What’s your favorite wine? There’s a good chance your answer changes with the season.
During the cold winter months, we tend to comfort ourselves with rich, full-bodied wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Rhone blends and so on — the types of wines that go well with winter classics like braised short ribs, pot roast and meatloaf. Food that sticks to the ribs, and wine that warms the soul.
But now that things are warming up, comfort food can seem a bit heavy. We begin to crave lighter fare — salads, chicken, fish, etc. And lighter food calls for lighter wines — Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Grigio, et al.
Although it may seem so from the wines we’ve listed, it’s not a matter of strictly red wines in the fall and winter, and white wines in the spring and summer.
A more hearty white — such as an oak-aged Chardonnay — can be enjoyed any time of the year. So can a lighter red, such as a fruit-forward Pinot Noir or Beaujolais. (And for those among us who have no problem with breaking the “rules,” it can be a liberating experience to have a thick, juicy steak with a big, buttery Chardonnay… or Rotisserie chicken with Syrah.)
The real distinction we make in our wine preferences from season to season is less about color and more about weight. And that’s a good way to match food and wine, whether there’s a snowman or a sailboat outside your window.
We’re never going to be able to control the weather. Mother Nature is in charge of that. But by altering our wine preferences as each season morphs into the next, we can bring a little sunshine into our lives regardless of the time of year.