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Stay warm this winter with these heart-warming reds

Stay warm this winter with these heart-warming reds

Now that our run of mild weather has fully subsided and winter’s making its presence felt, I’m looking for evermore ways of staying warm, both physically and mentally. While the energy price hikes are making the former less favourable, I’ve resorted to areas that I do have control over.

Apart from spending the day re-arranging the warehouse, a sure way to stay warm I can tell you, I’m eating heartier meals and drinking more heart-warming wines, especially red wines.

Reds with more body, richer fruit and a little more alcohol. Even a little more tannin, although it doesn’t necessarily have to be obvious. Just enough to give you an overall sense of warmth and completeness, and that can stand shoulder to shoulder with whatever food it’s served alongside.

Here are my stand-out warming reds 

This week, I’m focusing on some of my stand-out red wines that will envelop you like a warming blanket and bring comfort on those chilly winter nights.

 

Cape Heights Pinotage, Western Cape

South Africa are making some of the best quality to value ratio wines at the moment. Their reds have continually improved over the past two decades, especially their signature red grape Pinotage, as they’re understanding how to better handle this unique variety. This improvement is also prevalent at the everyday-drinking level, as winemakers have been putting in much greater focus here too.

The Cape Heights Pinotage is a case in point with its vibrant, rich aromas and fleshy mouthfeel, full of plump dark fruit flavours. The tannins are soft and ripe and there’s just a hint of spice on the finish. At 14% this is warming but you wouldn’t know it. Ideal with marinated lamb, aubergine parmigiana or wild mushroom stroganoff.

 

Cellier des Princes, ‘Les Vignes du Princes’, Côtes du Rhône

The Rhône Valley has always been a reliable source of warming reds. If you’ve ever felt the effect of the Mistral wind in the winter months, you’ll understand why you need your reds to warm the blood! Home of the original ‘GSM’ blends (Grenache/Syrah/Mourvèdre), the Rhône has inspired winemakers as far flung as Australia, California, South Africa and Spain.

From a forward-thinking co-operative cellar, this Côtes du Rhône is brimming with rich fruit and warming spices in a powerful yet smooth red. Grenache dominates the blend at 80% with equal additions of Syrah and Mourvèdre. Raised in cement tanks, the wine is well aerated during fermentation, resulting in a more fruit-forward wine with less of the rustic characters associated with old-fashioned Rhône reds. Perfect with a game stew or hearty vegetable casserole.

 

Casa Vinironia, Appassimento Edizione Oro, Puglia

The southern Italian region of Puglia is not only famous for its olive oil production but also for its full-bodied jammy reds. The Italians have mastered a unique winemaking process that builds richness, fruitiness and body in their red wines known as Appassimento. By leaving the bunches of ripe grapes to hang and over-ripen on the vines, the grapes partially dehydrate and shrivel. This concentrates the sugars and flavour compounds and, once fermented, creates rich and generously flavoured wines.

Casa Vinironia is made by the Botter family from the Veneto region, and is similar in style to the famous Valpolicella Ripasso for which Veneto is renowned. A blend of Merlot, Primitivo and Negroamaro, the wine has an inky purple colour and lifted aromas of black fruits and bitter chocolate. It gives a broad, voluptuous sensation on the palate with black cherry, spiced plums and soft tannins. The finish is long and at 14.5%, this will pair perfectly with slow-braised meats and mature cheeses.

 

Cartlidge & Browne Cabernet Sauvignon, North Coast, California

Ever since the legendary Judgement of Paris Tasting in 1976 and the subsequent re-enactment tasting in 2006, California’s place in history, as a producer of world-class Cabernet, is written indelibly. Cabernet Sauvignon ripens here in a way that few other places in the world can rival.

This example is made by one of the region’s original garagiste winemakers with grapes sourced from some of the region’s best vineyards from Sonoma to the Sierra foothills. After a long fermentation, a third of the wine goes into French and American oak for around 8 months before bottling.

This is rich, deep-coloured and gorgeously fragrant. Broad in the mouth with that Californian signature opulence, the tannins are soft and very fine. The small addition of Petit Verdot and Merlot adds roasted coffee and rose petal notes to this delicious wine. Positively dreamy with a juicy rib-eye, lamb chops or a mushroom and parmesan pasta.

 

All these wines are incredible value so snap them up while stocks last!

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