There’s no denying it that we’re in the midst of winter which has got us reaching for meals that’ll warm us from our core. Warming pies and creamy casseroles, spicy comfort food and indulgent cheeses… so many winter delights to enjoy! This article is all about wines perfect for winter: full-bodied comforting reds, unctuous whites that are crying out for a cheeseboard, dessert wines ready for spiced dishes and blue cheese, and spirits for the fireside…Winter has never looked (or tasted) better!
Full-bodied red wines to pair with wintery dishes
Spending cold dark evenings cooking hearty and comforting meals is just one of many reasons we love winter. Traditional meaty pies (though we love sweet ones too!), creamy casseroles, and cheese-heavy bakes are just some of the dishes that spring to mind. Adding seasonal game into the mix is a wonderful opportunity to try really powerful full-bodied wines. Winter for us is a time of comfort not exploration, and so we are happy to stick to some of the French classics this time. Bordeaux, the Rhône Valley, the South-West and the South of France all produce beautiful full-bodied reds, often with hints of spice that are just crying out for a food pairing!
In Bordeaux, our selection is second to none, from the army of 1855 classified growths, to the most beautiful châteaux of Saint-Emilion and Pomerol, to the best “unclassified” producers, iDealwine has the perfect Bordeaux for every occasion. What is more, Bordeaux and game are a match made in heaven! If you’re going all out on a left-bank beauty – a little truffle wouldn’t go amiss!
The Rhône Valley is another great choice, with many wines boasting spicy notes that will pair beautifully with so many dishes (think steak served with pepper sauce). Côte Rôtie from Guigal or Châteuneuf-du-Pape from Henri Bonneau will brighten up the darkest evening, not to mention Cornas, Saint-Joseph, Crozes-Hermitages and many more. There is magic to be found in more reasonably priced bottles too! Try Châteauneuf-du-Pape from Pierre André or Côtes-du-Rhône from Gramenon.
Loved for its exquisitely traditional full-bodied reds, appellations in the South-West of France are on our minds (and lips) this winter. We love Cahors, Bergerac, Madiran, Côte du Marmandais especially. These robust wines have gained so much recognition in recent years but remain affordable. They will be the perfect companion for your fully-flavoured dishes.
When all your want is that ‘step off the plane and into the sunshine’ feeling that warms your bones, the closest we can get to it right now is a wine from sunny Languedoc, Roussillon or Corsica. Red wine from the south of France will pair beautiful with meaty dishes that have a hint of sweetness (like an apple jelly served with game or a prune-stuffed roast dinner).
Unctuous Whites: the answer to all of your cheesy questions
If we had to name just one thing the French do best? After wine of course, we would have to pick cheese. Best of all, French wine and French cheese are a match made in heaven! If you haven’t yet heard of Raclette, haven’t tasted Fondue, or dug into a tartiflette, we kindly invite you to stop reading and go check them out!
We’re pairing region with region, so for a cheese fondue, choose wine from Savoie, Jura, or, from just over the border, Switzerland.
For chicken casseroles or creamy mushroom chicken dishes, we recommend a white from Burgundy. Choose the wine according to the complexity of the dish, a Mâconnais for a simple dish, and a Meursault for a more complex-flavoured dish (is it too soon to mention truffles again?)
Sweet wines for your spicy dishes and blue cheeses
Fancy an Indian or Thai curry to warm your taste buds? A sweet or dessert wine would be the perfect pairing! Sauternes, Jurançon, Alsace vendanges tardives (late harvest), sweet Vouvrays and Montlouis, and Tokaji… the options are endless, so the most difficult part is deciding!
When it comes to blue cheeses, sweet wines work best and is actually our favourite way to enjoy the sweetest of the sweet wines, like Sauternes and Tokays.
Evenings by the Fire
Transport yourself to the mountainside with a drop of something stronger, to a cosy spot by a roaring fire, looking out at the blustery Scottish Highlands, sipping a glass of whisky. Once again, you are spoilt for choice at iDealwine, see all of our whiskies and spirits.