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  • Writer's pictureClaire @ fromthegrapevine

Autumnal wine and food pairing

As the trees turn into those autumnal colours, we start going into our winter survival mode. Who hasn’t tested out the central heating or the log burner yet this month? Foodwise, we are taken back to our school harvest festivals, as the seasonal offerings turn orange with pumpkins, squash and marrows in abundance.

With wine, the chilled summer whites and bar-b-que rosés are less appealing now that the air has cooled, but we’re probably not quite ready to tuck into the hearty full bodied red wines from Australia and the New World just yet.

Bottle of Burgundy with mushroom risotto

So for Autumn, my suggestion is to try a Pinot Noir paired with the creamy mushroom risotto below. Pinot noir is an interesting grape because it’s such a fussy diva. It’s been around since the Roman times. That’s over 1,000 years before cabernet sauvignon was widely planted. It likes to be grown in a cool climate, and that’s one of the reasons we grow it successfully here in the UK. It loves warm days and cool nights. But for the recipe below, I’d recommend getting hold of a pinot noir from Burgundy in France. Trust me, it tastes different to that you’d get from New Zealand or the UK, with an earthiness to match up to the mushrooms in the risotto.

The Maison de Tastelune Bourgogne Pinot Noir is available from Marks and Spencer (£11.50) and is easy to drink. The wine has a good tartness of ripe raspberries, enough acidity to cut through the creamy risotto and low tannin, so your mouth will want to keep sipping. The gentle aftertones of berry and earthy oak complement the mushrooms. Just one tip – try to serve slightly chilled at around 12 degrees. Too warm and it can start to taste too smoky and earthy, too cold and you’re going to lose the berry, black cherry and plum flavours.

As well as the creamy mushroom risotto, you could pair a Pinot Noir with duck, pork or salmon.

We hope you enjoy!

Mushroom Risotto Recipe

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 45 minutes

Serves 4-6

2 Tbsp butter 2 cups flavorful mushrooms such as shiitake, chanterelle, or oyster mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed, and cut into half inch to inch pieces 100ml brandy 600ml chicken stock (use vegetable stock for vegetarian option) 4 peeled and minced shallots 350g arborio rice Freshly grated Parmesan cheese Salt and freshly ground black pepper Chopped fresh parsley or chives


1 Bring stock to a simmer in a saucepan.

2 Sauté the mushrooms: Melt the butter in a deep, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and shallots and sauté about 5 minutes (if using chanterelles, dry sauté first for a minute or two and let the mushrooms cook in their own juices before adding the butter).

3 Add rice and brandy: Add the rice and stir to combine. Add brandy, bring to a boil, and reduce liquid by half, about 3-4 minutes.

4 Add simmering stock, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring enough to keep the rice from sticking to the edges of the pan. Stir the rice almost constantly — stirring sloughs off the starch from the rice, making the creamy sauce you're looking for in a risotto.

Wait until the stock is almost completely absorbed before adding the next 1/2 cup.

This process will take about 25 minutes. The rice should be just cooked and slightly chewy.

5 Stir in the Parmesan cheese and season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley or chives.


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