I HAVE discovered two fantastic autumnal drinks that will warm even the coldest of days for you, starting with a warming example from Western Australia, called the Listening Station Malbec 2008.

The wine is from the Boutinot Stable, and this example of Malbec – traditionally associated with Argentina and southern France – shows a magnificent deep purple hue, followed by a warming scent of spice, plum and liquorice, with an explosion of blackcurrant, blackberry and chewy tannins, finished by a good length.

This is a fine wine to have with juicy steaks, hearty-flavoured stews and strong, hard cheeses. Available from Windermere/Ambleside Wine Stores at £7.55 a bottle.

My beer choice is a local favourite of mine, the award-winning Blacksmiths Ale from Coniston Brewing Company.

This strong ale has a rich, golden colour – I know, a strong ale conjures up a dark colour ale but bear with me on this – and a nose of Christmas pudding with rich spice, a malty taste and a lingering finish.

This ale is best quaffed next to a real fire with steak and ale pie, or a traditional dish of roast beef. Also from Windermere/Ambleside Wine Stores at £2.85 a bottle.

  • Graeme Hedley is sommelier and expert on food and wine at Kendal College’s Lakes Hotel School