The daffodils are starting to show as we head into spring but there are still plenty of cold nights ahead – these should call for some hearty warming cuisine and a rich robust red wine to accompany.
Australian Shiraz is a good starting point. Typically although these wines tend to have firm tannins, the tannins are sun ripened and approachable, this coupled with rich black berried fruits and often hints of spice and pepper make the wines a perfect match for wintering warming slow cooked casseroles.
Image Source: http://jakedolosa.tumblr.com/
Rioja also works well with winter fare and although generally less tannic than Shiraz, it often has a delicious slightly nuanced sweetness when the wine has been aged in American oak. Rioja works with red meats, game and strong cheese. Look for ripe summer fruits, hints of vanilla underpinned by a refreshing acidity on the palate.
One of the most intense, rich robust red wines is Amarone. This richness comes from the loft drying of the grapes before fermentation – this concentrates all of the flavours in the grape and thus the wine is regularly called “meditation wine” in the Veneto because the flavours are so complex and varied.