Winter Wine Suggestions

“I find that during the cold periods of the winter, my red wine and cognac consumption rises while I drink fewer and fewer whites…” Yonatan Sternberg makes some seasonal recommendations from Recanati, Carmel and Dalton Wineries.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, in my opinion choosing a wine is also about the weather and temperature. Of course I take the food into account as well, but overall I find that during the cold periods of the winter, my red wine and cognac consumption rises while I drink fewer and fewer whites.

Following are some red wine suggestions which will go well with hearty stews, grilled meats and other types of comfort food.

The Recanati Winery recently launched three new varietal red wines - Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Shiraz, all are from the 2008 harvest. It was interesting to sample these reds; particularly due to the fact that the winery appointed a new winemaking team (Gil Shatzberg and Ido Levinson) a couple of years ago and these are the first wines that were under their direct supervision since the harvest period through the bottling stage. Recanati's CEO, Mr. Noam Ya'acobi mentioned that "these wines represent a new era in the style of Recanati wines, producing wines that are not as alcoholic and powerful but rather more elegant and subtle". Out of the three, my favorite was the Recanati, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2008: medium to full bodied, the wine offers generous aromas of red & black berry fruits, plums, pepper, and thyme all leading to pleasant finish. The Shiraz was also very enjoyable and went well with a dish of spaghetti and lamb ragout. The wines are sold at around the NIS 59 mark, and I must say that at that price, they offer pretty good value for money.

If you feel like trying something different, pick up a bottle of Carmel's Carignan, 2007, of the winery's Appellation series or a bottle of the Carignan, Reserve, 2007 from Barkan. Dark garnet in color, the wine offers generous aromas of blackberry, plums, warm spices and hints of coffee all leading to long finish. For years, Carignan, a Spanish grape variety which was transplanted to Israel, was used to produce low quality table and 'kidush' wines. Recently, however, several Israeli wineries have produced some excellent wines based on this grape variety. The Gamla, Sangiovese from the Golan Heights winery also falls into the 'try something different' category. One of the few varietal Sangiovese wines produced in Israel, the wines will (both from the 05 and 06 vintages) go well with Italian style dishes such as osso-bucco, wild mushroom risotto or Florentine steak.

Among Dalton Winery's relatively recent releases are the Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 of the winery's D series. Personally I preferred the Shiraz, showing concentrated aromas and flavors of black berry fruits, cherries, dark chocolate along with hints of black pepper and vanilla. Another excellent value for money wine that will go well with grilled meat is the Galil Mountain, Cabernet-Shiraz blend 2007, this medium to full bodied red offers lovely aromas of blackberry, plums, herbs and a touch of smoky wood.

So next time you're in the market, pick up a couple kilos of your favorite root vegetables, a nice chunk of meat, a handful of herbs de Provence and of course a bottle or two of wine. Hopefully this will help you keep warm and get you through the winter.