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Winter Warming Wines + Burns Night Supper

By Julia Jenkins, 22nd January 2022

Winter warming full of flavour wines are not just for Burns Night!

What better way to beat the new year blues and failed resolutions than by checking out some winter warming wines to complement the comfort foods such as stews and casseroles. When choosing wine keep the flavours simple and as many recipes call for the addition of wine only cook with wines you would enjoy drinking or they will add off flavours. Luckily, there are many robust full flavoured wines, both white and red, that will be great accompaniments to these dishes.

A useful rule of thumb to select a wine that will complement a meal is to take the main ingredient(s) and think of their flavours and this will lead you to the flavours needed in the wine chosen to drink with it. Although many casseroles will have a rich full flavoured sauce to go with it the best wines should be full flavoured with tangy almost savoury notes to balance the rich fruity notes.

Try Argentinian Malbecs or wines made from the Bonarda grape with their smooth rich dark juicy fruit flavours as they will complement the robust meatiness of a casserole or steak and full flavoured veggie stews. Similarly, a richer New World Shiraz from Australia such as those from McLaren Vale, the home of Aussie Shiraz, a Portuguese red from native grape varieties or a contemporary South African Pinotage will be a great match especially with a tagine.

Pinotage, the truly South African grape variety created to cope with that country’s climate and soils from a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsaut originally had difficult dry chewy fruit notes that tasted harsh and unpleasant. However, modern styles are lovely and fruity with a deep vibrant fruit flavour that have been carefully aged in oak to add complexity and depth of flavour.

Wines from the Rhone Valley in France are often made from a blend of Grenache & Syrah grapes that make a ripe fruity wine with some balancing acidity as do the Barbera and Sangiovese in Italy making them ideal to match and balance the robust food flavours whether meaty or veggie. Languedoc reds from Faugeres, & Minervois or a US Zinfandel deserve a try.

Alternatively, for a creamy fish pie or a mushroom or fish risotto seek out the soft fruity wines that have rounded yet refreshing flavours such as New World lightly oaked Chardonnay from Chile, minerally yet buttery South African Chardonnay & Viognier or an aromatic Argentinian Torrontes when you want to drink a white wine with its lovely tangy fruit and a lovely mouthfilling taste that makes it a good accompaniment with food.

It would be wrong to ignore Burns Night on January 25th – on this day, the traditional Scottish fare of haggis, neeps and tatties is eaten to celebrate the birthday of the Scottish poet Robbie Burns. A tasty haggis whether for meatlovers or vegetarians and vegans will have a mélange of spicy oatmeal notes. Many a Scotsman would say that only a good malt whisky should be drunk to complement the haggis, but a suitable alternative is a robust richly flavoured Australian Shiraz or the Ardiles Priorat from Northeastern Spain with its lovely full yet elegant deep savoury flavours, or an edgily fruity Italian Sangiovese Cabernet blend such as that from Banfi.

Best enjoyed whilst listening to the ‘The Address to the Haggis’ ……………….?

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