A dark cold evening, a flannel shirt, thick wool socks and a big glass of red wine - life doesn’t get any better than that. After the crisp and fresh summer whites and rosé wines I find myself craving for some turbocharged vino. Not that you couldn’t pamper yourself with some white wine as well, and you probably should, but there is just something that makes red wine extra delicious during winter.
Chile: Montes Alpha Syrah
I think Syrah is the ultimate benchmark grape for dark cold evenings. Just hand me a bottle and a season of Twin Peaks, and you will never see that bottle again. Montes Alpha Syrah is a great example from the Apalta Valley in Chile. The wine has a small percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon which gives it a nice tannin structure. It also has a touch of Viognier, that really highlights the vibrant fruit. Just forget that stew in your oven for the day and sip some Chilean red wine.
Greece: Kir-Yianni Dyo Elies
If you think that Greece has lost its touch, think again. The country is so much more than ancient ruins, turquoise sea and Retsina. The Ktima Kir-Yianni estate is located in Naoussa on the foothills of Vermio Mountains and it’s home to some fantastic red wines. This particular wine is a blend of Syrah, Merlot and a local celebrity Xinomavro. The end result is a wine with Fort Knox-like impenetrable structure, balanced with fresh acidity that will leave you screaming for more.
France: Gérard Bertrand Grand Terroir Tautavel
Beware! You might want to wear a helmet for this one. This wine is loaded with intense red fruit that will knock your socks off. What else can you expect from a winemaker who used to play rugby on a professional level? Gérard Bertrand’s Grand Terroir Tautavel comes from Southern France, Roussillon to be exact, and it has a spicy flavor profile that will definitely keep you warm at night.
Argentina: Finca Las Moras Black Label Malbec
A nice velvety Malbec is like Netflix; it’s super comfy and highly addictive. It is just one of those wines that you wish you could wrap around you like a liquid blanket and just snuggle. Finca Las Moras Black Label has that deep inky color with lots ripe plum and dark blackberry flavors. Pour a glass and get cozy.
Portugal: Esporão Reserva
This is not a wine, this is a Portuguese weapon of mass seduction. Alentejo is a Never, Never, Land filled with cork trees, porco preto and delicious wine. It’s a must-visit for all wine enthusiast. The Portuguese grape varieties might be difficult to pronounce at first but it’s worth the effort. Esporão Reserva is a blend of Aragonez (a.k.a. Tempranillo), Trincadeira, Cabernet Sauvignon and Alicante Bouschet. Yummy!
Italy: Masi Costasera Amarone Classico
Amarone is one of those wines that are really hard to dislike. They are big, complex and just utterly voluptuous. Masi and the Boscaini family are masters in the appassimento method used to make it. Masi Costasera Amarone Classico is a testament to this unique wine style and it’s a guaranteed winter classic.
France: Ogier Clos de l'Oratoire des Papes
The iconic wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, in France, are known for their powerful character. The region is famous for the large “galets roulés" rocks which help the grapes mature, often resulting in dense wines with rich flavor profile. Ogier’s Clos de l’Oratoire des Papes is all that and more. Incredibly well-balanced wine with a potential to rock your world this winter, or the winter two decades from now.
Dal is one of those recipes that goes all the way back to the Indus Valley Civilisation. Unlike dishes such as biryani, brought to India by the Moghuls, it is one of those foods that has always been there. It is therefore a building block of Indian culture.