For the first time this year, this week I have had to put the heating on. While my mother may have been disappointed I didn’t instead put on an extra layer, for me, the cosiness these cooler nights create is everything that’s good about the season. Frosty mornings melt into bracing afternoons and relaxing evenings safe inside the local, topped with a hearty glass of red that casts away the chills from your bones.
With that thought in mind, I once again tasked our wine experts to get back to me with 5 recommendations for blockbuster reds for these impending wintery nights. Let us know what you think in the comments below, or instead, let us know what you’ll be drinking this month.
Marea Syrah, Leyda Valley >
An extremely intense and concentrated wine, this is a big bruiser of a Syrah and yet has great quality, concentration and class. Marea wines are born in the Leyda Valley, one of Chile’s up and coming regions for premium cool coastal varieties. The Marea estate vineyards, owned and operated by Luis Felipe Edwards are some of the closest to the sea in Leyda and deliver wines that have fresh, concentrated fruit with a characteristic subtle salty minerality.
Barrel-fermented and aged in oak barrels, it shows perfumed blackcurrant, leather, spice, black pepper and vanilla notes. Deep and dark garnet-violet in colour. This is a deep and complex wine that is fresh and juicy, with present tannins. The wine scooped Silver in the 2016 Sommelier Wine Awards and pairs excellently with roast beef.
Barolo, Cru Ravera Lo Zoccolaio, Domini Villa Lanata >
This immense and powerful wine is made with Nebbiolo grapes from the high altitude vineyards of the Ravera ‘cru’ near the village of Novello. The grapes are manually harvested in October and then fermented in steel barrels in contact with the skins for 10-15 days. The liquid then spends 36 months in oak casks.
Bright red in colour, with an abundant of intense perfumed, floral and cherry aromas. The palate shows typically dark fruits with savoury notes and minerally nuances on the long, lingering finish. It’s warming, full-bodied and brilliant with red meats and game.
Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Les Bartavelles, Jean-Luc Colombo >
A blend of Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre creates this bright and intense ruby wine. Described in the Wine Spectator magazine as ‘fruit-driven, with a big ball of cassis and red liquorice waiting to expand, while notes of Linzer torte, fruit cake and plum pudding fill out the broad, polished finish.’
Matured in part in large oak barrels for 16 months. On the nose a powerful wine, full, complete and silky with notes of ripe fruit, liquorice, and gingerbread. The palate is elegant, rich and deep with mature and velvety tannins. The finish is long and fresh with a well-balanced structure. Several wine critics have rated this Chateauneuf-du-Pape highly: Wine Spectator gave the 2014 vintage a score of 90.
Salentein Numina Gran Corte, Uco Valley, Mendoza >
This blend of Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc (with a pinch of Petit Verdot to boot) claimed 92 points from Wine Enthusiast and 92 points from Robert Parker. At an intense 15% ABV, this is an oaked, intense and concentrated red from Argentina’s Uco Valley. It has a bright, intense and deep purplish red colour with a fresh and sweet nose. There is a prevalence of red fruits like redcurrant and touches of black fruits in the background; a spark of violet adds a floral character.
In the mouth, it is an intense wine with tannic structure and full body backed up with a long and lingering finish. It’s a delicious, vivacious wine that is the perfect partner for red meats. Winemaker José Galante’s goal is to create superior quality Argentine wines, and with this blockbuster, he’s done that.
The Federalist Dueling Pistols Zinfandel-Syrah, Dry Creek Valley >
On the 11th of July 1804, off the Hudson shore at Weehawken, the original Federalist, Alexander Hamilton was shot in a duel by Aaron Burr and died from his injuries. Pouring two glasses of this wine, which takes its inspiration from this moment, is a much more sophisticated way of solving any differences. It’s a dual blend of 50% Zinfandel and 50% Syrah that exhibits aromas of blackberry and black cherry with black pepper and spice.
The palate is weighty with rich, ripe fruit and a lively acidity that carries the fruit through to a long finish. Each variety is fermented separately from free-run juice. The individual lots spend an average of 15 days on the skins. Upon completing primary fermentation, the wine undergoes a malolactic fermentation. The separate blocks of Zinfandel and Syrah are blended post malolactic fermentation and are aged 15 months in 20% new oak barrels.
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