The middle of winter is a fantastic time for enjoying wine especially for those normally to big, heady and sort of all-around-too-ballsy to be easily digestible any other time of the year.
WHEN, in winespeak, we say “big” we mean a wine, usually red (although there are arguably some whites that will qualify as big) with a thick coating mouth feel and a kick of tannin (mouth-drying astringency) and a whole lot of bramble and fruit to keep it interesting. Now, assy and horseshit laced reds are not everyone’s thing but some can be right down delicious and perfect for winter; hunt down a ten year old Chateau de Beaucastel Chateauneuf-du-Pape (Rhone Red, FR) and you’ll see what we mean. The trick here is in the match—these ain’t exactly sipping reds, but if you’d like to drink your jerky you certainly can. Winter reds, and we’re for the most part leaving big flashy California Cab who’s often gobsmacking fruit makes it more apt to drink on its own, are meant to be enjoyed with something to eat;
A Gentlemen’s Directory of Food and Wine Pairing: Winter Reds
- Big Steak: Old Bordeaux- St. Julien (Leoville-Barton) or St. Estephe (Haut-Marbuzet… if you can find it)
- Lamb, roasted or otherwise: Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Hermitage (both from the beloved Rhone, home of big rugged bacony reds that are delicious and perfect with anything lamb) – not to mention Barolo (Piedmont, IT), Pesquera (Ribera del Duero, SP), and anything Cabernet from… Washington (l’Ecole 45, Matthew’s, or Andrew Will to name a few).
- Roast or Stew: Porteguese Reds- they are wonderful (often a blend of Touriga Nacional and Cabernet).
- Short Ribs: Aglianico, old Barolo
- Ox-Tail: Rioja (we love Vina Tondonia)
 Clos Coulee de la Serrant by Nicolas Joly; Vina Tondonia Blanco 1998; and Belle Cote Chardonnay by Peter-Michael just to name a few that roll off the tongue.