Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, you can’t help but get caught up in the holiday spirit – lights are twinkling against our gorgeous California sunsets, the malls are full of specials (and people!) and there’s just a certain feel in the air as the days get shorter and cooler.
It’s also a great time of year to start switching up your wines. This cooler weather is not only welcome, it lets you consider completely different tastes and flavors! Light and fruity, for example, is nice enough in the heat, but what you really want during a December downpour is a good, bold red or a hearty white.
Luckily, the jamminess and spiciness that chilly weather really demands is readily available from California wines! Here are some good picks for sitting inside and watching the rain fall on a cold San Diego winter’s day.
Petite Sirah: This rich, flavorful wine has flavor and then some. It would almost be overpowering on a hot day, but right now is the perfect time to curl up on the couch with a book in one hand and a glass in the other. Try Doce Robles’ award-winning Petite Sirah, or Bernardo Winery’s Winter Vineyard Petite Sirah (both about $30 a bottle.) Pair a glass with chocolate or rich cocoa. It’ll keep that chill at bay!
Pinot Noir: August West is a great vineyard out of San Francisco. The rich lushness of its Pinot Noir has been getting rave reviews, and it’s well worth a taste. If you want to buy as local as possible, Orfila’s Element 119 Pinot Noir is rich and robust. We recommend pairing either of them with hot chicken soup.
Gewurztraminer: You didn’t think we’d forget about white wines, do you? The choice of Gewurztraminer might seem counterintuitive, because its flowery complexity is perfectly suited to hot summer afternoons. But if you find one with enough tannins to balance out the sweetness, you have a bold wine great for pairing hearty fish stew. We recommend Stony Hill’s (because they understand the Gewurztraminer love) or one from Orfila, which never seems to go wrong with its Gewurztraminers! About $20.
We love winter, not just because of the changing weather patterns but because of our changing palates and flavor palettes. We’re looking forward to tipping back a glass of winter wine with you!