Lest you forget, today is 5th November, also known as Guy Fawkes Day or Bonfire Night. It marks the failure of a plot to kill King James I, following which people lit fires to celebrate. The annual public day of thanksgiving for the plot’s failure eventually became a gathering in which people ‘burn’ their sorrows and merrily protest against the establishment (it’s not uncommon to see cut-outs of politicians burning on Bonfire night…)
It also serves as the unofficial start of the festive season, kicking off weeks imbued with a sense of celebration and indulgence.
With that in mind, we have selected 10 wines that will be perfect companions around the bonfire, glass in hand. Warming pours to keep the cold at bay, lift the spirits and pair with the hearty dishes the night calls for.
A sense of warmth dos not necessarily mean high alcohol. Many structural components can contribute to a sense of comforting lusciousness in wine: intense, ripe flavours; smooth but firm tannins; warming spicy notes; creamy texture.
Therefore, you shouldn’t be surprised to find wines of different colours and styles on the list below. It’s a mistake to think that only robust reds can provide the sense of comfort we seek on cold days and with hearty meals. A generous white, such as a Viognier or oak-fermented Chardonnay, are perfect autumnal wines and the ideal pairing companions to the season’s game and root vegetable dishes. Orange wines are another great option, with their richness of flavour and textural appeal. Remember that neither rich whites nor orange wines should be too chilled – they are best enjoyed almost at room temperature.
And what about a glass of Port or Pedro Ximenez? Intense yet elegant, with vibrant acidity balancing the sweetness and alcohol. You might well be tempted to eat the season’s first mince pies with either of these.
Open one, or multiple, of these bottles, light the fire and get warm. Inside and out. These wines will pair perfectly with hearty, flavourful dishes (a rich past or a lamb stew for example) or, in full fiery mood, some barbecued meat or vegetables.
‘If you don’t give me one, I’ll take two,
The better for me, and the worse for you.’