Is there such a thing as a winter wine? Technically the best wine for the occasion is whichever one you want to drink. However, because we tend to gravitate toward specific foods in the winter and during the holidays, we also tend to gravitate toward the wines that go so well with them. Below I’ve listed a few of my favorite wines to drink during the winter months.
Cabernet Sauvignon–The setting: This wine is perfect for a winter night right after the plow leaves that mountain of snow at the bottom of your driveway. Wait until your neighbor with the new snow blower arrives home from work. Just as he’s pulling into his driveway, make your way to the mailbox with a fake limp and your grandfather’s old cane. Smile, wave, and go back inside and pour a glass of Cabernet. Then watch from the window while he clears the obstacle for you. He’ll feel good because he’s helping someone in need. You’ll feel good because it’s so warm inside.
Cabernet Franc–The setting: Keep a bottle of this wine on hand for when a relative brings lutefisk to the holiday meal. As you pour the wine into your glass, adopt a pained expression and explain that unfortunately lutefisk doesn’t go well with Cab Franc but you look forward to eating it tomorrow when leftover lutefisk is a holiday tradition after ice skating. True, you haven’t skated since you were four years old and the dish won’t make it out of the refrigerator until it has to be thrown away but your relative is left happy knowing that they’ve contributed to your holiday tradition. You’re left happy drinking delicious Cab Franc.
Merlot–The setting: Choose Merlot when it’s time to wrap gifts. Tell your husband/wife you’ll get some cheese and crackers and pour some wine and will be right back to help. Stay in the kitchen while they get lost in the task at hand. Pour two glasses and begin to sip. Periodically clink glasses together and yell “Are we out of Brie?” Sip some more. Open and close a few drawers. When gifts are wrapped, return with two glasses while complimenting his or her progress.
This week’s recommendation is a blend of all three of these wines.
Hook & Ladder 2007, The Tillerman ($17.99): Delicious and perfect with hearty stews and other big winter meals. Also a perfect wine to enjoy while not gift wrapping, shoveling, or eating lutefisk.