There's no better match for cold winter evenings and warm, hearty dinners than red wine. But with so many wine varieties out there, how do you know which bottle to buy?
Follow this guide for recommendations on the best red wines to pair with your winter recipes, whatever your price range.
Beef with Cabernet Sauvignon
Whether it's a roast, ribs, BBQ steak or chilli, beef demands a bold red that won't be overwhelmed by its rich flavours. While Shiraz is a good fit, Cabernet Sauvignon is a better choice for hearty dishes. Its high tannin content counteracts the bitterness of outdoor grilling, and its dark fruit notes enhance the flavours of rosemary and other herbaceous roasts.
Lamb with Shiraz
Lamb is a lighter roast than beef, and you should follow suit with a medium-bodied red that won't drown out the flavours but will still make a strong impression. Shiraz strikes the perfect balance, complementing the savoury flavours of your roast with hints of cured meat, blueberry and coffee and a spicy pepper finish. Shiraz is a versatile wine that also works well with beef or rich poultry dishes.
Pork with Pinot Noir
Like chicken, pork is one of the most flexible meats for wine, and can be just as well matched to red or white depending on the cooking method and sauce used. Red is still the preferred choice however, especially fruity varieties such as Pinot Noir which brings out the flavours of roast pork and chops with its ripe plum and blueberry notes.
Italian with Zinfandel
It's no surprise that flavourful red sauces require a potent red, and Zinfandel has the crisp fruitiness to take them all on. You may not associate winter with ripe fruit flavours, but no other wine pairs so well with tomato sauce, spaghetti, meatballs and Parmesan combined. If there's any left, Zinfandel is also a great match for chocolate desserts.
Tapas with Tempranillo
Think warm thoughts this winter by serving a tapas lunch paired with warm climate Tempranillo. This Australian red deserves to be better known, boasting sweet cherry and plum flavours with spicy notes of aniseed.
Sweet and sour with Rosé
The middle ground between red and white, Rosé is fruity without being overwhelming, and it's one of the only wines that can truly complement sweet and sour pork and chicken dishes.
Chocolate with Merlot
Crisp, dry and deep blue in hue, Merlot is considered one of the most approachable red wines for non-drinkers and is a fine companion for milk chocolate. For dark chocolate, a more robust Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir or Zinfandel may be called on.
Cheese and cakes with Tawny Port
It's not strictly a red wine, but for many people Tawny Port serves the same function, only with flavour and alcohol content enhanced to tackle the stronger flavours and sweetness of after-dinner desserts. Port complements dried fruit and nuts in cakes just as expertly as it contrasts strong-flavoured cheese, and it's also a classic winter warmer when served on its own.
18 / 05 / 2016