Autumn is making itself felt at the table and in the glass.
The fresh produce and ingredients of the season are beckoning; the cooking goes into a higher gear and the cooler evenings bring with them an appetite for hearty, flavoursome wines.
On rainy days we might crave uncorking reds but most of the time the weather is still mild or even warm, leaving us wanting white wines.
Though, whereas summer’s bottles are meant to refresh, autumn’s great whites should comfort us. Gone are the days for light, spritzy wines; instead we long for a mellow, well-rounded glass. Of course, there will still be a sparkler on hand in the refrigerator to serve as a refreshing aperitif. But most of the space is now taken up by broader white wines that need to be drunk cool rather than cold.
Autumn whites do not need to be oaky but a subtle touch of vanilla and a hint of white pepper from time in barrel starts to feel more appropriate now.
If you like this wine style as much as I do, why not treat yourself to Delicata’s flagship Gran Cavalier Chardonnay DOK Malta? The spice coming from fermenting in barrique flows nicely into the ripe nectarine fruit flavours and a lingering slightly toasty end.
With some bottle age it will develop into a broad wine that tastes creamy and buttery − it’s Malta’s alternative to Chardonnay from Burgundy (at half the price or less!).
Autumn is indeed a good time to appreciate the more complex relishes found in older bottles. While we enjoy young, easy sippers in summer, whites for autumn drinking can be cellar-aged.
So, if you have stashed away previous vintages you’re in luck. If not, now is the time to buy your cache of the generously proportioned 2018 Gran Cavalier Chardonnay for autumns yet to come. I expect Delicata’s great superior white to age gracefully for at least three to five years, unless you cannot resist uncorking it sooner.
It’s the perfect accompaniment to classic autumnal roasts (served with apple sauce that goes so well with the wine’s honeyed flavour) and casseroles of game birds and chicken, or vegetarian mains made from courgettes, parsnips or squashes, and richer salmon or smoked-fish dishes.
Viognier is another fabulous grape for this time of year and a great choice that is weightier than most summer whites.
The Delicata winery is a believer in the potential of Malta-grown Viognier and majors in an unoaked, dry mono-varietal in the premium Grand Vin de Hauteville DOK Malta range.
This dry white has good heft and tastes smooth and opulent, balanced with jovial fruit flavours of apricot and peach, with a hint of ripe citrus zest, too. While it’s rich and comforting, the finish of Delicata’s unwooded Viognier is as bracing as a fresh October night.
This weightier wine will perfectly accompany substantial root vegetable dishes, savoury pumpkin pie, mushroom risotto, delicate game but also baked rabbit and heartier roast pork belly, firm fish like lampuka or a heartening chicken tajine. Both recommendations are made from hand-picked grapes from selected vineyards in Malta, have that little extra punch and power, and are absolutely suitable for vegans and wine lovers on a gluten-free diet.
Cosy up to these great autumnal whites now before the quicksilver drops and you fall into temptation to opening richer, full-bodied reds instead.
Georges Meekers is Delicata’s head of marketing and an award-winning wine writer.