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Wine, beer and pumpkin-spiced Baileys

By Nicholas Robinson

- Last updated on GMT

Bang in season: Chenin Blanc makes Top Shelf
Bang in season: Chenin Blanc makes Top Shelf

Related tags Chardonnay

Top shelf: Pour a glass of Kleine Zalze Bush Vine’s South African Chenin Blanc and be prepared for a ripe pineapple and guava smack in the nose.

This beautiful white is everything you want from a Chenin Blanc – a fruity with a rich and ripe palate, followed by a balanced lemon-lime freshness on the finish.

Key facts:

  • Buy at: £5.65
  • Sell at: £18
  • ABV: 13.5%

The 13.5% ABV wine, which can be bought from Hatch Mansfield, will keep (unopened, obviously) for up to five years and costs around £5.65 (excluding VAT) a bottle.

It is made from 100% Chenin Blanc grapes and comes from a coastal South African vineyard in the Helderberg region, where none of the grapes are exposed to excessive sunlight and, as a result, an even ripening is achieved.

A good ripening of the grapes was also helped by a longer and cooler growing season, giving this Chenin Blanc a vibrant and natural acidity.

Suggested food pairings include grilled and roasted white meats, fish and shellfish, pizza and pasta, salads, oriental food and fresh pea soups. This wine could also be the perfect tipple in pub gardens and on picnics.

Operator's view:

Hugh Dobie, assistant manager, Pheasant at Buckland, Surrey:

We have a very nice South African Chenin Blanc at the moment, which is selling very well.

I think it’s generally quite a popular white wine in third place behind the likes of Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio and is getting more popular as more and more people get to know about it.

It’s a reasonably well-priced wine, so that doesn’t put people off, and it’s subtler than other white wines, as well as being dry and fruity at the same time. It has those grassy and floral qualities that people like about many white wines.

To get people to drink out of their comfort we have a wine of the month. When we’re telling people about other wines we tell them about the ones we like and why we like them, which works.

OR YOU COULD TRY: Grüner Veltliner

Chenin Blanc is usually the preferred alternative to the Sauvignon Blanc, so the former’s alternative has to be a Grüner Veltliner.

Grüner Veltliner grapes are mainly grown in Austria, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. One of our favourites is the Grüner Veltliner 2015 Weingärten Weissenkirchen, which comes from the Wachau region of Austria, has the colour of fresh straw along with a tempting nose of gooseberries, green apples and flowers.

You’re likely to get your hands on a case from Majestic Wines and it pairs well with spices, cured meats, seafood and chicken.

The 12% ABV dry white is made from 100% Grüner Veltliner and will also be perfect paired with fresh salads and seared scollops.


  • Caledonian Brewery

Scottish brewer the Caledonian Brewery has launched its autumn seasonal beer for drinkers ahead of the festive season.

Autumn red

Autumn Red is a 4.4% ABV red ale and features a comforting spice that comes from the Hersbrucker hop along with a mellow and fruitful finish.

Craig Steven, Caledonian’s beers manager and beer academy sommelier, said: “Autumn can sometimes be a challenging time for publicans as the summer fun fades to a memory and drinkers might opt to stay indoors as the weather gets colder.”

  • Ardbeg Twenty

Survivor distillery Ardbeg Twenty has revealed a new 21-year-old single malt, after successfully battling closure over the past 10 years.


Despite coming close to shutting down, the distillery now has 120,000 ‘members’.

The 46% ABV whisky has a peppery smokiness along with soothing, buttery qualities and is available direct from the distillery.

  • Bailey’s Pumpkin Spice

Autumnal and winter spices are going to be in great demand from consumers looking for something comforting in the colder months ahead.


Bailey’s limited edition Pumpkin Spice flavour has come just in time and features spices such as cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg.

The Irish cream can be quaffed on its own over ice, in flat white martinis or used to give coffees and hot chocolates a boozy winter kiss.

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