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Monday, November 30, 2015

Now That Rosé Season is Over What to Drink?

Remember these days?
Warm days of wearing shorts with a glass of chilled wine in your hand are now a distant memory for most. Rosé wines seemed to be the new darling of warm weather beverages, but what do we drink now that things are a little nippy out there?

Wine varieties are seasonal meaning that Rosé doesn't hit the spot so well when it's below freezing any more than a heavy Cabernet on a hot, humid afternoon in August.

So, yes, wine varieties are definitely seasonal. Beer makers put out seasonal beers--lighter, crisper ones in the summer, and heavier, darker beers in the winter. We can go the same route with wine.

For white wines a full-bodied Chardonnay, Viognier or white Rhone-style blend works well. The Chards are easy to find, the Viogniers and blends less so. Serve at a cellar temperature in preference to refrigerator temp (upper 50s rather than 45 degrees).

In reds there are lots more choices. I drink lots of Pinot Noir in warmer months as it's a lighter red. In colder weather I go for heavier wines such as Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. There are lots of Syrah- and Cab-based blends, also.

Zinfandel can be an all-weather wine. Some types are light and fruity enough to make good summer wines, especially with grilled meats. Some of the heavier ones do well in the winter. California Zinfandel is one of the most versatile wines readily available. Not just seasonal, but with different types of food from grilled chicken slathered in BBQ sauce to spaghetti and meatballs (a great winter meal) to grilled beef.

Merlot has similar versatility. Just be aware there is lots of mediocre Merlot in the inexpensive price range. If you want a real winter wine for a real winter night open a Petite Sirah. Don't forget the Port-style wines for dessert.

Winter? Bring it on!
Image from

A few examples (there are many more) that are reasonably priced and somewhat easy to find:
  • Sonoma-Cutrer, Chateau St. Jean, or Rodney Strong Chardonnay (multiple offerings from each)
  • Arrowood Viognier
  • Gundlach Bundschu Mountain Cuvee (red blend)
  • Trentadue Merlot
  • Balletto, Alexander Valley Vyds, or Cline Syrah
  • Pedroncelli or Foppiano Petite Sirah
  • Dry Creek Vineyards, Seghesio, or Pedroncelli Zinfandel (multiple offerings from each).
  • Beringer Knight's Valley Cabernet, Kenwood Jack London Zinfandel