As the temperatures are currently plummeting in most of the country, it makes many of us want to stay in and get cozy. Personally, I love doing this by reaching for a bold, spicy red wine and a fuzzy blanket. Full bodied reds also tend to match well with hearty winter dishes, such as, stews, pot roasts and chili. If you need to help fighting the winter blues, then Wine Curations has you covered with some hearty red wine recommendations to warm you up!
Châteauneuf-du-Pape is in the South of France and means “pope’s new castle”. The seat of the Roman Catholic Church was in nearby Avignon from 1307 to 1377. CdP for short is known for its grenache based red blends. It can have up to thirteen grape varieties in it. They typically have raspberry and plum fruit flavors with earthy notes of herbs and leather.
Amarone is made from Valpolicella grapes and comes from the Veneto region in Northeast Italy. The grapes are dried for four to five months to concentrate the sugars. When the wine is made, the sugars are all fermented so this is technically a dry wine but the dried fruit flavors give an “illusion” of sweetness. Amarone is full bodied, with firm tannins balanced by higher acidity. It usually hovers around 15 to 16% ABV so beware!
Tempranillo is the king of Spanish grapes. It is grown in many regions of Spain. Look for reservas or gran reservas from Rioja, Ribera del Duero, Toro or aged ones from Castilla-León. With reservas, the wine is aged three years with one year in oak. With the gran reservas, the aging is a minimum of five years with eighteen months in oak. These are bold, dry and higher tannin wines. The spiciness is softened a bit with age and they tend to have nice vanilla and dried fruit characteristics.
Do not let this name full you because Petite Sirah is anything but small! This wine is known for its inky, dark color. Petite Sirah is used in many regions (most notably Bordeaux) as a blending grape. It was brought to California in the late 1800’s where people started to enjoy it on its own. They tend to have smoky fruit flavors of plum and blueberry with black pepper, dark chocolate and black tea.
When in Down Under, Syrah is known as Shiraz and it is the most widely planted red grape varietal in Australia. When in cooler climates like France, Syrah is medium bodied and earthier. When in the warm climates of Australia, the Syrah /Shiraz grape is bold and fruit forward. The Barossa Valley is one of the most famous examples of big Shiraz. However, almost all of the Australian wine regions will have nice examples to try.
We cannot write about hearty reds without mentioning Cabernet Sauvignon. It is one of the most popular grape varieties for good reason. Cabernet is also one of the more complex red wines and this is partly due to the fact that it is grown in so many different regions of the world. It takes on different flavor profiles depending if it comes from the old world versus the new world. However, wherever it is grown, it almost always tends to be a full-bodied red with dark fruit flavors with some pepper…can be black pepper to green pepper.