Remember, remember…


Photograph: Jason Lowe

Photograph: Jason Lowe

Ahead of Guy Fawkes Night with its flurry of bonfires and fireworks displays, Buying Assistant Oliver Barton introduces a suitably warming selection of wood-smoke-friendly wines

It’s time to get out the thick coats, gloves and scarves, to keep ourselves warm on cold evenings and – on the night of the 5th of November – to light the touch paper and stand well back. With this in mind we have put together a small selection of wines to hopefully set your emotions ablaze. This list, abundant with warming reds and smoky whites, should bring comfort against the brisk breeze and drama to a night of bonfires and pyrotechnics.

The three whites include two Chardonnays, one from the Australia’s Margaret River with layers peach and apricot fruit moving to a mineral nutty finish and our own-label Puligny-Montrachet from the outstanding 2014 vintage which has recently come into its own, giving pure fresh white fruit and a classic steely finish. The third white is of volcanic origins, coming from the slopes of Mount Etna; Graci’s Bianco is creamy, citrusy and incredibly elegant.

For the reds we have focused on the Syrah grape with its warming spicy and smoky notes. From the south of France Jean-Noël Bousquet’s eponymous Terres Rouges offers blueberry and a hint of violets on the nose, whereas the Les Vignes Oubliées is more focused around black fruit, spice and thyme. From the Rhône, considered the heartland for this prestigious varietal, we have three wines; the St Joseph (100 percent Syrah) is from Domaine Pierre Gaillard is rich and complex thanks to its granitic terroir and time in oak, the Sotanum is of the same make-up and has a delightful palate of plum, liquorice, herbs and bitter chocolate. To complete the trio we move south down the valley to Vacqueras where Le Sang des Cailloux (the blood from the stones) has added 80 percent Grenache which gives body and weight. We also have a South African option from Mullineux, a producer based in the up-and-coming Swartland region; their red is generous with ripe red berries and a smooth silky finish.

To compliment this already generous array of reds, we have added another wine of volcanic influence, Luigi Tecce’s Satiricon Taurasi which is focused around dark fleshy fruit and definitely shows a touch of brimstone. And how could we not include the perfectly named “Feux d’Artifice” which comes from Bulgaria and shows concentrated bramble fruit and warming pepper spice.

Finally we finish on a sweet note, from the land in which the firework was invented: the Changyu Golden Valley Ice Wine is glorious with tropical fruit, sweet spice and should truly ensure your evening ends with a bang.

Browse our selection for Bonfire Night on