In the Northern Hemisphere, these are the days for warm comfort food. Lots of sauce, starch and protein. And the cold weather usually prompts us to reach for the dense, chewy, full bodied red wine. This can be a good thing, nothing wrong with a complex red, especially with beef stew, short ribs, pot roast or chicken cacciatore. But for those of us who are eating pulled pork, fish stew or chicken alfredo – what to do? Well…read on.
Food and wine are a natural combination. One can make the other completely change characteristic and flavor. Winter is the time for opening up a tannic red or winter white, one with a lot of minerality and complexity. Red wines that are typically higher in tannin are:
- Cabernet Sauvignon
- Petit Verdot
- Petite Sirah
If I had to choose a red to go with a dinner of Beef Bourguignon or a spicy sausage soup, I’d open up a bottle of Banifi Chianti or Freakshow Cabernet Sauvignon. Be sure to open these bad boys at least 30 minutes before serving.
White wines that are typically higher in minerality are:
- White Burgundy
- White Bordeaux
Basically any white wine that has come from a rocky soil or terroir will have more minerality in it. You’ll find most of the White wines from the northern regions of France have this trait, as do the Chardonnays coming from the Rutherford region of Napa, California. Minerality in a white wine gives it more density and structure, perfect for that white fish stew or Alfredo dish you’re enjoying this winter.
My choice of a white to accompany that Baked Penne with Farmhouse Cheddar and Leeks, Carbonara or Butter-Basted Spiced Cod with Polenta, would be Louis Latour Marsannay Blanc or Reata Chardonnay (which is actually from the Carneros region). These white wines have a lovely concreteness that is perfect for a cold winter evening or for lunch on the ski slope.
Whatever your choice during this colder weather, red or white, bundle up and stay warm and safe!