Wine with one-pot meals, casseroles and stews
For we Scots "comfort food" isn't some fashionable foodie trend - it's a necessity! As we nurse ourselves through the dark of winter and anticipate the coming of spring, hearty soups, casseroles and roasts are very much the order of the day.
This is cooking for the soul as much as the body or mind, and all of the red wines recommended this month would fall into the soulful category: big-hearted, warm-blooded wines with plenty of chunky fruit, power and depth of flavour. This profile suggests more rustic grape varieties like Mourvèdre or Grenache from the Southern Rhône, or the Tempranillo of Rioja. Such wines are preferred to leaner, firmer styles like most Cabernet Sauvignons for example. Whites should be fuller-bodied and savoury: perhaps lightly-oaked Chardonnay, white Rioja or Australian Marsanne.
Let's start though, with a trio of white wines:
Caballo de Plata, Torrontes 1998 (Safeway £3.49)
Torrontes is Argentina's best kept wine secret. This fine example has a floral, candied nose, reminiscent of parma violets and freesias. It is lemony and fresh in the mouth with peach and plum fruit, but plenty of keen acidity to keep it sharp. Tremendous character for the money.
"Red" Chardonnay 1997 (Victoria Wine £3.99)
And now those heart-warming reds:
|Domaine de Lan, Rioja Reserva 1978 (Majestic £4.99)|
Who could resist a 20 year old Rioja for under a fiver? The
nose is loaded with strawberry fruit and some toffee notes. On the palate the wine has more strawberry fruit, reasonable
length and a dry, nutty finish. Majestic's minimum purchase is one mixed case, but the good news is they now have free
delivery anywhere in mainland Britain.
Ceps de Sud, Old Vine Mourvèdre 1996 (Peckhams, Bibendum, £4.99)