What is it about cold weather that makes us want to break out the red wines that we’ve cellared away all summer? For me, as soon as the farm stand switches from corn to brussels sprouts and chefs on television stop making gazpachos and start making stews, I mentally switch from whites and roses to deep, delicious red wines. Comfort foods that make a come back in fall are generally warm, savory dishes that scream for something equally bold to drink. There are exceptions to the rule, of course, and sometimes even the coolest of weather will have you reaching for a sauvignon blanc or dry rose, depending on what you are cooking. For example, I couldn’t dream of drinking anything but white when I make chicken pot pie, a serious comfort food. But, for the most part, I’m stocked with Cabernet’s, Zinfandels, Syrahs, Pinot Noirs and red blends from October through March. Here are some of my favorite food and Ponte wine pairings for autumn and winter.
Meatloaf and mashed potatoes with Zinfandel. It doesn’t get more comforting than this classic dish. It needs an equally dense wine, or a good Zin with lots of spice and chewiness.
Beef Stew with Cabernet Sauvignon. Cab and beef go together like peanut butter and jelly. It doesn’t get more satisfying than this.
Blue Cheese Souffle with Syrah. Syrah’s spicy character and oaky bite beautifully match a souffle made with a good, strong blue like Roquefort or Danish Blue.
Orocchiette pasta with brussels sprouts and bacon with Merlot. A Merlot with a bit of smoke flavor or hickory notes is best with this dish.
Pumpkin ravioli with brown butter and sage with Super Tuscan. I always taste a good bit of herbs in this red wine, and I think that’s why it works well with this dish. For a white, I’d go with a buttery Chardonnay.
Roast Chicken with Dolcetto. Roast chicken is my standby meal in the winter. It never disappoints. A medium-bodied red like Dolcetto is surprisingly good with poultry.
Pasta with arrabiatta sauce and Sangiovese. It’s not so surprising that a classic Italian wine goes great with classic Italian food. Sangiovese is wonderful with any tomato-based pasta dishes that you dream up.
Oatmeal Raisin Cookies with Port. Maybe it’s the cinnamon. Perhaps it’s the raisins. All I know is that happiness can be found in a warm batch of these cookies and a glass of Port.