Drinks, food

Drink This: Alto Rouge 2011

We all have a friend who mourns the end of summer: that sad chap who starts throwing forlorn looks at their Havaianas and shorts come the end of March, lamenting for the sunset trips to the beach, a chilled bottle of Sauvignon Blanc and picnic blanket in tow. While I’d agree with my friend that summer certainly has its advantages (I’d choose a waking up to the warming sun over the dark stumble from bed to shower any day), it’s during the colder months when you really get to indulge. Before you know it you’ll be skipping your spinning class (it happens to the best of us) for an evening spent wrapped in a cashmere throw, a PVR’d collection of the latest episodes of Scandal, armed with a (large) glass of red wine – Olivia Pope style. Okay, it’s not winter yet, but you can already feel yourself gravitating towards the darker grapes in the bottle store, can’t you? What you need is a wine that’ll take you from the autumn-appropriate Pinot Noirs to the full-bodied reds, which will see you through to spring. Alto Rouge 2011 (R78) is just such a wine – a rounded composition of Shiraz, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Cab Sauv, its rich bouquet isn’t overpowering, but rather soft, enveloping and memorable, earning it a place as a distinctive easy drinker. That it’s not a heavy, overly complex wine makes it perfect for the changing season, and the delightful palate flavour of blackberry means it’ll be a hit with just about anyone you choose to share it with, even that summer-loving friend. Text Jessica Ross