Still Some Winter To Go

    The Wine Guy

    I’m not sure how right that groundhog ever is, but as I’m writing this, it’s 14 degrees and Spring still seems a long way away. Still plenty of time to enjoy stews, hot meat pies, soups-and some hearty wines to go with them.

    Big Smooth Old Vine Zinfandel, Lodi, California, 2015, ($26.99),this wine opens with some big, unmistakable notes of blackberries, figs and vanilla, all in smoky overtones thanks to the American oak aging. Like many higher-quality Zins, the texture of the late-harvested grapes in the blend gives it a long, rich finish-try this with a big bowl of Beef Barley stew on a cold wintery afternoon.

    Domaine de Beaurenard, Cote du Rhone, 2016, ($19.99), is a French wine with a Boston connection. When the Popes moved from Rome to Avignon, the Papal household set out to find the best wines for them.  One of the favorites of the Papal residents were the wines from the Bois Renaud, today known as Beaurenard and still owned by the Coulon family, there since 1695. A branch of the family moved to Boston in the early 20th century and opened the Vendome Hotel in the Back Bay. This wine and other family wines were prominent in their menus. It’s full-bodied and earthy, but with a balance and acidity that won’t overwhelm food, especially a Lamb stew and a nice baguette to go with it.

    2016 Richard Hamilton, “The Smuggler” McLaren Vale, Shiraz, ($26.99).  In its last vintage, it won 93-point ratings from both James Halliday (Australia’s No. 1 critic) and Sam Kim and the 2016 release is just as impressive. Crafted with estate-grown Shiraz and barrel aged for 18 months, it overflows with luscious blackberry and plum, plus notes of nutmeg, cinnamon, and chocolate. A perfect match for hearty barbecue, roasted meats, or rich vegetarian casseroles, not to mention a good, hearty beef stew.

    If you’re feeling like a good helping of Beef Bourguignon, you might want to pair it with a nice merlot. Novelty Hill Merlot 2015, Columbia Valley, Washington, ($21.99), is a great candidate. It’s got the earthy, leathery notes you’d expect to find in edgier wines, but the fruity notes you like in a food wine. If you’re stuck inside due to the weather, have some of this on hand and it won’t be too hard to take.

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