What better way to get you through the dreary cold winter than a night in with some great food and delicious wine to match? Whilst a lot of us complain about the never-ending winter, we at Chief Wine Officer like to celebrate the cold months by indulging in great wines that complement the season. On that note, here are our 5 favourite winter wines!
You might say that port is a Christmas wine, but we say it’s an all-season winter wine. “Tawny” means that the port has spent more time ageing in a wooden barrel than its “Ruby” counterpart. Tawnies have a nutty, spicy flavour and are perfect to match with soul-warming wintery puddings (think molten lava cakes) as well as with cheese boards.
The ageing process also gives tawny port a mellow character, making it (almost dangerously) easy to enjoy on its own. Time to stop pigeon-holing port as a Christmas staple and embracing Tawny as a winter classic!
hardonnay can be un-oaked (aged in steel or plastic tanks) or oaked, meaning that it’s been aged in oak barrels. Unoaked chardonnays typically have a refreshing, minerally flavour profile that you might associate with a warm summer evening spent outside with friends in the garden. The oaked variety, however, has a distinguished, sweet yet spicy, buttery yet toasty profile. Even just describing these flavours gives you a fuzzy wintery feeling inside.
Most of us think of “big” reds when we hear “winter wines”. That’s why the beloved “Cab Sav” naturally has a place on this list. With woody flavours of cedar and oak, complemented with rich fruity and vanilla notes, this full-bodied and complex variety is a favourite to pair with steaks, roast or grilled lamb, cheese and mushrooms. You won’t be surprised to find out that it’s one of the most widely grown and popular varieties in the world.
For somewhat opposite reasons, Pinot Noir has a place on this list next to Cabernet Sauvignon. As opposed to Cab Savs, Pinot Noirs tend to be crisper, tangier and lighter in colour. What makes wines of this grape variety excellent for winter is that their lighter characteristics render them the perfect choice to balance out the hearty and boldly-flavoured dishes that are typical of the season – think casseroles, stews and meats such as beef and duck.
Winter is the festive season, and is there anything more festive than a glass (or several) of champagne? Apart from being celebratory, champagne also pairs well with almost any food because of its high acidity, which acts as a palate cleanser.
If you previously thought of it as a drink you’d only have on its own, as an aperitif, or with oysters, you’ll be happy to find out that sparkling wines are actually a go-to wine for anything bar your breakfast cereal.
An added bonus is that champagne has been proven to lift your mood: it contains magnesium, potassium and zinc, all of which contribute to the little feeling of joy that bubbles up after your fist sip. Feeling down that winter is still here? Sit back, open the champagne and enjoy it while It lasts.
If you’re curious to find out more about wines, we run business networking dinners with a side of wine tasting and education in cities across the globe. You can visit our events calendar to sign up!