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It’s getting colder outside & evenings are starting earlier. Time to sneak near the fireplace! Of course, with the right glass of wine (& some to nibble) in your hand! Here are some wines which go well with this weather. Bring on the colder nights!
Malbec originates from the Bordeaux, France, but never made name for herself. In the Cahors sub-region, the grape is used together with other red grapes in the world-known Bordeaux blend. Malbec from France has a more leathery, tannic & savoury style & is completely opposite from the more fruit driven ones from Argentina. Hearing this description, you’re lucky that they’re using it in blends only.
The climate for Malbec in Argentina is heaven. Dry, moderate to hot, clay & sand soils with little rainfall at high altitudes. Malbec has a poor resistance against pests & bad weather, something the Argentina’s climate won’t let happen. Also, the major temperature drops between day & night are beneficial for the grape, resulting in high acidity levels. As there is little rainfall in Argentina where they’re producing Malbec, the winemakers use irrigation funnels to supply their vineyards with water. Snow dripping down from the Andes Mountains is captured & led into the vines. Tiny (but enough) water is sucked up by the hard-working grapes, resulting in fully body fruit-forward grapes. Wine with plum & dark berries, spice, milk chocolate. Oak-ageing will add lovely sweet tobacco flavours.
Food-wise, Malbec is great for leaner red meat. Duck, ostrich perhaps? Also, earthy & umami flavours; mushrooms, smoked paprika, clove, BBQ sauce & pasta with tomato sauce are good combo’s. For cheeses, go for cow or goat.
The Valpolicella sub-wine region in Veneto, Italy breathes Amarone. Amarone is the king of wine is this region, but her 4 little brothers & sisters are to be mentioned to: Recioto, Ripasso, Classico Superiore & Classico. Amarone wine has an unique way of making the wine. After harvest, the grapes Corvina, Rondinella & Molinara, are laid to dry for 4 months. In this way, the grapes dry out, losing juice & concentrate the sugars within. After the 4 months, fermentation start the production of the wine. Minimum 2 years of ageing in oak barrels.
Recioto della Valpolicella is a sweeter wine. It’s made the same way as Amarone, but half way through the fermentation is stopped, leaving juice with high level of sugars. A complex wine, with balanced tannins & acidity.
Amarone della Valpolicella is made from dried grapes (see explanation above). A flagship wine for the region, with ageing potential up to 20 years! A full-bodied wine with dried fruit, tannins & high in acidity.
Ripasso della Valpolicella is a blend of the Classico with the grape bits (pomace) left over after the fermentation of the Amarone wine. Once mixed together, fermentation starts for the Ripasso-style wine, resulting in a wine that has the fruitiness of a Classico, but richness & complexity of the Amarone. Great value for money wine.
Valpolicella Superiore has had 1 year on oak, giving the wine more body, concentration & colour than the Classico.
Valpolicella Classico is the entry-level wine. Light body, cherry red fruits, easy-drinking wine.
Sources tell Zinfandel originates from Austria, where it then was taken to the USA. USA’s Zinfandels has a high ‘’spicy’’ acidity, with balanced red fruit flavours. Warm spices like cloves, cinnamon, liquorice & some oak makes this wine one of my favourites. Fancy a lighter style of Zinfandel?
The easiest way is to look at the alcohol levels. The higher, the riper & full body tasting wine. Another name for Zinfandel is Primitivo from Puglia, South-Italy.