The Perfect Wines for This Winter Season

As the nights get colder and darker, and with more time spent inside and socializing with friends and family, it’s time to reach for a more comforting choice of wine. We tend to shift away from the rosé and stainless-fermented wines, leaning towards heavier, oak-aged varieties. The plummeting temperatures are a natural accompaniment to fuller-bodied reds and fortified wines, perfect for fireside nights and comforting, slow-cooked meals. From generous reds, for pies and stews, to warming fortified wines, Ideal Wine Company have a few tips on what to drink this winter.

Ideal Wine Company winter wine
The perfect wines to try this winter season.

Rich red wines

Unquestionably, red wines are an instinctive choice for this time of year. Big, rich red wines, usually with a higher alcohol content, are the most popular option. The major elements you’ll find in these wines are fruit, tannins and alcohol, with this interplay being key to the success of the wine. Not all big reds are the same, differing on their reliance on subtler fruit, warming spice or even strength. From this, we’ve created a list of popular wines to try:

  • Cabernet Sauvignon: with this classic choice, you’ll -get classic flavours of dark berry. These blackberry and blackcurrant notes will be complimented by chocolate and toffee. This luxuriousness is balanced out by medium tannins and a hint of spice, which make it a delicious heartening option.
  • Malbec: unsurprisingly, Malbec makes most lists of big red wines. With a smoky and rich taste, complimented by dark blackberry and blackcurrant, this dark red gives earthy and plush aromas. The structured tannins and warm oak lend itself to a bloom of spice on the finish, making it no surprise this wine is a firm favourite for winter months.
  • Rioja: another structured and fruity wine, Rioja provide a lot of character. The ripe plum and berry taste is balanced by its moderate tannins, spice and cocoa. A perfect wintery choice.

Balancing fortified wines

Making the perfect addition to winter food, fortified wines get their extra alcoholic kick through the addition of another spirit. They are great choices for balancing out the season’s sweet food, with rich flavours such as toffee, coffee, nuts and spices. Our recommendations include:

  • Amontillado Sherry: part of the anti-sweet wave, this sherry promises a subtle, bitter finish that will cleanse your palate of any overly sweet festive food. With tastes of toasted walnut, burnt sugar and bitter orange peel, this sherry is perfect as an ending to a meal or to accompany a sweet treat.
  • Rasteau Vin Doux Naturel: this sweet red wine is made of 90% Grenache and is the perfect pairing for chocolate. Through its notes of sweet raspberry, exotic spices, cocoa powder and Darjeeling tea, this perfectly matches so many winter comfort foods. From chocolate treats, such as truffles and yule logs, to blue cheese, this warming choice is always sure to be a hit.

The Perfect Wines for Autumn

Autumn is now well and truly upon us. While you may find yourself lamenting the loss of summer whites and rosés, Ideal Wine Company has plenty of recommendations to carry you through these shorter days and longer nights. This week, we bring to you five of our favourite wines for the autumn season.

Ideal Wine Company autumn wine
We’ve picked the best wines for the upcoming autumn months.

Primitivo/ Zinfandel – autumn in a bottle

These Italian and California red wines are the perfect start to your autumn collection. Both originating from the same grape, these two wines share many similarities. In their richer styles, with ABVs over 15%, the predominant flavours are jam and smoke. With notes of cinnamon, raisin, chocolate and tobacco, this wine is autumn in a bottle. With California producing an array of delicious primitivo and zinfandel wines, regions to look out for include Lodi, Napa Valley, Sonoma Valley and the Sierra Foothills.

Grenache – delicious no matter what

Arguably one of the most autumn-ready wines, Grenache is the obvious choice for this season. Character varies from region to region, with dried strawberry and herbs prominent notes in France and Italy and raspberry and clove being key in Spanish, Australian and American varieties. While there are changes between regions, the wine itself remains delicious no matter what. It’s hard to go wrong with this wine, but regions to particularly look at are Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Cannonau, Paso Robles, Columbia Valley, South Australia and Aragon.

Rhône/GSM Blends – perfect for colder nights

Following on from Grenache, Rhône and GSM (Grenache-Syrah-Mourvèdre) blends provide a more robust take on those berry and clove notes. With additional flavours of lavender, baking spice, and green herbs, this wine is perfect for the colder nights. Great regions to look out for are Côtes du Rhône, Priorat, Central Coast California and Columbia Valley.

Carignan – perfect food pairing

As many producers are reinvigorating old vineyards, Carignan is finally starting to shed its low-quality reputation. This affordable medium-bodied red is perfect for the autumn season. It is known for its cranberry, cured meats, and baking spice flavours. As this wine pairs so well with foods synonymous with autumn, such as turkey and root vegetables, it has been called its own ingredient in seasonal dishes.  Regions to look out for include Languedoc-Roussillon, Central Chile, and Carignano del Sulcis-Sardinia. In addition, as Carignan vines are productive, try to seek out old vines where you can.

Sémillon – full-bodied flavour

Autumn isn’t just the season for red wines, this is also the time to enjoy a full-bodied white wine too. With notes of honey and almond, this Bordeaux grape is often blended with Sauvignon Blanc. In doing this, an otherwise lush and mouth-filling wine welcomes a new invigorating hint. This makes a perfect choice as a pour for the autumnal dark green vegetables, as well as pairing well with root vegetables. When looking to buy this wine, find one with some age or oak on it, and look out for wines made in the regions of Pessac-Léognan, Napa, Sonoma, South Africa, and Columbia Valley.