What wines to drink in the winter months?

With the dark nights and cold, wintery weather, there's nothing more comforting than a large glass of delicious wine (ideally whilst snuggled up by a roaring fire and a good book).

Instinctively we tend to turn to big rich reds — comforting and luscious, often a bit higher in alcohol than we would normally drink, but like a hug in a glass. 

These wines are firm seasonal favourites because they also complement the type of food that we eat at this time of year. Think heartier, heavier food that feeds the soul and provides warmth.

Our favourite winter wines that tick all the boxes:

Malbec

Syrah

Zinfandel

Cabernet Sauvignon

 

Cabernet Sauvignon
The most popular red wine in the world is the walking, talking definition of full-bodied. Incredible aromas of dark cherries, spice and hints of vanilla. The ideal steak wine, and is much better when drunk along with food.

Syrah
Think big, inky red wine with flavours of dark fruit, such as plums and blueberries, with a little chocolate and tobacco thrown in for good measure. If you’re looking for a velvety, smooth wine, this is the one for you. Syrah is an incredibly food-friendly wine and can match beautifully with rich seafood dishes as well as robust meats.


Malbec
Malbec is a safe, crowd-pleasing wine and goes really well with or without food. Depending on the type of Malbec you prefer, you’re really spoilt for choice when pairing with food.

Young, fruity Malbecs

Smoky cured beef
Charcuterie and cheeses
Chilli con Carne
Spaghetti Bolognese


Heavyweight Malbecs 

Steak, including steak tartare
Roast beef or venison
Farmhouse cheddar
Dark chocolate puddings

Zinfandel
Zinfandel leans to the sweeter side of reds (the fruit is often very ripe when it’s harvested, giving the jam flavour and aroma) and tends to have much higher alcohol content than others. It's a great companion to anything from the meat aisle and a tomato-based pasta dish, whilst lighter Zinfandel is a wonderful red wine pairing choice for poultry and creamy pastas, such as lasagne cannelloni and spaghetti.

 

What about the whites?
Many folks shy away from white wine at this time of year, seeking the warmth and comfort provided by their red counterparts. However, the secret to drinking white in winter is making sure you choose the right one.

Just as we favour richer, more opulent, warming styles of red wine, when we look at white we need to choose one that has a richness and a warmth to it that can stand up to hearty cold weather stews and roasted vegetables.  A firm favourite of ours is the much maligned Chardonnay. 

It complements seafood chowders and rich chicken dishes like casseroles, butter chicken, or chicken and leek pie. It’s also great with roast turkey or pork with apples, and complements the earthy sweetness of winter vegetables like pumpkin, parsnips, leeks, carrots, celeriac and cauliflower. 

Judy Ciok