As we move in to the autumn, I find myself craving meaty stews and steak pies for dinner. These dishes are simply calling out for a big New World red to sit alongside, and there are many wines that would tick all the right boxes.

You could choose a lush Californian Zinfandel (these can be very high in alcohol), a Chilean Carmenere (Merlot on steroids) or a minty Coonawarra Cabernet. However, my preferred option would be a cape crusader from South Africa.

I still think that South Africa is incredibly underrated, and I genuinely feel that that it is one of the most exciting wine producing countries on the planet. The wines of Stellenbosch and Franschhoek are undeniably excellent, but if you look farther afield to Walker Bay, Greyton and Swartland you’ll discover hidden gems which could change your life without overly worrying your wallet.

South Africa is the perfect mid-point style-wise between the occasionally austere French wines and the fruity up-front Australians. In many ways, it represents the perfect compromise. You’ll get top quality wines that everyone at your dinner table will like, even your most awkward relatives.

Here are a few to try this weekend…

The Chocolate Block 2017 by Boekenhoutskloof (Majestic, £25). The Chocolate Block is now a classic cult wine from Franschhoek originally made in tiny quantities to an incredibly high standard. This vintage is still fantastic (and still made to a very high standard), but the production has jumped considerably since the early days. It’s a blend of Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon with a little bit of Grenache, Cinsault and Viognier. It's very food friendly and works particularly well with a traditional cassoulet.

Rustenberg Peter Barlow Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 (Majestic, £35). This stunning Stellenbosch red has had 20 months in mostly new French oak and it will sit perfectly on the dinner table beside lamb shanks.

If you fancied something exciting at a fraction of the price, why not try a bottle of the Springfontein Ulumbaza Red 2013 (Inverarity One to One, £9.99). This distinctive wine from Walker Bay has a ton of red fruit character with an earthy edge and a nice, spicy note on the palate. And all for under a tenner.