The Best Winter Food & Wine Pairings
Winter food is all about eating something that makes you feel warm and satisfied and fights off the cold bite in the air. There are several wines that can do the same thing, and combining the two will leave you with a meal that will tick every box.
Choosing a wine and food flavor profile is like choosing a vape liquid; you want layers of flavor that leave you wanting more and satisfied. Here are some of the best Winter food and wine pairings around.
What to Look for in a Winter Wine
When choosing a Winter wine, you should consider a few aspects. The first is how heavy and rich the wine is; do you want something that matches the richness of the food, or would you prefer a lighter drink that cuts through the heaviness?
Winter wines are generally best served at room temperature. Summer wines tend to be served chilled, which helps them feel more refreshing, while Winter wines are served at room temperature to warm you up and bring out the flavors and aromas.
Finally, a good Winter wine will have a deep color, be rich in flavor, and be less fruity. Winter wines contain more tannins and tend to have a heavier taste and mouth-feel.
Best Winter Wines
When it comes to choosing a Winter wine, a lot of it does come down to personal taste, but there are a few standout wines that tend to work better with Winter food and meals than others, ranging from both red wines and white wines.
Cab Sav is widely regarded as one of the most versatile wines out there. It is rich in flavor and aromatics, with a hint of sweetness. It is drier than white wines but still smooth enough to be enjoyed by wine lovers and wine lovers alike.
Shiraz is another popular wine that can have a relatively broad flavor profile. Some varieties of Shiraz are lighter, while others are more savory. The wine has notes of smoke, coffee, and earthy notes, and is a wine that almost perfectly represents a hearty Winter dinner.
On the lighter side, one of the best white wines to choose from is Chenin Blanc. Chenin’s tend to be slightly fruiter, with hints of nutmeg, honey, oak, pear, and apple. If you want something that will give you Winter warmth without the heaviness of a Shiraz or Cab Sav, Chenin Blanc is a more than an adequate option.
If you want a wine that is packed with flavors like caramel, butter, and vanilla, then look no further than a Chardonnay. While not the most obvious Winter wine choice, it gives you that feeling of being wrapped up on a couch with a fire going while watching your favorite movie.
Hailing from a specific region in Portugal, Port is a fortified wine that uses unaged brandy. While it does have a higher alcohol level, the rich and warm flavors make it the perfect drink to sip over dessert or after dinner by the fireplace.
Soup is one of the most popular dishes to make during Winter. The rich and creamy flavors make you feel ultra-cozy, and the variety of soups ensures there is something for everyone, no matter what you like.
When choosing a wine that pairs well with soup, a white wine such as Chenin has just enough acid to cut through the richness and fat. It is lighter and offers balance for a hearty soup or stew.
When it comes to roasted food, some of the classic wine rules apply. If you are cooking lighter ingredients such as fresh veggies, a white wine like Chenin or Cab Sav pairs perfectly with it; light meat and light wines have gone together for centuries.
If you are cooking something heavier such as potatoes, or other root vegetables, then a rich red wine should be on the menu. The type of red wine is up to you, but find something that matches the flavors and mood of the meal.
Vegan Cheese Boards
Cheese boards have become a very popular Winter snack or meal. If you have a board that is more dense and includes breads and richer foods, opt for red wine. If there is more vegan cheese, a white wine, usually sweeter, is a brilliant option.
Considering gratins are usually very cheesy and creamy, they can be very hearty and rich. To combat this, opt for a more acidic white wine; the acid will cut through the fat and richness and not only balance the dish but leave you with a clean and crisp palette afterward.
If you are ready to dig into a bowl of pasta with a tomato-based sauce, you shouldn’t look any further than red wine. Do like the Italians do and pour a glass of a rich red such as a Cab Sav or a Shiraz. The aromas and flavors pair beautifully, and you will feel like you are enjoying a delicious Winter dinner on the streets of Rome or Florence.