As the days begin to shorten, temperatures dip and the slow cookers see the light of day again, it’s time to reset our bearings on what to drink.
We start moving away from the light, crisp whites and delicate reds towards wines with a little more body and weight to match the foods we are eating.
Next week, we will look at reds, but today we will cover the whites.
There are a couple of different ways you can go when switching from crisp lively whites of summer to more suitable autumn options.
The first is to take your favourite summer whites and change where they are grown or how they are made.
One of the principal reasons a variety like Riesling, Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc is so crisp and lively is that it is grown in a cool climate; either high in altitude or a long way north/south from the equator.
These varieties are well suited to these areas and tend to struggle in much warmer climates, so the use of winemaking techniques/choices will play most of the role in giving these wines more weight and textural elements. Take for example Sauvignon Blanc, typically fruity, light and crisp with quite high acidity.
If we pair it with Semillon to provide some structure and depth, and then leave it on lees in oak for an extended period of time, suddenly we have a wine that is richer, fuller-bodied, and has more dimensions to it.
The 2017 Sorrenberg Sauvignon Blanc-Semillon ($37) is an exceptional example.
It has a fine minerally line of acid, on top of that lies riper Sauvignon flavours of tropical fruits along with juicy citrus.
There is subtle spice and a slightly creamy mid palate. All of this in a seamless soft feel as you drink it.
For two varieties that are known for their crisp, lively summer drinking, this is a world away and worth sitting down with over a few hours to watch it evolve.
The other option is to shift focus to whites that are naturally fuller-bodied and slightly higher in alcohol.
Many of these varieties are yet to really take hold in Australia such as Roussane, Marsanne, Viognier, Fiano and Vermentino.
Viognier is a variety that we have a long history of producing in Australia despite its lack of wide spread popularity.
Yalumba has championed the variety for decades and done an exceptional job of producing wines that show varietal character from the florals that you might recognise in Riesling or even Moscato, to the spice you might have seen in Pinot Gris and the stone fruits that may have popped up in a Chardonnay or two over the years; it’s all bundled up in a luscious framework that is rich and silky. It is a bit of a tightrope to walk as it can lose its acidity and become broad and flabby easily, but from Yalumba’s Eden Valley ($23) example to their flagship Virgilius ($40) you can get a good grasp on the grape and see how the step up in weight and flavour can suit the changing season.