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Wines For Winter

By Kylene Keith

The holiday decorations have been packed into boxes and returned to the attic, the guests have all gone home, the house is empty and you couldn’t be more relieved. It’s cold outside and all you want to do is cuddle up with some comfort food and a rich and satisfying glass of wine. While crisp, dry whites and fruity rosés hit the spot in the hot summer months, full-bodied reds and creamy whites fit the bill in the winter. Who needs hot cocoa when you can drink a lush and elegant Cabernet Sauvignon with notes of dark chocolate? Why prepare a kettle of hot tea when you can sip a complex and earthy Chateauneuf-du-Pape with aromas of dried flowers? Here are some comforting winter recipes to serve alongside your favorite winter wines.

Jody Adams’ Provençal-Braised Beef with Orange and Black Olives
This slow-cooked dish has a definite Italian influence that immediately signals a complementary wine from the same country. Brunello di Montalcino, made from a clone of the Sangiovese grape, will match the heartiness of the dish with its opulent flavors, solid tannins and full body. Zinfandel is another varietal that has the big fruit flavors and spicy nuances to stand up to this recipe.

Barbara Scott-Goodman’s Risotto with Porcini and Portobello Mushrooms and Red Wine
An earthy and rustic red wine is ideal for a recipe involving mushrooms. Wines from the Southern Rhone not only provide these earthy qualities, but they also have the full body and round texture necessary to match a dish as rich and creamy as risotto. A trick to making the wine harmonize with the dish is to drink the same wine you use in the recipe.

Jose de Meirelles’ Lamb Shanks with Fruited Couscous
Try this flavorful dish with a bold and elegant Cabernet Sauvignon. Delicious wines from this grape are being made all over the world. A fruit-forward example from Napa Valley will especially complement the fruited couscous on the side.

Dante Boccuzzi’s Pepper Seared Quail with Cherry Jus and Thyme-Baked Artichokes
Pinot Noir is an inspired pairing for this recipe because it displays the red fruit that will complement the cherry jus and an earthy quality that will match the Jerusalem artichoke puree incorporated in the dish. A Red Burgundy is the classic choice, but you should also look to Oregon, California and even New Zealand for tasty Pinots.

Mark Allen’s Pan Roasted Whole Monkfish with Carrots, Lardons and Potato Puree
Chardonnay and Viognier are two white wines that will have no problem standing up to this firm and flavorful fish. They’re also fantastic white wines to drink on a cold winter’s night because they have the creamy texture and abundant fruit flavors to warm you up from the inside out.

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