This is a sponsored post by Laithwaites and includes affiliate links. All opinions and words are my own. Laithwaites are also offering TC readers 20% off purchases of 12 bottles or more when using the code: CORK20 (see further details at the bottom of this post).
I don’t know about you, but once the cooler weather starts to roll in for the year my thirst for red wine heightens. There’s something simply delicious about a nice big glass of red wine at the end of a cold winter’s day while snuggled up on the couch, do you feel me?
Therefore to help make this winter a bit more bearable, I want to share some winter reds to help keep you nice and warm. So, here are five red grape varieties that I will be filling my glass up with this winter:
Drink this if you like: Barossa Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon
Food pairings: Red meat winter dishes – lamb pie with mint, roast meats, beef stroganoff or casserole and if you’re not a meat eater then a hearty lentil and black bean dish would be perfect
Touriga Nacional is one of Portugal’s top five red wine grape varieties. It’s known for making bold, deep, dark wines with an abundance of tannins and concentrated flavours. It has the same sort of ageing potential as Cabernet Sauvignon, so if you’re drinking it young, then perhaps pull out the decanter to let it breathe for an hour or so before you delve in. Or use an aerator.
Common flavours/aromas include juicy plums, blueberries, violets, mint and wet rocks. Here in Australia, you’ll find it grown in regions like McLaren Vale, Langhorne Creek and the Barossa Valley.
Try this one: Vinha do Fava Touriga Nacional ($15) is a must-try Touriga having won nearly 30 Golds in five vintages and was listed as “Best Portuguese wine” by The Independent last year! Founded nearly 100 years ago, the winery has been run by three generations of women, with the fourth waiting in the wings. Go ladies!!
Durif / Petite Sirah
Drink this if you like: Shiraz (you will also find some awesome Durif & Shiraz blends)
Food pairings: Spaghetti bolognaise, beef ragu, oxtail gumbo, rich meat dishes
If you didn’t already know, I am a major fan girl of red wine made from the Durif grape. It is also known as Petite Sirah in some circles and the wine it produces is typically full-bodied, tannic and rich. Perfect for winter!
Plus it is normally quite high in alcohol sitting at around the 14-15% mark, so one way or another, it’s going to warm you up on those chilly evenings.
In Australia, you can find it in regions like Perth’s Swan Valley, Rutherglen, Barossa Valley and Riverland.
Try this one: Caravan Petite Sirah ($13) is an Aussie Petite Sirah aka Durif and is made by Jimmy Watson Trophy winner (the most prestigious and sought after wine award in Australia) John Quarisa. I love the label, which pokes a bit of fun at the famous French Bordeaux labels and with a description like this, how can you resist: “an inky coloured, full-bodied wine lurking beneath with a fairly gutsy, tannic palate and buckets of juicy plummy and licorice flavour. It’s lavishly smooth, dark stuff”.
Drink this if you like: Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah
Food pairings: Mushroom dishes work so well with Malbec, as do bbq meats with blue cheese sauce and good old fashioned hamburgers
Malbec is Argentina’s flagship grape variety however the grape variety is grown around the world, including here in Australia. It also makes big, rich wines however, they’re a little less tannic than those mentioned above. Which means they are super fruity, juicy and approachable.
Plus Malbec is such a good food wine as well with its flavours and aromas of things like black cherry, raspberry, pomegranate, blackberry, blueberry, chocolate smoke, vanilla and more.
Try this one: Sevenhill Cellars Estate Grown Inigo Malbec ($22) sits at 13% alcohol so it’s not as big and intense as some of the other winter reds mentioned in this post. It hails from South Australia’s Clare Valley and displays classic Malbec characteristics: “dark cherry, blackberry and mulberry fruits, with a hint of fennel seed and dark chocolate overtones. The palate has a core of sweet fruit surrounded by savoury tannins and a long clean finish.”
Drink this if you like: Merlot, Sangiovese
Food pairings: Pizza, pasta, beef brisket, roast winter vegetables, macaroni and cheese, stuffed baked potatoes
Have you come across wine made from the Montepulciano grape variety yet? Make 2022 the year to try it! Montepulciano are medium-bodied red wines that are fantastically food-friendly, especially with, you guessed it, Italian food.
Flavours and aromas of wine made from Montepulciano include cherry, boysenberry, red plum and herbs like oregano and maybe a little tar. Italy is the biggest producer of Montepulciano naturally, however here in Australia you’ll find it grown in regions like the Fleurieu Peninsula and Adelaide Hills.
Try this one: Colab & Bloom Fleurieu Peninsula Montepulciano ($24) is an award-winning Australian made Montepulciano. It’s bursting with berry and cherry flavours and begs to be paired up with a delicious Italian feast.
Drink this if you like: Cool-climate Pinot Noir, Sangiovese
Food pairings: Tomato-based pasta dishes, Asian dishes, fresh burrata, mushroom pizza
Have you tried Nebbiolo yet? It’s big, bold and red – perfect for the cooler temperatures of winter. It’s famously known as the grape used to produce Barolo and Barbaresco in Italy and although looking like Pinot Noir in your glass it can pack a punch on the palate.
It’s known for its flavours and aromas of cherries, leather, anise and roses. Its tannic nature makes it great with winter dishes full of butter, olive oil and fat.
Try this one: Little Giant Little Batch Heathcote Nebbiolo ($20) is maybe one of the cutest Aussie wine brands in my opinion. Plus you’re drinking for a good cause! The Little Giant stumpy wine bottles adorned with a loveable hairy-nosed wombat on the label are made by Fourth Wave Wine who work with WIRES (Wildlife Information Rescue and Education Service) to provide much-needed assistance to wildlife and in particular the preservation and ongoing welfare of Wombats. Plus the wines are bloody delicious, here is my review of the 2018 Barossa Shiraz.