5 Great Winter Reds

Five wines to explore this winter


This could be so easy. Barolo, Amarone, Chateauneuf du Pape, Bordeaux, Port. Voila, done. All the greatest wines for winter and we can all stop, but that's not the point, that's rarely the point. The point is, especially vividly on this day, to discover.

Now granted for many those wines would be a discovery, but not for all. It's a proven list, uninteresting in it's lack of imagination. It's lack of effort, it's lack of fantasy. We remain in resolute mode. We will try new things, eat healthier, be kinder to people, listen more, not smoke nor eat cupcakes. And we will broaden our view, come hell or highwater!
I'm not sure of the purpose of all this, or if there is a purpose, other than that all encompassing “feel good”. But hey we all like to feel good, even deserve it at times. And so I'll make this list. Let's call it a feel good list. We feel good about ourselves. We are discovering, not following. Not so much leading as wandering a path well worn but infrequently passed. There are no leaders or followers here. There is not critical mass for such things. Just lovers and daydreamers, those of us who want to be alone, but not feel alone. 
If all this strikes you as absolutely out of character for a wine article, consider this. Wine is just a symptom of life. We need to pay attention to both in order to enjoy either! 
For each category of wine I’ve suggested three examples to try, at three distinct price points, $10, $20, and $30 per bottle. This should allow everyone to join in this journey of discovery, and make the cold first months of 2014 that much more enjoyable. Hey if we have to remain inside at least we can have some fun. We deserve it by golly!
Touriga Nacional is the main grape used to produce Port wines, another category of wines that gets an inordinate amount of attention as the weather turns cold, but today I want to talk about the dry table wines that it produces. Still flying a bit under the radar, these wines can be fabulous. Usually, but not always blended with other indigenous varieties, Touriga Nacional produces medium to full bodied wines with rich, leathery flavors that tend to be in the plummy, black berry, black cherry and blueberry end of the spectrum. Tannic but rarely hard, with attractive violet and licorice notes, these are perfect winter wines that pair well with hearty fare. The variety’s juicy acids and savory, spicy aspects make it a great wine for meaty dishes, particularly meaty dishes like a good steak or pot roast.

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  • Snooth User: Richard Foxall
    Hand of Snooth
    262583 4,006

    What a coincidence: On Friday I opened a bottle of Follies Touriga Nacional from one of Aveleda's properties. They also make a blend of TN and Cab which costs less. Tells you what they think of that native grape--it's worth seeking out and it's in that $20 band. On the Mourvedre end, it's too bad Jade Mountain doesn't still make it, and Halcon has started using it only as a blending grape--leaving us with very little in the way of US options for the grape--but Donkey and Goat makes one.

    Jan 13, 2014 at 4:22 PM

  • Snooth User: EMark
    Hand of Snooth
    847804 8,296

    "Halcon has started using it [Mourvedre] only as a blending grape." True, but their GSM, Esquisto ($20-$30 depending on quantity ordered), is awesome. Today Halcon's notice for their Winter 2014 Offer arrived, and my order is in.

    Sorry to get off-track, Greg.

    Jan 13, 2014 at 6:37 PM

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