If you're unsure of the meaning, winter wines are those that are preferred during the cold winter months and that will help take the nip out of the air, giving you a toasty warm feeling all over. These are wines that are considered full-body and lush, as opposed to the light and refreshing wines you would enjoy during the summer months. If you're a wine lover, you understand the appeal of the wines of winter, and find that they're easily preferred over the standard winter beverages of hot cocoa or tea. Sure, those are all well and good, but how do they taste with a fine selection of cheese and olives?
When considering your options, you would probably prefer an elegant Cabernet Sauvignon or an earthy Chateauneuf-du-Pape. These are both complex wines with a hearty aroma and reassuring body. Neither needs to be very expensive, as they are both typically very fine choices regardless of vintage or name brand.
Reisling is another fine choice when it comes to winter wines. While still crisp and fruity as you would expect from a summer choice, it is intense with a typically rounded finish - perfect for those late winter lunches when you've slept in decided to spend all day inside. While still served slightly chilled, it's a perfect match for seafood or shellfish, or for when you want to just nibble some cheese in front of the fire.
Consider a good port as another choice when it comes to hearty wines. Aging these in wines in oak barrels means adding distilled grape spirits, often cognac, in order to boost the alcohol content. White port is also a good choice, and is served cold or slightly chilled; these range from dry to very sweet. Port is such a popular choice when it comes to winter wines that there are actually rules of etiquette that once surrounded its serving; typically the bottle is passed "port to port," meaning that the host pours a glass for the person to their right and then passes the bottle to their left; this is repeated until the bottle makes its way around the table. Of course, if it's just the two of you, it may be a good idea to be a bit more modest about this practice and save some for later!
Burgundy wines are also fine choices for winter, as they are typically the heaviest or most full-bodied wines there are. If you're looking to stay away from chilled wines and want something to keep you warm that's not too sweet but still full of flavor, burgundies are probably your best choice.
Winter wines are good options for the cold months when you're looking to try something new and want to get away from the overly fruity and sweet wines of summer. When you're stuck indoors and are looking for ways to keep yourself warm, you should definitely give your wine tasting some renewed attention with any of these options.
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