With the cold weather arriving in just a few months, you need to think about what wines will become a part of your daily rotation. Winter dinners are usually filled with hearty foods to keep the body and soul warm. Therefore, you need big, hearty, red wines to go along with the big, hearty foods that you will be preparing. The days of white wine and barbecue are over. Hearty beef stew and Cabernet Sauvignon is what will be on your table now. Here are four of the best winter wines.
1. Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet Sauvignon is often referred to as the “king of the reds.” It is a very fruit wine, with much more tannins that lighter reds. Cabernet Sauvignon usually have a dark fruit flavor, such as plum, blackberry, cassis, or boysenberry. Cabernet Sauvignons are usually fermented in oak, leaving flavors of dill, caramel, coffee, and vanilla. A common winter food to pair with this one is a big piece of steak. Any cut of beef will work, but I would recommend a good filet mignon to go with your Cabernet.
Syrah is another good choice for the cold winter months. While many people don’t like it do to the fact that it is so flavorful, it may fit in your winter wine repertoire quite well. With origins in the Rhone Valley of France, Syrah wines have notes of smoke, coffee, cured meats, and blueberries. This flavorful wine requires flavorful food. Some common pairings are lamb (lamb riblets or leg of lamb), and Shitake mushrooms mixed with thyme.
There are many different styles of Zinfandel that pair with many different types of winter foods. Use a lighter style Zinfandel with more savory dishes. The lower alcohol content of the lighter Zinfandel wines will pair nicely with a wide variety of different winter foods. It especially pairs well with Italian cuisine, such as meatballs, spaghetti, or any dish that uses parmesan. Sweeter Zinfandels pair well with chocolate and cheese.
4. Petite Sirah
Petite Sirah is probably one of the best winter wines out there. Petite Sirah is a very big, dark, rich red wine. It is full of tannins, meaning it requires big food. The wine is so dark that it seems that somebody has mixed your wine with squid ink and put it in your glass. Pair this wine with your best beef stew recipe.
Philip Hofman is a New York blogger who works with a wine club [http://blog.anuvavinos.com] that specializes in wine tastings in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
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