The days are getting longer, the nights shorter, and the weather finally warmer?
What a strange winter it has been. The Rocky Mountain West has barely received any snow, while the winter storms in the North East won't stop! Those East Coast skiers finally get to brag about something!
And I think I speak for everyone when I say that we're ready for some nice weather!
But before we start popping bottles of rose and breaking out the picnic blankets, we might as well savor some hardy reds that warm the soul.
As sick of winter as we might be, there's still something special about a hardy glass of red wine on a chilly evening (or afternoon?! nobody's judging!).
So let's soak up the last of what winter has to offer.
#1 - Syrah
Known for its notes of black pepper, cured meats (bacon anyone?!), briney olives, blueberry, and general spice character, Syrah is my go-to red on a chilly winter evening.
Check out one of my favorites from the legendary Jean Louis Chave of France's Northern Rhone Valley:
Mourvedre's are typically big, bold, meaty, and tannic. A perfect match for any foods that are hardy and meaty. Whether you're getting your last licks of winter foods like a beef stew, chili, or a hardy roast, or you simply need something that's going to warm your bones in front of a fire place, a robust Mourvedre is a great choice!
#3 - Cabernet Franc
Known for it's notes of both bell and chili peppers, Cab Franc is one of our favorites to warm you up! The primary characteristics of spicy peppers and delicate red fruits, and briary notes make this a perfect winter wine when you're in the mood for something on the lighter side that will still warm you up! We tend to gravitate towards Cab Franc made in the lighter style of the Loire Valley (or new world iterations with a head nod towards the Loire).
Check out this California Central Coast Cabernet Franc made in the style of France's Loire Valley (pro tip... it's on SALE!):
#4 - Baco Noir
Wtf is Baco Noir?! Great question. It's a hybrid grape of both French and indigenous American origin. Baco Noir drinks similarly to a Zinfandel with a great balance of acidity, fruit, and spice. Winemaker and proprietor of North American Press Winery, Matt Neiss, is pushing the envelope of what it means to make a wine that truly expresses the terroir of Sonoma County. Don't be put off my the esoteric nature of Matt's Baco Noir. This wine smacks!
#5 - Cabernet Sauvignon
An instant classic! We prefer elegant Cabernet's from cool climates and typically from the old world. While some California wineries produce world class Cab, many, if not most, make an overripe, jammy, oaky style that we're not fans of.
Nonetheless, a Cabernet made with a light hand, displaying notes of dark fruits, baking spices, and cedar, are begging for a cozy winter night in!
Whether you're grilling steaks or getting cozy under a blanket with some netflix on tap, some OG Cabernet will hit the spot!
Hailing from the Dolomite Mountains in Italy's NW corner lies Castel Noarna. A family domaine based out of 10th century castle where Marco Zani, second generation grower, is the first in the family's lineage to vinify the estate fruit. Generations past would sell their harvest to a local coop.
Limestone soils at 1150 feet of elevation produce a Cabernet Sauvignon that has elegance and minerality rather than jam, oak, and muscle.