In the thick of winter when the frost cracks under foot, the rain beats down on the windows, and your skin begins to resemble industrial grade sandpaper, there’s only one thing to do – hole up with good bottle of wine.
What should you reach for? Here’s what we think are the best wines for cold weather. The one’s to open and enjoy when it’s cold and wet outside.
You don’t need to have a bear skin rug, a roaring fireplace or a shirtless Don Draper to enjoy a bottle of Champagne on a cold winter’s night. It’s the perfect fireside – okay, bar heater – drink, and when paired with a glorious cheese plate, or just some strawberries and chocolate, it will turn an evening into an event.
Cheap and cheerful – For everyday value it’s hard to beat the Trilogy Cuvée Brut, $12.00
Special night – So you think Don Draper may ACTUALLY turn up? Right then! You’re going to need some serious sparkle. Empty the change jar and rifle down the lining of your hand bag to find every last dollar, and then splash out on a bottle of Bollinger Rosé, $140.00
“You don’t need to have a bear skin rug, a roaring fireplace or a shirtless Don Draper to enjoy a bottle of Champagne on a cold winter’s night.”
Grenache, Shiraz, Mouvedre (GSM) Blends
Sometimes the more hilarious wine makers will call it an MSG. I know. Truly amusing. But forgive them you must, as refilling your hot water bottle, pulling your beanie further over your ears, and rubbing your hands over your lint-pilling jumper is all the more bearable with a glass of GSM in your hand. It’s a classic blend made famous by the Rhone region of France. It needs no food. It needs no company. It just needs opening and enjoying when it’s cold outside.
Give this one a whirl – d’Arenberg The Stump Jump GSM 2010, $15.00
There’s something very wintery about a Pinot – even though it’s at the lighter end of the red spectrum. Maybe it’s all those images of ruddy cheeked men in tweed, smoking pipes with huge glasses of Burgundy tucked snugly into their plump little hands. (Those famous French Burgandies are made from the Pinot Noir grape). More likely it’s that Pinot is so wonderfully earthy and warm and is a happy bedfellow to a wide range of winter foods. And we all like happy bedfellows on a brisk winter night, non?
Right now we’re loving Pinot Noirs from New Zealand’s Central Otago region. And how can you go past a name like… Nanny Goat Vineyard Pinot Noir, $32.00. The quality of what’s in the bottle is enough to warm you from head to toe.
You might not have good memories of riesling. But it’s come a long way since your parents extracted it out of a cardboard box and threw an ice cube in it. It’s undergoing a bit of a rennaissance here in Australia, and with good reason – a dry, floral and crisp Riesling is a wine of pure joy. Those Germans had it right all along.
There’s something quintessentially European about supping Riesling as the temperature plunges. And it’s perfect for when you just want to sloth on the couch and order Thai home delivered.
Have the take away menu in one hand, and in the other a glass of Pewsey Vale Eden Valley Riesling 2011, $16.00
Cold weather calls for dessert. And then for dessert wine. The best sticky wines are luscious, they won’t cause your lashes to smudge by being wincingly saccharine, and they’ll still have plenty of acidity to balance the sweetness. Perfect with a simple cheese platter or on it’s own as a night cap.
A great value option is the Peter Lehmann Botrytis Semillon, $21.00
Not everyone likes a really big, bold, gutsy Shiraz. But if you do, now’s your chance to pull out the big boys. Shiraz is a brilliant partner for big winter food – think stews, roasts, and casseroles galore. The plummy flavours cut through the richness and the tannins are whipped into submission by the oils and fats used to make hearty winter fare.
Look for something from the Barossa or Clare Valley in South Australia.
Our fave of the moment: Kilikanoon Killermans Run Shiraz 2010 (Clare Valley), $19.00
If you like the spice of Shiraz, but prefer something a little smoother, then look for a Shiraz Viognier blend. Like, Turners Crossing Shiraz Viognier 2009, $21.00
If you’re not convinced about Riesling, but would still rather stick to a white, then you need an aged, oaky and deliciously buttery Chardonnay. The richness and texture of a Chardonnay will stand up to rich, cold-weather cooking. Especially those involving chicken, seafood and pork.
Hard to go past a Hunter Valley Chardonnay in this category. We’re loving Scarborough Yellow Label Chardonnay 2009, $23.00
What do you like to snuggle up with in winter? Share your best wine for cold weather with us by leaving a comment below.