With the leaves turning, the temperatures dropping and the heating coming on, we’re eating (and drinking) heartier options. That’s not to say that we want to leave behind all our refreshing aperitifs, and we’re definitely not quite ready for the biggest bruiser bottles, but we’re leaning into the more warming bottles to go with the more indulgent dishes we’re cooking.
Here are some of our favourite natural reds, Autumn Edition:
The Budget Bottle - Valli Unite, Alessandrino Rosso
This fresh-faced red is newly returned to our shelves, with juicy, vibrant acidity and a densely packed palate. For the fact that this has no additives, the value for money is off the charts, and we keep coming back to this for a go-to anytime red.
Valli Unite is a co-operative in northern Italy, with a big focus on biodiversity. They raise livestock and grow lots of produce, including of course - grapevines! The estate is as self-sustaining as possible, in an effort to minimise its negative impact on their local ecosystems.
The Foodie - Cascina Tavijn, Teresa
This indigenous variety from Piedmont has a subtle balance of fruit, florals and herbal notes, plus some decent tannin. Perfect for some earthy, meaty or fatty dishes. Rustic and intriguing, this is a fun one to really enjoy over food.
Nadia Verrua named this wine after her mother, with her depiction on the label. She’s taken over the running of the family vineyard in recent years and is creating lively, exciting wines without messing with the grapes in the vineyard or cellar. She lets the process change year-to-year, all based on how the crop grows and what the grapes need in order to really shine.
The Aperitif - Lectores Vini, Pomagrana
This red is not just for summer! This is our favourite pre-meal option for cooler temperatures, when we want a little more than a white, but still want something chilled. Also, this cranberry juice bomb isn’t just perfect with cheese boards and salty snacks, but also with curries or other spicy foods that keep warming us up as the nights get darker.
Lectores Vini is a project by Fredi Torres and Marc Lecha in Montsant and Conca de Barbera in southern Catalonia, Spain. Torres, a former DJ, has built a reputation for crafting more delicate and subtle versions of styles that normally come through as bold and hefty. The Pomagrana red is no exception.
The Splash-Out - Gut Oggau, Maskerade Red
So this is sort of a cheat for this section, as the Maskerade comes in a 1L bottle, so not such a splash-out considering you get more for that money. However, we think Gut Oggau are still going strong with this most recent project, showcasing new plots that will be transitioning into their full core range. This red has plenty of character already, with lovely spice and red fruit.
Gut Oggau is an Austrian wine label, creating low-intervention wines in a family tree, each with its own character personified by one of the family. The top tier plots go into the oldest generation, and they’ve now got two additional generations under that, becoming more approachable with each one. They’re all nuanced and lively, and many will only improve with age. The Maskerade series will be added to the family in a few years, and will never be expressed in quite this way again.
The All-Rounder - Alfredo Maestro, El Marciano
We will never be bored of this red. It’s fruit-driven and sturdy, balanced and tasty, and goes with just about anything. Plus it’s very low intervention to boot, without additives or chemicals, and without any funky or farmy notes.
Alfredo Maestro truly lives up to his surname, as he’s solidified his spot as one of Spain’s natural wine rockstars. He makes wine in several regions across northern Spain, including his home region of Castilla y Leon, all organically farmed and without any additives or harsh interventions in the cellar. His wines are individual and expressive, but still approachable and nuanced.