When the weather outside is frightful, the only thing more delightful than a crackling fire is a hearty meal replete with perfectly paired wine. What wines work best this time of year? What dishes do they complement perfectly?
If you're throwing a dinner party or preparing an intimate evening for you and your special someone, keep the following tips in mind. Your pairings will make you forget the howling wind outside.
What Makes Winter Wine Pairings Different?
You might think that the only wines to serve during the winter are hearty reds. While it's true that many dishes, like roasts and stews, pair nicely with a beefier brew, you can enjoy white wine during this season, too. For example, Verdelho, a full-bodied, dry white, pairs perfectly with Chinese delivery or Asian-fusion dishes.
However, wines with thicker and heavier textures pair perfectly with winter meals. In general, people gravitate toward wines you can serve at room temperature during this time of year. Some mulled and spiced wines taste best when heated, but Riesling or Moscato won't stand up to the test. You need a dark, dry red to manage the additional ingredients.
Suggested Pairings for Wintertime Meals
What can you whip up with winter wine pairings? Check out these meal combinations that are suited for a variety of dietary restrictions.
Keto — Easy Sausage and Cabbage Soup with Merlot
If you subscribe to this high-fat, low-carbohydrate meal plan, you might think alcohol is off the menu. While it's true that all drinks do contain sugar, you can enjoy a glass or two of vino on occasion. You need to exercise self-control and limit it to the occasional indulgence instead of a daily drink. Cabbage comes into season late, meaning yours will remain packed with vitamins and minerals. This recipe is the perfect comfort food to pair with wine on a frigid day.
Vegan — Easy Thai Noodles with Albarino
Who says winter needs to mean consuming meat? It doesn't matter if you're celebrating Meatless Monday or adhering to a cruelty-free lifestyle for environmental reasons. You can enjoy this hearty Asian dish to warm up on a cold day. Albarino is a heavier-bodied white that holds up to the spice in Thai foods. It's also not a well-known varietal, which makes you look trés sophisticated when you break it out at dinner parties.
Gluten-Free — Harissa Chicken Traybake With Pinot Noir
Anything baked in the oven is ideal for a cold winter's day. You can even leave the door open after retrieving your food and heat your house a bit, too. If you're avoiding gluten due to celiac disease or an intolerance, you can chow down on this dish without any worry. Pinot noir is perfect for enhancing the flavors of poultry and mushroom dishes.
Nut-Free — Shepherd's Pie With Cabernet Savignon
What says comfort more than shepherd's pie? You won't find any peanuts or other allergen-including legumes in this dish, but you will find tons of flavor. You don't have to top your meal with cheese — but since cabernet pairs well with both beef and cheddar, why not?
Vegetarian — Fettucine Alfredo With Pinot Blanc
You don't have to kill a cow to get cheese — which is lovely if you're a vegetarian. This meal will genuinely stick to your ribs after you spend hours shoveling your sidewalk. Pinot blanc is another often-overlooked white with the perfect degree of bite to stand up to such a filling dish.
Celebrate Old Man Winter with These Fabulous Wine Pairings
You can pair more than reds with meals in the winter. However, that doesn't mean they don't also taste fabulous. If you're unsure of what to eat and drink to warm your belly and soul, try one of the above pairings.