While the weather outside has been less than frightful throughout most of the country (where it’s normally reflective of a frost-filled movie), typical winter weather is complete with chilling temperatures, barren trees, and, in many places, snow. If you’re anything like us, being stuck inside your house because the weather is less than desirable for travel is made great by nights filled with movies, take out, and a delicious glass of wine.
The best wines to drink when it’s cold outside are rich, full-bodied wines—ones that warm you up and are wonderful for a night in front of your favorite movie or that are perfect for long conversations in front of a fireplace with your closest friends, family, and loved ones.
To help you choose the perfect wines for this season—whether red, white, or fortified—we have put together a list of our favorite options. We hope you love them as much as we do…but we know you will.
Cabernet Sauvignon — When you’re looking for the perfect red wine for winter, Cab is the perfect go-to choice for any bold wine lover out there. It is a choice that is fruity but slightly heavier, and it contains dark fruits like plum, cassis, blackberry, and boysenberry. It can also have herbal flavors. In addition, it has the perfect extra flavor that oftentimes comes from vanilla, dill, caramel, toast, and coffee—things that all taste better when the weather outside is chilly. When pairing this wine with food, steak is a great option. While some may think steak is typically eaten in the summer when you can grill out and enjoy the warm weather, it can be delicious in the winter, especially with a glass of Cabernet by its side and some warm appetizers while it cooks to perfection.
Syrah — There’s nothing like the flavor that comes in a bottle of Syrah. With traces of cured meats, smoke, coffee, blueberry and iron oxide, it pairs well with really flavorful foods like lamb and seasoned Shitake mushrooms. Delicacies like lamb taste great in a winter roast, and a glass of Syrah on the side is the best pairing you could make. Try this one out next time you have guests over to surprise them with a savory meal they won’t soon forget.
Zinfandel — Winter doesn’t normally remind us of fresh, fruity flavors, but an exception is definitely made when we think of the perfectly crisp, ripe flavor of a glass of Zinfandel. One thing we love about this wine is that it’s so versatile in both aroma and pairings. Whether you are looking for it to be fresh and fruity with lower alcohol content and a red raspberry flavor or you’re looking for an extremely ripe, jammy, sweet flavor, Zinfandel has something for everyone. When it comes to food, it pairs wonderfully with savory winter plates. One example of this is meals that use Italian red sauces, such as eggplant Parmesan, meatballs, lasagna, and even spaghetti. When you pair one of these traditional dishes with a refreshing glass of Zinfandel, all the flavors are released. The tangy acidity of the tomato sauce is brought out by a fresh, fruity flavor, or cheese and a chocolaty dessert can be further highlighted by a sweeter flavor.
(NOTE: Download our Free Wine & Food Pairing Guide. Enhance the Enjoyment of Your Meals! CLICK HERE)
Petite Sirah – Let’s talk about one of the richest of all the wines that is big in flavor and popularity this season. Petite Sirah is made with dark fruits like plum, prunes, and dark cassis, and this fruit mixes perfectly with coffee and dark chocolate flavors. It certainly reminds us of holiday treats! An incredible food coupling to go with this dark wine would be your favorite wintery beef stew complete with filling potatoes.
We didn’t forget about the whites! It may seem like we are leaning only in the direction of red wines this year, but we promise we haven’t forgotten whites which can be just as perfect for winter as the rich, bold flavors of a robust red.
The first white we think of when looking at our favorites to drink during the colder weather is Chardonnay. Some of our favorite things to eat during these months are mashed potatoes topped with butter, warm chowders, and dense loaves of bread. Chardonnay is the perfect glass of wine to go with these incredible foods, and its dry, fruity essence is a great opposite to match these dishes.
Yet another white wine we love to drink by the fire or over a board game with our friends is Pinot Gris. When made by Italians, this wine tends to be more summery with light and crisp flavors. However, if you purchase a bottle born from the people of Alsace, the flavors are powerful and reminiscent of fall and winter—both colder, crisper seasons. It tastes brilliant with meat stews, many of which are cooked on the stove or in a crockpot during November through February.
If one of these wines sounds like a bottle you’d like to purchase for yourself or a friend or the perfect glass to pair with the meal you plan on making for your next dinner party, visit your local wine shop today. It won’t be long before the weather calls for a glass that’s crisp and fruity instead of full and robust, so enjoy the rich flavor while it effortlessly matches the weather.
After all, the weather outside is soon to be frightful, and you want your bottles of wine to be delightful, so stock up today! Having extra flavor around the house won’t be a decision you regret.
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