The winter is a time when we enjoy learning, reading a good book or listening to some nice, relaxing music in the comforting warmth of our homes. Preferably near the fireplace for those of us who are lucky to have one. The winter is also a great time to indulge and sip some full-bodied, concentrated wines while doing any of the aforementioned activities. Some wines are so elegant and rich that they bring a smile of satisfaction and enhance the spiritual experience while debating a Rashi with our chavruta.
The Flam Reserve Merlot is a rich, complex and refined wine from Israel, made by the world-class winemaker Golan Flam. This wine is full of flavors of ripe blueberries and plums as well as earthy notes, with good acidity and hints of dark chocolate that linger on the long finish. This type of wine would pair perfectly alongside a seared duck breast in a blackberry sauce with sautéed green beans.
For those who prefer something a bit lighter, the Herzog Russian River Chardonnay never disappoints. This remarkable white wine from Sonoma in California highlights the savory notes of a veal roulade in a creamy mushroom sauce with class and elegance. The slightly oily texture of this wine with sublime notes of Granny Smith apple as well as hints of roasted almonds is also perfect with roasted chicken and crispy rice.
Château Haut Condissas is the overachiever of Bordeaux. While not a “member” of the exclusive club of the great growths from the 1855 classification instituted by Emperor Napoleon and his regime, it impresses professional tasters and critics year in, year out, outperforming many of those Grands Crus Classés in blind tastings. This gorgeous wine can age for well over a decade from the harvest and develops over time notes of smoke, freshly turned earth and ripe strawberries, perfect while listening to the 5th symphony of Beethoven or the latest hit of Avraham Fried.
Spicy food is quite warming too, especially Indian food, and thus perfect for a cold winter night dinner. Wines made with the Syrah/Shiraz varieties are growing in popularity as being surprising yet delicious with such dishes. For instance, the Binyamina Reserve Shiraz tastes amazing with a plate of lamb vindaloo, the black fruit flavors and spicy notes giving additional umami notes to the gamey and juicy characteristics of this traditional Indian dish.
While watching the snow falling quietly on the front lawn through the window, a glass of Porto Cordovero is a treat with hot chocolate brownies and fresh raspberries. You won’t even think about the summer while sipping it, comfortably wrapped in a cuddly and soft blanket on your couch. Stay warm! L’chaim!
By Gabriel Geller
Gabriel Geller is a wine consultant with Royal Wine.