, I finally came across just the recipe I was looking for.

wine labelsChanging the wine label affects not only the opinion of restaurant wine but also the opinion of the food served with it according to an American study.

man on mobileWhen I'm giving a wine talk there will inevitably be questions from the audience keen to understand more about the wine they've just bought. While I don't claim to know all the answers there are a few questions I get asked frequently – which usually starts with “Why do the French spell it Syrah and the Aussies Shiraz?”.