Wednesday, 26 October 2011
Well, it's official: I now have to get out of bed while it's still dark outside. Therefore, I officially refuse to eat salad until 2012, and I'm scouring the Sluttery recipes for the stodgiest, richest comfort foods to keep me warm and snuggly. These kinds of meals all seem to love a nice glass of hearty red, and so do I. Higher alcohol and fuller body tend to come from the hotter climates i.e. South of France and most of the New World (Chile and Australia especially), and younger reds from these places often have higher tannins (or grip in the mouth) that works particularly well with those humdinger meaty recipes.
Here are five of my favourites for slurping with food or sipping on the sofa:
Santa Rita 120 Carmenere 2010, £5.49 from Majestic if you buy two bottles
Chile totally runs the show when it comes to the Carmenere grape, especially examples from a good producer like the guys at Santa Rita. This gives a really authentic taste of Chile, and is soft, brambly and a teeny bit spicy.
Cotes du Rhone Plan de Dieu - £52 for six from M&S (around £8.67 per bottle)
Cotes du Rhone rocks my socks throughout the year as it's one of the most versatile food matches I know (so it pretty much doesn't matter what your comfort food of choice is), but the warm climate and robust grapes (Grenache, Syrah and Carignan in this case) give it oodles of body and round flavours.
Heartland Stickleback Red - £8.50 from The Wine Society
I was lucky enough to meet Ben Glaetzer, producer of these wines, last year, and he's a very savvy fella. His ethos is to be the best of what you are, whether that's an every day wine or the finest in the land. The Heartland Stickleback - as well as having the coolest name ever - is superbly made for the price, and full of warming spicy fruit. A fab food wine.
Finest Cotes Catalanes Grenache, £7.79 from Tesco
I seem to recommend a Southern French wine pretty much every week, but I can't resist: it's where I find stonkingly good value. Grenache is king of the hot climate grapes, producing wines that are almost invariably full-bodied, and this wine is rich, concentrated, and packed full of dark fruits.
Biferno Rosso Riserva 2004, £6.13 from Excel Wines
From the smallest region in Southern Italy, Biferno Rosso is a blend of Italian grape varieties that are particularly suited to the warmer areas of the country. This is an oak-aged, rustic Italian red with velvetty texture. Especially gorgeous with pasta, and a very decent price.
What's the wine you choose to keep you warm and toasty in the evenings? Let us know on Twitter and Facebook (and feel free to send us a hearty stew to eat it with...)
Image from superturtle's photostream under the Creative Commons License.