Winter can be one of the most enjoyable seasons of the year and when there’s a cosy fire blazing why not have some fun matching a great red wine to seasonal ingredients? Lynne Coyle, Master of Wine, has some gorgeous pairing ideas that are perfect for a wintery evening.
"Planning hearty dishes based on the food specialities from the countries you have visited - or plan to visit in warmer seasons - is one of my favourite winter pastimes.
Here are a few suggestions to inspire your creativity and help you kick the winter off with some seasonally appropriate dishes matched with some tasty, food-friendly wines from Europe and Argentina."
€16.95 to €13.95
Enjoying a warming southern French red in winter really is a decadent treat. These vineyards are farmed organically in the Occitanie region. This Fitou wine is rich and concentrated and busting with ripe bramble fruit on the nose and palate. It matches beautifully with a homemade French onion soup, soft French goats’ cheese, and hunks of rustic bread.
Porta 6 2020, Lisbon, Portugal, €12.95 to €10.95
This is a smooth red with redcurrant notes underpinned by brambles and spice. Made with local grapes; Aragonês, Touriga Nacional, and Castelão, this really is an authentic Lisbon red. Match this easy-drinking wine with something simple such as the Lisbon speciality prego, a garlicky steak on a bread roll. What could be simpler or a more comforting wintery snack?
Monte Real Rioja Reserva 2017, Rioja, Spain, €21.95 to €12.95
The combination of aromas and flavours of ripe strawberry and blackberry along with the silky-smooth palate infused with layers of vanilla and sweet spice make this Rioja Reserva the perfect winter red. For a warming winter food match try with patatas a la Riojana; chunks of potatoes, garlic, chorizo, onions, and pimentón paprika or replace the chorizo with red peppers for the vegan version.
Ascheri Barolo 2017, Piedmont, Italy, €35.95 to €29.95
This is a modern fruit-driven Barolo that has a softness to the fruit and roundness to the palate which means it’s the perfect glass of red to pour with warming winter dishes. Winemaker Matteo Ascheri has made a truffle and blackberry scented wine with upfront fruit and superb depth of flavour. Match with pasta laced with wild mushrooms and a dash of truffle oil.
Norton Luján de Cuyo DOC Malbec 2018, Mendoza, Argentina, €18.95 to €12.95
From the fashionable Malbec grape, this is a full-bodied red from Argentina which is defined by freshness as the Malbec grapes are grown in high altitude vineyards in Mendoza. This wine is loaded with ripe red fruits and spicy pepper aromas and flavours, making it a classic warming winter red. The food match should be Buenos Aires style; in other words, anything from the asado or barbecue.
Gérard Bertrand Rivesaltes 2015, Languedoc, France, €27.95 to €23.95
Why not experiment with a sweet wine made from Syrah and Grenache grapes? It is rich and incredibly smooth with intense aromas and flavours of hazelnut, figs, dates, and raisins. Superbly complex notes mingle together in this “off the beaten track” tawny style from the south of France. An incredibly versatile food wine, match with anything from country pâté to crème catalane.
Brought to you in partnership with O'Briens Wines.