By: Larissa Dubose, Resident Wine Educator, The Lotus & The Vines
If you’re like me, then you’re a seasonal drinker when it comes to Wine. We enjoy crisp, light white Wines in the spring and summer months, and fuller-bodied red Wines in the winter months. Of course, we can’t forget about our beloved Champagnes and Rosés, these are year-round indulgences 😊.
Now that we’ve settled into the colder temperatures, follow this quick guide to some delightful red Wines that will give you all the “Warm and Cozy” feels, minus the obligatory (sometimes overly artificial) Pumpkin Spice and Gingerbread flavors. I selected the following wines because (for the most part), they are made in approachable styles that are easy to drink on their own and pair with food.
Pinot Noir: Lighter bodied, with fresh red fruit aromas and flavors like cherry, strawberry, and cranberry, Pinot Noir is the perfect transition from summer heat to the chill of fall and winter. If you already love Pinot Noir, make it a point to try one from a different region to expand your palate, and get your Passport Stamp by way of the wonderful world of wine. Some regions to visit on your trip to the wine shop include:
- Oregon: Willamette Valley, McMinnville
- California: Russian River Valley, Sonoma County, Santa Barbara
- Get a TLTV Passport Stamp from:
- New Zealand: Martinsborough
Beaujolais (Gamay): Beaujolais wines are very fruit forward and easy drinking. While wines labeled Beaujolais Nouveau are not complex and not meant for aging, Cru Beaujolais are amazing wines for the “holiday party/ holiday eating” season, as they’re very food friendly. I reference Beaujolais as one my “gateway reds”—meaning, if you’re looking to try more red Wines, the approachability and fruit-forward nature of these wines are a great fit. In addition to red and black fruits many Beaujolais denote a banana (think Banana Laffy Taffy) and candied aromas. These distinct aromas are due to a process called Carbonic Maceration (stay tuned to learn more about this process).
Vine Tribe Fact: We can’t get enough of wine celebrations! The third Thursday in November is Beaujolais Nouveau Day (BND). During this annual celebration of the current harvest, everyone gathers to taste the first fruit of their labor. On BND, we drink, are merry, and turn our sights to Cru Beaujolais for our Beaujolais desires afterwards. There are 10 villages/areas (Crus) in Beaujolais, and there are some serious wines from the Gamay grape made there.
- Get a TLTV Passport Stamp from these 10 Crus:
- Go to France with Beaujolais, the 10 Crus are: Fleurie, Morgon, Chénas, St-Amour, Régnié, Brouilly, Côte de Brouilly, Juliénas, Chiroubles, and Moulin-a-Vent.
Zinfandel: New World Zinfandels (California) are known for Jammy Red and Black fruit aromas and flavors. Peach yogurt is a unique aroma, which is indicative of California Zinfandels. For those Wine Lovers looking for a red with higher alcohol, try a New World Zin. These wines have higher alcohol because the Zinfandel thrives in hotter climates, which ensure that the grapes fully ripen, and higher sugar in the grapes can equate to higher alcohol.
- California: Lodi, Napa Valley
- Get a TLTV Passport Stamp from:
- Southern Italy: Primitivo is a very close relative of Zinfandel, and widely planted in the Puglia region of Italy (the heel of the boot). While this style is different from the ripe fruit forward nature of California, you’ll get a very cost-effective passport stamp for the Italian Food lovers in your circle. Use the thought “If it grows there, it will pair.”
Argentinian Malbec: Although it’s one of the Five Noble Grapes of Bordeaux, Malbec flourishes and has found popularity in Argentina. Looking in the glass, Malbec wines from Argentina have an undeniable bright purple color, that usually goes out to a magenta/pink rim. These wines have aromas and flavors of ripe black and blue fruits, like blackberry, plum, and blueberries to name a few. If you are a fan of Merlots from California, Malbec is an easy way to expand your palate!
- Get a TLTV Passport Stamp from the Southern Hemisphere with this fruit forward Wine!
I hope this quick TLTV Winter Wine Guide (part 1) is the first step to expanding your palate, while showing what Wine Knowledge and the evolving Wine Culture has waiting for you. Now, it’s time to put all this learning to work—make sure you share what you try on social media and the comment section below and stay tuned for Part 2! Cheers Y’all!