Winter is for wine; actually wine is for the four seasons. But in winter, wine is more captivating and thrilling. It enhances the meals and the moments and is camera for the memories and wondrous times with family and friends.
There are many thoughts of what wines are appropriate. There are no limits but there are wines that I either don’t consider or decrease in the colder months.
But the wine that I never anticipate or look forward to in any way is Beaujolais Nouveau (Gamay). Some retailers ‘unveil’ this wine with great enthusiasm as an ideal Thanksgiving wine. But it is this wine that is wholly un-interesting wine that is made into a marketing spectacle. Beaujolais Gamay is not a showcase wine for Thanksgiving and the holidays—perhaps the marketing angle is that it is a soft, and in my opinion nearly devoid of any significant flavor characteristics, and ‘easy’ red wine to enjoy. But because this wine has nothing interesting to offer the best way to sell this wine is through “unveiling” and brightly colored labels. Introducing a novice to this wine would be a way to stop them on a journey to wine. One might think that all other wines are this un-interesting. But truthfully there are many varietals that are enticing and that many novices would enjoy consuming. After all tasting is believing.
The wines for winter are wines that have body, complexity, style and an ability to be evocative; evocative to transport to not just feeling good but a feeling of sterling and starlit evenings. This year, and as in years passed the winter is about enjoying wines that are complex and evocative. It is obvious that we do not want to consume wines that are only calorie building. If I am going to gain some calories each sip will count.
I am enjoy Pinot Noirs from Sonoma Coast and Willamette Valley; Malbecs from Argentina and America; rich and bold southern Italian wines like Negroamaro, lighter and depthful wines like Aglianco, Dolcetto’s from Italy and the US have commonalities and wide ranging differences but are arresting in the per ounce enjoyment they give.
I am looking at Riesling to start an evenings worth of eating; starting by enjoying of zest and bold acids; a highly differentiated from Chardonnay and the old world styles of Alsace bring together the original notion of what these spectacular wines offers and even a vision of what are palettes are seeking. Alsatian whites are subtle, spicy, high acid, low alcohol and pack a lot of nuances for complete enjoyment.
A rich and bold Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot can be satisfying and the thicker the tannin the longer time to enjoy the festivities and to slow down and enjoy the wine you have before you. I have also been enjoying a highly fruited (not to be confused with a berry bomb) like Charbono can bring a meal together or even as a standalone wine can bring great enjoyment.
And lastly tis the season for Champagne and sparkling wine. There is a vast menu of Champagnes available and I am seeking smaller production wines; not just the obvious marquee label that many gravitate to. I think many gravitate to a marquee label so those being served this wine have a sense of comfort and enjoy—a social pizza slice that you have had before. But the artistry is with the smaller producer who for any lack is that the market has not properly understood their wines. I do like a Brut or Rose this time of year. I do think the balance of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay help to codify the festivity at hand and bring together the taste of understanding and captures the memories of the season.
I will be blogging on specific wines for the season–more to come. Happy Holidays!
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