Ecclesiastes in the Old Testament tells us that "to everything there is a season," and no where is that more true than it is for wine drinkers. Most of us agree that cold weather sends us directly to the red wine shelf of our wine cabinets.
I'd bet that even many beer lovers would prefer a warming glass of cabernet or syrah over a frosty brew this time of year.
It is not just the outdoor temperatures that make the reds so appealing. It's also related to what we eat this time of year. My favorite winter menus feature stews and hearty soups and one-dish casseroles, and all of these scream for fruit, tannin and acidity that we find only in reds.
Something about the long nights during this season seem to make it a greater pleasure to drink serious wines. I am happy to drink budget wines sitting in the garden or at a picnic table, but with short daylight hours I begin to pull out our more expensive bottles, ones that deserve more concentration and contemplation.
Now is the time to go for complexity and to linger over and discuss the wine, to make it the focus of the meal, or for a glass to carry into the living room and enjoy sitting next to a warming fireplace.Sitting beside a roaring fire is also the best place to enjoy fortified wines such as sherry, port and madeira, and distilled spirits such as cognac and Armagnac and Calvados.
These warming beverages are especially well suited to winter weather. In fact, in 19th-century England, port was considered an alternative to central heating! What follows is a shopping list of winter wine candidates to warm up your life while waiting for spring.
Note- All mentioned wines are available in Pennsylvania, although some are no longer in Allegheny County stocks. Any PLCB shop can request that the wine be transferred to it from any other state store. They will suggest that you pay a UPS shipping charge, and if you want the wine within several days, that is what you will have to do. However.
If you can wait until the store has a truck passing through that can transfer the wine for you, there will be no shipping charge. I do this regularly and have been totally satisfied. I find that Montgomery County is frequently overstocked with wines that have disappeared from Western Pennsylvania.