Perez Cruz Cab SauvIt’s cold. And it gets dark before the day has properly begun. Which means we now have to turn the light on when admiring the colour of that pre-supper glass of red wine. Shorter periods of daylight send a signal to our brain to reject the lighter hues of summer and seek out dark reds and browns of winter. So leave the light-green Sauvignon Blancs unopened and pick up a bottle of its red cousin Cabernet Sauvignon instead.

This blood-red coloured wine not only matches the autumn foliage but also the heartier foods we'll be eating once the weather gets cooler.

Pies, pizzas and roast meats all match the blackberry smell and taste of Cabernet Sauvignon wines. This grape variety, though fruity, can be rather one dimensional so winemakers often blend in other grape varieties to add complexity.

burnt toastTastes of blackcurrants and aromas of Bovril all add complexity when Shiraz is added and Shiraz-Cabernet Sauvignon wines reach their zenith with South African wine producers. Extra aromas of damp leaves and flavours of burnt toast are made by the hot South African sunshine – the results are robust wines best enjoyed with a large chunk of meat.

For lighter flavours stick to Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot blends. You’ll find this classic twinning in French Bordeaux reds. Expect less Bovril and more cherry and plum flavours.

PG Wine Reviews

Aussie ShirazSpar Australian Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz

£5.49 Spar

This red improves immensely with opening – so much so that I’d recommend it as your regular stand-by house red. Light and spicy bramble flavours mixed with milk chocolate.

Cortebella Italian Chianti Riserva 2009

£8 Asda (in-store only and not online)

Cherry, coffee and choc - plus a bit sultanery too.

PicciniPiccini Italian Chianti Classico 2009

£8.99 Tesco

Light cherry and plum flavours with a cocoa edge.

Perez Cruz Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva 2009

£9.99 Virgin Wines

Fresh blackcurrant leaf aroma which moves into blackcurrant juice and coffee flavours. Good stuff.

Jour de Nuit 2011, French blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc

£9.99 Co-op

Meaty aromas of Marmite and liquorice, followed by flavours of damson, blackberry and cocoa.

This article has also appeared as Paula's Wines of the Week on

Asda onlineRivalling Tesco Wine by the Case, Morrisons Cellar and Waitrose WineDirect, Asda launches its own online Wine Shop today. With free delivery until the end of the year plus an extra 10% off first orders, this new easy-to-use site is definitely worth a go if you want to order six or more bottles of wine. You won’t find all the wines stocked by their main grocery site but with over 500 wines to choose from initially (more are promised for 2014) the site offers some interesting, if slightly expensive, oddities plus the usual popular brands priced at £5 and under.

dandelionsIts flower petals can be turned into a country wine, its leaves can be eaten as a salad leaf and its horrendously long tap roots that seem to grow down as far Australia make a passable coffee substitute: but now the humble dandelion has another use – it can be turned into car tyres.

Book coverIf being a wine writer is all about ‘tasting vast quantities of wine’, why isn’t everyone doing it? Because as Geoff Adams (wine writer, wine author and Greek wine specialist) explains eruditely in his chapter on Wine Journalism within the new book Specialist Journalism (Routledge, £21.99): ‘it can be difficult to commission a sufficient amount of work within this speciality alone to make a good living’. But if that hasn’t put you off, then how do you go about becoming a wine writer?