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Wines for all Weathers

When I set out to write this, I was planning to talk about big wines for the big freeze of a fortnight ago. Powerful, dark Shiraz. Heady, perfumed Grenache. Zinfandel so warm and boozy that you could set fire to it. Then for a glorious weekend the sun appeared, and as I basked in its warmth I started to think about wines for spring. Fresh, grassy, Sauvignon Blanc, lunchtime Riesling and, of course, the ubiquitous rosé.

Now the barometer that hangs on my kitchen wall has shifted again. The world outside is blustery, bright and busy. A stunning red-chested robin sings its heart out, the grey squirrels chase one another up and about the boughs of a huge oak, a pair of alarmingly large buzzards circle overhead and the dog's behaviour tells me that she can smell the foxes at night.

As living creatures, so much of what we do is inexorably linked to the weather. The way we dress, what we eat, our mood, our health and well-being, our survival. It is nature's law, more persuasive in its ways than any advertisement, copyright, blog, or any other form of gentle persuasion. Our body tells us to put away the hats and gloves, dig out the shorts and reach for the palate-pleasuring pink stuff from Provence.

It makes perfect sense. Wine, or any food or drink that reaches our table as an unrefined product is a vital part of our connection to the natural world and the weather is a huge part of that. However, there are, I believe, wines for all seasons as there are clothes, foods and behaviours. A favourite pair of shoes perhaps, a sporting pursuit, a good book, the sort of things that we will always take pleasure in come rain or shine. Here are some wines that sing all year around, whatever the weather.

Abourne Estate Multi Vintage Cuvee, Sussex, England £22.95

For so long, Champagne dominated the multi-seasonal celebratory drink. Now English sparkling wine is able to stand up and be counted on either a chilly Christmas day or a blistering summer wedding. A blend of vintages seems like a sage concept in a country whose weather is as predictable as a belligerent, Fruit Shoot-laced toddler. This classic blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier marries the zing of fresh citrus fruit with bready, nutty notes from 24 months on the lees. 

The Liberator Francophile Syrah 2019 South Africa £11.95

South Africa is a great place to look for wines of all seasons. The Cinsault, Syrah and Grenache based reds can offer the kind of vibrant red berry fruit that could make for a fine match for a summer barbecue but also pack enough punch to provide a warm hug on a winters evening. With a nod to the wines of the northern Rhone, this young vine Syrah from The Liberator shines with red and black berry fruit plus a touch of violet on the finish.

Domaine Sallet Macon-Uchizy, Burgundy £16.95

Crisp and fresh with pear and apple fruit, plus a touch of honeysuckle folled by ripe citrus notes on the finish.  The wines of Macon are so versatile.  Fresh, vibrant, unpretentious, or they can be more serious, oaked with richness and depth of fruit.  I could drink this in the midwinter by the wood burner, with a plate of smoked salmon, or just as happily on a Spring day in the sunshine.



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