Here in the north-east US Winter has finally come, and with a vengeance. It was 6f when I woke up this morning here in Vermont. Back in July I wrote about summer wines (http://thewinepopulist.com/?p=364). So I thought I would say a bit about winter ones today.
First most of us spend most of our wine time in climate controlled environments so as always, drink what you like. For me winter is a great reason to experience some of the bigger and more alcoholic wines that go so well with hearty winter foods. In whites (yes whites can be winter wines) I am more likely to look for an oak aged wine that has undergone malolactic fermentation. This makes for bigger more rounded wines. If I am going to go for a big oakey Chardonnay it will most likely be in winter. Also whites that have some residual sugar tend to go down better in winter so break out that Riesling.
Once again in reds, bigger is better in winter. While I spend a certain amount of time touting the benefits of lower alcohol content, a glass of a big 14% alcohol red sure goes down nicely when you have just come in from a slushy sleeting day in New York. The big wines of the Rhone such as Chateaus Nuef Du Pape and Gigondas are personal favorites as are Brunello’s from Italy. I find wines that emphasize what I call darker flavors such as plums and blackberries, cedar and mushrooms are a good fit for hearty stews. Madiran from the south-west of France is my go to wine for cassolet which I think is the ultimate winter comfort food.
So stay warm and enjoy your big winter wines.