A Nice Pair Part 2 – What Should I Have to Drink With This?

‘Tis the season.

Depending on your cultural or religious background you might be participating in the frenzy of shopping, cooking, eating and drinking that is the Christmas Season. So many decisions still to make – like what to buy for Mom or Dad, son, daughter, boss or in-laws. Or what delectable delights we’re going to dish up for our guests. And what kind of wine should we serve with that?

Resident Sommelier, Len Steinberg, offers some helpful hints…………..

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow

by Len Steinberg

Winter has arrived with a vengeance. I know weather varies by locale but when you live anywhere in Canada you just can’t escape the cold. The seasons change, as do our appetites and menu choices. Fall and winter fare tends to be on the heartier side. We move away from the lighter meals of summer to the rich flavours of comfort food, like braised and roasted meats, stews, and soups. These, along with the texture and flavours of root vegetables and hearty grains, will be on the menu for the duration.

The switch to winter fare also brings the change on our palates for wine. Not to suggest that there isn’t a place for fresh whites and lighter reds, but the seasonal changes in cooking styles call for heavier wines to match the weight of our dishes. The whites tend to be fuller and richer in texture while the reds are deeper and more structured.

Here is a quick look at a few seasonal dishes and some possible pairings.

Roast chicken is one of our favorites. We still like a dry Riesling for this one, but an oaked Chardonnay or a Bordeaux White is also a great match. If the sauce is rich, a chipotle rub for example, a medium bodied red like a Cotes du Rhone or Pinot Noir is a good fit.

Baked ham or roast pork is a fine choice for a hearty meal. Once again a white may be on the menu, possibly Viognier or an Arneis from Piedmont. Reds work too – maybe a Spanish Grenache, a medium bodied Zinfandel from California, or a Barbera.

Pasta in our house calls for red wine. A Chianti, Valpolicella or Chilean Carmenere is always nice.

Cabernet Sauvignon from Sonoma region in California

Cabernet Sauvignon from Sonoma region in California.
Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Stews of any sort call for bold reds. Whether lamb or beef, braised meats have that concentrated richness from the slow cook. I like to use a similar wine in the sauce while it simmers. Merlot, Malbec or Cabernet Sauvignon will enhance the flavours of the dish.

Roasted beef or lamb is rich protein and the flavours demand the structure of big Reds. I reach for Bordeaux Reds or Meritage Blends, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz or Nebbiolo to round out the meal.

This is a great time of year to explore the world of wine. Try a new producer, country or grape variety. Wine can be a fun and inexpensive way to ‘travel’ to warmer climes as we endure the storms of winter.

Malbec vineyard in Cahors, Southwest France

Vineyard in Cahors, Southwest France. Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Take a beautiful Malbec from Southwest France.

As you inhale the complexity of the aromas, close your eyes and imagine standing in the vineyards on a warm summer afternoon.

Works for me.

© Sue Gaviller and Not Another Gardening Blog 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sue Gaviller and Not Another Gardening Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.