Even if you hate being cold, you’ve got to love Winter! Nothing brings family and friends together like a toasty Winter dinner party. And if you crave soul-warming Winter comfort food in the cooler months, then it’s time to heat things up in the kitchen! Here’s 3 of our favourite winter food and wine pairings to consider for your next gathering.
A worldwide wine phenomenon Cabernet Sauvignon tends to be medium or full bodied and marries well with hearty Winter food including roast meats and more robust, complex dishes such as Coq au Vin. And because a good Cab Sav has hints of herbaceous characteristics, it is ideal with fayre flavoured with other herbs like rosemary, sage, mint or fennel. Our top suggestion is a slow roasted garlic-studded lamb with fresh mint sauce.
WINE PAIRING: Wolf Blass Gold Label Cabernet Sauvignon
TOP TIP: The slight bitterness of chargrilled meats matches well with Cabernet, as does Chinese beef and black bean sauce, however, avoid pairing Cabernet Sauvignon with Curries as the strong tannins tend to clash with hot spices.
The great thing about an aromatic and silky Pinot Noir is its versatility. It is a perfectly suited wine to pair with a broad range of food because of its bright acidity, complexity, and rich fruit character. Fruit-laden Pinot Noirs dance happily with salmon, roast chicken and pasta dishes. While bigger, more tannic versions marry well with duck, stews and hearty casseroles. If you’re a vegetarian then Pinot Noir also sings tunefully with root vegetables. Our top suggestion is roasted root vegetables with fennel, garlic & thyme.
WINE PAIRING: Two Tails Marlborough Pinot Noir
TOP TIP: There really isn’t too much truth to the idea of serving red wine at room temperature, if a red wine is too warm the alcohol completely highjacks the subtle flavours of the drop. Lighter drops such as Pinots are best served at a slightly cooler temperature, anywhere from 12 to 15 degrees is fine. To cool a wine down you can always place it in the fridge for 20 minutes before serving it. After opening and either decanting or serving, it’s perfectly fine to leave the wine bottle open on the table.
If you’ve never tried Spanish Tempranillo then Winter is as good a time to start as any. Characterised as either medium to full bodied it has a similar taste profile to Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon. Tempranillo is the primary grape in Spain’s most famous red wine blend, Rioja. A good Tempranillo delivers divinely distinctive flavours of leather and cherries with a smooth finish that lingers on the palate. New World Tempranillos (USA, Argentina, Mexico for example) deliver more fruit forward flavours like cherry and tomato. Perfect with everything from tapas, hamburgers, pasta and pizza it is ideal for a casual get-together or a Winter barbie. Our favourite food match is butter and garlic chicken Wings.
WINE PAIRING: Elefante Primero Tempranillo
TOP TIP: Pick food that is not excessively reliant on tomato as the main flavour. This is not a wine that is overly acidic and dishes that have a heavy tomato base can overwhelm it.