A time for stews, pulses, game, baked fish, mushrooms ... The perfect wines for typical winter warmer meals!
12 great wines to pair with winter cuisine
As all sommeliers know, one of the points to bear in mind when choosing a wine for mealtimes is the season of the year. In warmer months, we usually pair light dishes with fresh, light wines, and when the cold months of winter arrive, we tend to prefer stronger, richer dishes and wines.
Winter foods, with more fat and proteins, are often cooked more slowly, and eaten warmer. We leave the salads and ice-creams aside, and enjoy hearty meals of hot soups andstews, and prepare rich fish and meat dishes. The body calls out for calories and fat to resist cold temperatures, and a good wine to pair with these foods and offer a comforting sensation of pleasure.
In general, we usually recommend red wines rather than whites or rosés in winter. Stronger wines with less acidity, red wines are a more suited style to winter meals. Young wines, brimming with lively fruit, feel more at home in spring time and summer, whereas winter is a time for aged (or crianza) wines. Aromas created from their malolactic fermentation and months spent ageing in wood produce an agreeably warm sensation. Spicy and toasted hints from the wooden staves and lactic touches generate the pleasant, complex taste of a perfect winter wine.
Crianza wines are split into two very different styles. The more classic styles, such as Rioja Reserva, Barbaresco and Cabernet Sauvignon are ideal wines for pairing with a leg of lamb, stewed pulse dishes, mushrooms and small game; that is, meals which are not too fatty. Tertiary aromas of leather and spices are the perfect companion for traditional dishes. The other style of wines are the high expression ones; wines loaded with everything (tannins, strength, colour, volume ...). These wines are often from warmer climes and are aged in small new wooden barrels. Their ideal partners are hearty winter meals such as beef, cured cheese or larger game.