Brilliant Wine Pairings for the Best of the Winter Season
While we may not associate winter with a larder bursting with seasonal fare, you can bet there’s still plenty of good dishes to be eaten. The sweet fruits and smoky barbecues of June and July are still a way off but trust us, you’d regret not taking advantage of all the delicious foods currently in season. But what’s food without wine? Here are some of our favourite pairings for the dishes du jour.
Full of gamey flavour yet still quite lean, venison is sorely underrated. Roast it, braise it, make it into a stew. Just don’t go overboard with the tannins when you’re choosing a wine to drink with your venison. As a leaner meat, you’ll want to opt for reds that fall low to medium on the tannin scale – the lack of fats means that tannins may very well overwhelm your palate.
Our recommendations? Cool climate, elegant Pinot Noir like Devil’s Corner Pinot from Tasmania or a fruity, slightly gamey Rhône red which leads with Grenache. With its black cherry flavours and oh so smooth finish, Paul Jaboulet’s Côtes du Rhônes Villages ‘Plan de Dieu’ is just the ticket.
It’s still truffle season, so you’d better get your hands on these little nuggets of white gold while they last. They’re a perfect treat for the gourmand in your life, especially with Valentine’s Day right around the corner. If you’re splashing out for dinner, perhaps making a truffle-laden risotto for two, there’s only one way to go: white Burgundy. Avoid heavy oak or overly fruity styles to let the truffles in your dish shine. A Burgundy-esque New World Chardonnay would also work quite nicely.
For the carnivores out there who have their eyes on a something like a perfectly grilled steak with freshly shaved truffles or a truffle sauce, look no further than Nebbiolo. With its rich, earthy aromas (not unlike truffles) and high tannins and acid, a classic Nebbiolo like Fratelli Ponte’s Barolo is ideal. It will both complement the truffle flavours and cut through your steak while offering up a touch of spice, gorgeous blackberry fruit, and a bouquet of roses on the nose and palate.
If you blew your entire dinner budget on procuring fresh truffles, there’s no need to fret. You can’t go wrong with our 2010 Château Gontier Côtes de Blaye. This red Bordeaux comes from one of the best vintages in recent years and is mature enough to do your truffles justice.
You’ve got quite the selection for both shellfish and fish at the moment. Clams, mussels, scallops, and oysters. Keep things light and zesty with loads of acidity. Muscadet is a favourite for shellfish and L’Oiseau d’Or Muscadet Sur Lie, with its citrus and wonderful slightly saline minerality, has the right amount of bright acidity for any shellfish dish.
One other thing to bear in mind. When it comes to pairing wine and fish, it’s all down to the preparation. Obviously, white wines are the go-to but you can get a bit cheeky and serve up a rosé with grilled mackerel. Bodegas Navajas Rioja Rosado Joven is packed with red berry fruits and has enough body and bite to keep your palate refreshed between bites.
And who said the champers had to be stashed away for special occasions? You can crack open a bottle of bubbly with any of the fruits of the sea during the week.
There are so many seasonal delights to stick your fork into this winter, who cares when spring arrives? The best part is that there’s a wine out there for every conceivable dish, and you’ll never grow bored exploring the options.
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