Sandisiwe Mbhele
Lifestyle Journalist
7 minute read
18 Mar 2021
12:02 pm

So what wines should we be drinking in autumn?

Sandisiwe Mbhele

Hot or cold, there are some days one feels like a good red blend. In winter, we find comfort in the complexity of rich red wine but autumn is a bit different.

Red wine. Picture: iStock

Summer is bidding us a warm farewell; leaves are starting to fall and nighttime temperatures are dropping. In the heat of the summer months, we tend to enjoy more of those extra chilled, fresh, easy-drinking Sauvignon Blancs and deliciously light chenins.

In winter, on the other hand, we find comfort in the complexity of rich red wines. So, what do we drink in Autumn?

A safe, and perhaps obvious option are Rosés (yes, they are something between red and white wine). They’re fresh, tasty, affordable and don’t need to be served quite as cold as white. If you were enjoying a rich seafood pasta with a creamy white wine-based sauce, you would be well advised to choose a slightly wooded chenin blanc, with a complementary velvety mouthfeel. My wife’s preference is always a good pinot noir, which I oblige her reluctantly (on my budget, any pinot noir is a splurge, a very big splurge).

Pinot noir is delicate, fresh and has delicious nuances of red berries, a delightful balance in acidity and can be cooled down a few degrees for a most enjoyable autumn drink.

ALSO READ: Is there such a thing as ‘cheap, good wine’?

Hot or cold, there are some days one feels like a good red blend. I always find solace in Erika O Syrah-Granache-Noir-Cinsaut by Erika Obermeyer. The wine is alluringly perfumed, featuring buchu and rooibos aromatics, elegantly balanced with good acidity and a silky-smooth mouthfeel. Conversely, someone once asked me if they can pop a bottle of Cap Classique on a very cold day? Since when does the weather get to dictate such a delightful pleasure, I say. We have amazing Cap Classiques in abundance in the Cape, so the search for a good bottle is never a difficult one, even on my ever “budget-friendly” escapades. With a quick trip down to the local bottle store or food market, I am pretty much guaranteed to find something that reassures my wife of her choice in a husband, particularly during Autumn, which is our anniversary season.

Want an easy solution? Pop into our Wine Studio at One&Only Cape Town. I host curated wine tasting experiences daily and will happily take you through some amazing autumn-worthy wines, autumnal-inspired sensory experiences and could even show you how to pair wine with some of your favourite autumn meals.

As always, the best approach to choosing wine is one that makes sense and is delicious to you.

Wine regards,

Luvo Ntezo – Head Sommelier, One&Only Cape Town

Luvo Ntezo

Luvo Ntezo – Head Sommelier, One&Only Cape Town.

About One&Only

Created exclusively for the ultra-luxury market, One&Only is conceived as a hallmark of excellence. Set in some of the most beautiful locales in the world, each award-winning resort offers guests a distinctive style and personality borne of its local culture, a genuine hospitality and a lively energy that is unrivalled. The exclusive collection includes One&Only Reethi Rah in the Maldives; One&Only Le Saint Géran in Mauritius; One&Only Royal Mirage and One&Only The Palm in Dubai; One&Only Palmilla and One&Only Mandarina in Mexico; One&Only Cape Town in South Africa; Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley in The Blue Mountains in Australia; One&Only Desaru Coast in Malaysia; and One&Only Nyungwe House and One&Only Gorilla’s Nest in Rwanda. As part of the new portfolio, One&Only will be opening One&Only Portonovi in Montenegro in 2021. Additional resorts in development include One&Only Kéa Island in Greece and One&Only One Za’abeel in Dubai as well as communities of One&Only Private Homes around the world. More information on One&Only is available at

About Luvo Ntezo

Internationally recognized as the Best Young Sommelier in South Africa, Luvo Ntezo has emerged as the international wine community’s shining star, heralded as one of the best sommeliers in the world.

Luvo’s appointment as head Sommelier at One&Only Cape Town in June 2011 came after his mentor, Clive Bennett, joined the prestigious hotel as managing director in December 2010.

His passion remains embedded in new wineries and emerging terroirs from South Africa. Luvo spends much of his time exploring the lesser-known wine-producing regions of the Cape in search of new offerings to add to One&Only’s impressive collection of 5 000 bottles – one of the largest collections in Africa. Visitors to One&Only Cape Town have the opportunity to interact with Luvo in The Wine Studio, a sleek and sophisticated space where key resort wine experiences such as the Sip & Savour and Wine Blending masterclass is held.

“The wine list at our hotel is massive and features both old and new world wines as well as many vertical vintages,” says Luvo. “It’s my job to introduce our guests to new tastes and to help them celebrate their favourites – there are no golden or unbreakable rules with wine in my opinion. We want to encourage people to explore their own taste preferences. If we can show them something new to enjoy along the way, we’ve done a good job.”

“I’m enjoying myself and learning a great deal from working at One&Only, says Luvo. “Every day I discover new things and meet new people; I’m lucky though – wine is a great unifier, it doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from, if you can share and enjoy a bottle of wine, you’re halfway there.”

Born in 1983, Luvo grew up modestly in a small town in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. The middle child in a family of three, Luvo’s first introduction to the world of wine was as a pool porter at the Steenberg Hotel in Constantia.

“I didn’t have any interest or knowledge of wine. My family had never been big wine drinkers. I just needed a job,” says Luvo. After six months of working there, a guest ordered a bottle of wine. Luvo at that point had never opened a bottle of wine before, and after trying repeatedly, he had to ask the guest for help. Following the experience, Luvo went to winemaker John Loubser, and asked him to teach him all there was to know about wine.

Under Loubser’s mentorship, the young porter gained a comprehensive understanding of both the production and the tactical side of winemaking. In 2003, Luvo left the Steenberg Hotel to accept a job as a glasswasher at the Twelve Apostles in Cape Town. During a chance encounter, and while polishing wine glasses at a wine seminar, the winemaker offered Luvo a taste of the wine. While everyone else gave positive feedback on this wine, Luvo was stated that he believed the bottle to be corked. He was right.

The bottle was in fact corked. So impressed by his knowledge, understanding and inherent talent for tasting wine, the general manager offered to send Luvo to school and become a certified sommelier for the hotel. From 2006-2008 he studied at the Cape Wine Academy in Stellenbosch, while continuing to work at the hotel. In 2008, he agreed to participate in the prestigious Young Sommelier’s category in the national Chaîne des Rôtisseurs competition in South Africa. He won first place that year, and in the years following. Luvo went on to compete in the international competition held in Vienna in August 2008, and was placed an impressive fourth in the world.

While training for the competition, Luvo was exposed to thousands of wines from across the globe, and enjoyed regular trips to High Street Kensington in the UK to study with some of the best sommeliers in Europe. He soon developed tastes for wine outside of South Africa, including New Zealand, Australia and Canada. While he grew a strong affinity for the Sparkling Wines of West Sussex, his favourite international grape remains the Pinot Noir from Oregon.

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