Three cheers for winter! Don’t you love having the rain come down so that you don’t need to water your lawn? Don’t you love having an excuse to get nice and cozy in front of the TV on a Friday night? Don’t you love the healthy air? Most importantly, don’t you love winter wines? Winter wines are what we’ll be talking about today.
Winter Wines: Food Pairings
Through the Grapevine says that as the winter holidays approach, wine sales spike and beer sales dip slightly, with red wine being more popular than white. “The main reason for this is that people tend to eat heartier foods with stronger flavors–such as chili or beef stew–when it’s cold. That means they need an equally flavorful wine to pair with their food, and it’s easier to find bold reds than whites. That being said, it’s still possible to buy white wine that just feels right in the winter.”
Winter Wines: Activities
Most of us think of cozy fireside snuggles, or burying ourselves under blankets in our armchair with a good book, or — my favorite — a long, hot soaking bubble bath. If you’re warming up your inner core, sometimes what matches best is a cooler, tempering wine. I recommend fruity, floral sparkling wine by the fire, or a light, sweeter rosé to keep you comfy while you indulge in that page turner. Balance the heat with something cooling.
Some of the world’s great wine producers in colder climes (think Germany) produce some of the world’s best winter-weather wine. Rieslings (which can vary a lot on the dry-sweet spectrum) from the Mosel and Rhine areas are perfect winter wines, and Eiswein as an aperitif or dessert wine is like a dream.
Through the Grapevine recommends Bordeaux blends (Cabernet, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Malbec) for their hearty flavors, GSM blends (Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre) for their spiciness and Northern Italian wines (Nebbiolo and Valpolicella) for their bold tannins and heaviness respectively.
Wine Folly recommends Nebbiolo for its “high acidity and grippy tannins,” Shiraz for its “powerful black fruit flavors, savory undertones, and high ABV (14%-15%),” Sangiovese for its rustic earthiness, Cabernet for its layered complexity, Mourvedre for its gaminess and Port, because it doesn’t get any better than Port 🙂
I love this list, but I would add mulled wine to it!
Through the Grapevine recommends Chardonnay for being full bodied and oaky, older Rieslings for their smokiness and Chenin Blanc for its body.
Wine Folly recommends Chardonnay for its rich, buttery flavors, Champagne and Sparkling wine for its versatility and Viognier for a refreshing hint of spring.
If you happen to live in England, please check out Colemere Vineyard, a small family-run vineyard based in Shropshire that specializes in the art of slow living and producing amazing wines.
Are there any winter wines that you’d like to add to the list? I’d love to hear about those. Cheers!