One can frequently see references to “seasonal wines” in various publications. But what makes, for example, a “winter wine”?
First of all, no matter, which season you choose wine for it should posses a balance, moreover a perfect “winter wine” pairs well with heavy winter dishes like stews and gratains.
Rioja is a good example of a blend suitable for cold times. This famous Spanish wine is dominated by Tempranillo, often called king grape of Rioja. It possesses power, structure and strength, yet very smooth. Garnaxa or Grenache, is in there to intensify finesse and fruitiness. Graciano, variety, which is strong and austere often added for tannins and body. All together they improving one another and mixed in a bottle they make wine balanced.
This wine is easy to pair even with very robust winter foods. It can cut through fats of Oxtail Stew, Beef Bourguignon or Graitain de Cardone. At the same time, Rioja can offer a very much out of ordinary “winter wines”, which made of historically local to the region grapes, like for example Maturana Bianca.
Even though it is a white grape, it’s also giving “warm” wines. Describing them as “warm” means it is round on the palate, it smells less fresh and citrus and more of stone fruits, honey comb or spice, has a lasting finish or aftertaste. As for Maturana Bianca it soaks in the sun of summer to the point that later expresses it in form of tropical fruits, great volume and lengths on the palate.
Someone could find a lot of “coziness” in wines from Toro, Spain. They are comfort wines because they have a combination of vanilla and cinnamon on the nose. They can pair great with pies containing Christmas Spice.
The region is famous for its local clone of Tempranillo, grape called Tinta de Toro. Sometimes it is also called “the darkest of the darkest”. Usually if you pour it in the glass and look against a white background, such as a festive Christmas tablecloth, you won’t be able see through it. This is due to Tinta de Toro’s concentration and depth.
Such an intense body allows it to be served at room temperature. Thus Toro is a wine to drink during the cold winter months when one probably doesn’t want a cold drink. Its richness brings comfort.
Those full of flavours, sometimes cinnamon & pumpkin spice driven, wines from Rioja and Toro regions of Spain are truly “winter wines”, they will keep you warm during these cold days, they can bring you back bright memories of summer, they are easy to pair with winter hearty dishes and have a lot of interesting stories to be told about.