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14 Winter Wines You’ll Love

14 wines which are excellent for vacation celebrations, wealthy delicacies, and evenings in with Netflix.

Escape your ugly sweaters, digital Yuletide logs, and low-hanging Sport of Thrones references… winter is coming. Right here’s what we’re sizzling for when the temperature drops.

14 Winter Wines

First issues first, the classics:

  1. Barolo-winter-illustration-winefolly

    1. Nebbiolo

    Whoever got here up with the phrase “appearances could be deceiving,” should have had Nebbiolo in thoughts. Sure, it seems pale and nice like Pinot Noir, however this Piedmontese beast has excessive acidity and grippy tannins that may make for an expertise you gained’t quickly overlook. Decant for 45 minutes and watch it rain advanced rose, cherry, and leather-based flavors throughout your palate. You gained’t know what hit you.

    • Basic Areas: Barolo, Barbaresco, Roero, Valtellina, and Gattinara
    • Meals Pairings: risotto, charcuterie, winter squash, mushrooms, truffles, fancy silverware, and meals cooked in quenelles

    Micro Information to Nebbiolo Wine

  2. Shiraz-winter-illustration-winefolly

    2. Shiraz

    ‘Tis the season for one thing rugged. Greatest described as huge, brooding, and boozy, Australian Shiraz is understood for its highly effective black fruit flavors, savory undertones, and excessive ABV (14%-15%), because of plentiful Down Underneath sunshine. It’s not for the faint of coronary heart or palate, but it surely’ll heat you up in a rush.

    • Basic Areas: Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale
    • Meals Pairings: grilled meats, venison, boar, leather-based membership chairs, and snow banks

    Barossa Valley and The Wines of South Australia

  3. brunello-di-montalcino-wine-illustration

    three. Sangiovese

    We promise to maintain high-acid and high-tannin Italian wines to a minimal on this listing. (OK, we will’t promise that.) However can we gush about conventional Sangiovese for a minute? Earthy and rustic, it goes with every kind of winter eats and even vegetarian fare. Added bonus: Its advanced nostril is ideal for sitting, sniffing, and considering New 12 months’s resolutions. BTW, resolve to drink a Brunello this winter. You’ll thank us later.

    Information to Sangiovese

  4. f-cabernet-sauvignon-illustration-winefolly

    four. Cabernet Sauvignon

    We will hear you now: “Thanks for the rec, Captain Apparent.” Nonetheless, simply how superior Cabernet Sauvignon is that this time of 12 months bears repeating. We’re all consuming rib-sticking dishes, accumulating mass for hibernation, and Cab is a no brainer pairing. But it surely’s additionally greater than a consuming companion, it’s a considering particular person’s wine. It’s layered, advanced, and in case you go Outdated World, surprisingly delicate. Possibly it’s simply us, however you by no means actually know Cabernet Sauvignon. You simply constantly rediscover it.

    • Basic Areas: Médoc (Pauillac, Saint-Julien, Margaux), Graves, Napa Valley, Maipo, Coonawarra
    • Meals Pairings: pepper steak, brisket, vacation roast, duck, goose, lentils, and mashed potatoes

    Bordeaux Wine Primer

  5. puligny-montrachet-illustration-winefolly

    5. Chardonnay

    It’s so cool to hate on oaked Chardonnay. No, we will’t get behind that. Each wine has a time and a spot. The time is now for wealthy, buttery Chardonnay. Full-bodied with dominant flavors of vanilla, butter, caramel—and a contact of citrus—it’s fairly a substitute for egg nog and sizzling buttered rum.

    • Basic Areas: California (North Coast, Central Coast, Santa Barbara), Burgundy (Puligny-Montrachet, Meursault, Grand Cru Chablis, Pouilly-Fuissé), Willamette Valley, New Zealand
    • Meals Pairings: rooster, turkey, sea bass, lobster, comté and gruyere cheese, mushrooms, cream sauce pasta, and cream-based soups

    Information to Chardonnay Areas and Extra

  6. champagne-illustration-winefolly

    6. Champagne

    Inform us, good friend: are you an individual who drinks Champagne year-round? If that’s the case, are available in for a fistbump. (Go forward, bump the display.) We’re probably not positive why so many relegate their Champagne ingesting simply to New 12 months’s Eve. It’s gentle, refreshing, and insanely versatile on the subject of meals. Certain, it’s costly, however there are reasonably priced options. Plus, we will’t consider a greater technique to remedy winter blues than with a little bit of the bubbly.

    • Basic Areas: Montagne de Reims (for depth), Côte de Blanc (for Blanc de Blancs), and Valée de la Marne (for Blanc de Noirs)
    • Meals Pairings: New 12 months’s Eve, fries, bacon, Christmas ham, potato chips, popcorn, latkes, cheese, and nuts

    The best way to Select Champagne the Proper Manner

  7. port-lbv-illustration-winefolly

    7. Port

    You say you don’t like Port. We are saying you don’t like Port but. There are plenty of wines we’ll be sampling this winter, however that is the one we’ll be reaching for after celebrations, by the fireside, and on the longest of winter nights. We’ll probably kick off with a Ruby, the least costly and most fresh-faced of the types. It in all probability gained’t be lengthy earlier than with get to the costlier, extra aged Classic and Tawny Ports, with all their wealthy, concentrated flavors. Our mouths water simply desirous about it.

    • Basic Areas: The Cima Corgo is named essentially the most traditional part of the Douro Valley
    • Meals Pairings: blue cheese (stilton, roquefort, gorgonzola), creme brûlée, black forest cake, cherry pie, chocolate truffles, and walnuts

    Information to Port Wine


However wait, there’s extra!

Strive these winter wines while you’re able to transcend the classics:

  1. eight. Viognier

    Why would we suggest a classically flowery white wine identified for peach, tangerine, and honeysuckle flavors? By Late January, you’re in all probability going to wish springtime in a glass.

  2. 9. White Rioja

    Hunt down uncommon aged Rioja Blanco, then put together your self for welcome notes of roasted pineapples, caramelized honey, and hazelnuts.

  3. 10. Valpolicella

    Pair your purple meat, mushrooms, and darkish umami flavors with a full-bodied Superior Ripasso, certainly one of Italy’s higher values. Should you can spring for Amarone, make it occur, Captain.

  4. 11. Mourvèdre

    (aka Monastrell) A gamier, extra untamed different to Cabernet Sauvignon, hunt down wines from Jumilla and Bandol for shining examples of this unctuous mom.

  5. 12. Sagrantino

    Grown on the small hillside of Montefalco in Umbria, deeply opaque Sagrantino is about as daring as daring purple wine will get! Simply ensure you have fat and proteins when ingesting to counter all that tannin.

  6. 13. Orange Wine

    It’s laborious to get going when it’s chilly and darkish. Attain for certainly one of these when smelling salts are briefly provide. (Kidding – sort of.) Should you wish to heat up with extra unique dishes (Korean, Center Japanese, African), assume orange.

  7. 14. Sherry

    Scoff at Sherry all you need, however the popular drink of bullfighters makes for certainly one of hell of a winter nightcap. Strive an Amontillado or an Oloroso Sherry for a wealthy, expressive different to whiskey.

winter-wines-illustration-winefolly


SUBSCRIBE TO GET FRESH WEEKLY WINE STORIES



By Vincent Rendoni
I am a spicy meatball who loves light-bodied reds, fragrant whites, video video games, and for higher or worse, Seattle sports activities groups. I used to be an enormous fan of Wine Folly earlier than being employed, so I assume you would say I am dwelling the dream.

Love Beer? Then You’re Gonna Love These Wines

32 wines for beer lovers. 32 beers for wine lovers. Everybody wins with this comprehensive guide.

We’re not just wine geeks at Wine Folly, we’re beer geeks, too! Why wouldn’t we love beer? Much like wine, there’s a rich history behind the drink, endless variations and styles, and countless flavor compounds to sift through.

Also, most importantly, it just tastes good. Like, really good.

If you’re a beer drinker looking to make the jump from the taproom to the tasting room—or a wine drinker looking to do vice versa—this is the read for you.

32 Wines for Beer Lovers

 
Crisp Clean and Light beers: Bitburger Pilsner, New Glarus Spotted Cow, Weihenstephener Brauweisse, Avery White Rascal, Reissdorf Kolsch, Delirium Tremens

Crisp, Clean, & Light

Lager & Pilsner

  • Example: Czechvar Budvar, Bitburger Pilsner
  • Typical Flavors: malt, baked bread, mineral water, fresh flowers, grain
  • Wine to Try: Cava (Brut Nature)

Lovers of all things light, crisp, and refreshing need to trade in their steins for a flute of Cava Brut Nature. This extra bright, extra dry Spanish sparkler is an affordable, approachable gateway into the world of wine and pairs well with all manner of salty pub fare.


Cream Ale

  • Example: New Glarus Spotted Cow
  • Typical Flavors: corn, malt, lactose, cream soda, coconut
  • Wine to Try: Muscadet et Sur Lie

Made from the fruity, acidic Melon de Bourgogne variety and aged on suspended dead yeast particles, this style of Muscadet develops a more robust and bready character that’s an easy entry point for lovers of the thirst-quenching ale.


Hefeweizen

  • Example: Weihenstephaner Bräuweisse
  • Typical Flavors: banana, bubblegum, citrus, cream, clove
  • Wines to Try: Beaujolais, Schiava

If you love the more classic banana esters found in German Hefeweizen, you’ll find a similar flavor (and easy-drinking structure) in a younger Beaujolais. However, if you dig more of the bubblegum notes, you may want to say buongiorno to the obscure Italian grape, Schiava.


Witbier

  • Example: Avery White Rascal
  • Typical Flavors: coriander, orange peel, white tea, honey
  • Wine to Try: Gewürztraminer (Dry)

Only one wine comes to mind for the cloudy, quaffable Belgian-style ale with a spice-driven kick: Gewürztraminer. Preferably a dry, somewhat aged one to get not only those citrus and floral notes, but a hint of warm spice as well. Much like Witbier, Gewürztraminer also pairs well with Indian and Arabic cuisine and more exotic fare.


Kölsch

Consider in lieu of this clean, pleasantly bitter ale from Cologne, Germany a Brut or Extra-Dry Prosecco. The drier Brut will have a similar mouthfeel and finish to most Kölsch, but if you’re all about those cracker and bread flavors, go for the somewhat sweeter, misleadingly named Extra Dry style.


Belgian Golden Strong Ale

  • Example: Delirium Tremens
  • Typical Flavors: white spice, citrus, flowers, hops
  • Wine to Try: Grenache Blanc

Nicknamed the “Devil’s Ale” in Belgium, these beers earn their reputation by looking as light as a lager does, while packing a graceful, but significant alcoholic punch (7-12% ABV.) Grenache Blanc does a similar dance by also looking light and approachable, while having a similar hidden kick (13-15% ABV.) Plus, these wines can be just as fruity and floral as a Belgian Strong Pale Ale, and even a bit hop-like with the characteristic green notes!


Malty, Medium-bodied, hoppy beers: Troegs Nugget Nectar, Samuel Smiths Brown Ale, Ayinger Celebrator Doppelbock, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Bells Two-Hearted IPA

Malty, Medium-Bodied, & Hoppy

Amber Ale / Red Ale

  • Example: Tröegs Nugget Nectar
  • Typical Flavors: malt, caramel, whole wheat bread, mild fruit
  • Wine to Try: Sherry (Amontillado)

Time to get fortified. It is difficult to find a wine that’s on the same wavelength as the occasionally hoppy, malt-forward Amber/Red Ale. In making the correlation, our minds went right to Sherry, more specifically, Amontillado Sherry, for its nuttiness, richness, and fine oxidized flavors. Just make sure you pour yourself a smaller glass with that elevated ABV!


Brown Ale

  • Example: Samuel Smith’s Brown Ale
  • Typical Flavors: earth, dark fruit, caramel, biscuit, dark spice
  • Wine to Try: Teroldego

Big on the browns? We’re going to give you an hip variety to consider: Teroldego. This Northern Italian red grape is known for making dark, bitter, and balanced wines with earthy and flowery backbones. As it’s known for being somewhat astringent, it’s not the smoothest of parallels to brown ale, but we’re banking that like us, you’re all about those earthy flavors.


Bock

  • Example: Ayinger Celebrator Doppelbock
  • Typical Flavors: plum, crystallized fruit, molasses
  • Wine to Try: Malbec

This thicker-than-your-average lager begs for a bolder wine. Plummy, dark, and full-bodied, you’ll have no problem swapping one out for a smooth Argentine Malbec.


Pale Ale

Get the clean and grassy flavors you crave with Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, Loire Valley, and Chile. Trust us, it’s like taking in a freshly mowed lawn. If there’s a wine that is certain to turn you from a budding hop head to a serious white wine enthusiast, this just might be it…

Pro-Tip: If you’ve already experienced the unreal Pale Ale-Sauvignon Blanc connection, make the leap to lean Vermentino from Sardinia or springy Soave Classico.


India Pale Ale

Hopheads and New England-style obsessives, please bring your attention to Grüner Veltliner. This Austrian variety is known for producing dry, acidic, citrus-driven wines that have been known to make IPA drinkers say, “Whoa.” Careful, one sip and you may never go back to drinking beer again…

Pro-Tip: If Grüner is just a little too hard to find, snap up a nice dry Riesling and join us in wondering how anyone can not love this grape.


Dark Beer Wine Alternatives: Deschutes Black Butte Porter, Guinness Stout, North Coast Thelonious Monk, Orkney Skullsplitter, Great Lakes Christmas Ale

Succumb to the Dark Side

Porter

  • Example: Deschutes Black Butte Porter
  • Typical Flavors: coffee, bittersweet chocolate, smoke, black bread
  • Wine to Try: Sagrantino

Bitter, swarthy, palatable…wait, are we describing your modern-day Porter or Sagrantino? However, consider yourself warned: you may find the beer to be a bit of an easier drink. Sagrantino di Montefalco makes for one of the most tannic wines on the planet! Your mouth may not know what hit it.


Stout

Known for gravelly soils and Cabernet Sauvignon-dominant red wines, the Left Bank is where you want to look when switching from stout, specifically the Médoc region. The wines from this section of Bordeaux are known for being bold, concentrated, and filled with complex secondary aromas/flavors (cigar box, leather, tobacco) that will be music to any stout lover’s, uh, mouth.


Dubbel & Belgian Dark Strong Ale

The Dubbel and Belgian Dark Strong Ale can be considerably different beer styles, and normally we wouldn’t loop them together. The problem here is that we found the perfect wine to hit all those delicious dark sugar, plum, and date flavors on the nose: Port. Specifically, Ruby and Late Bottle Vintage styles that are more fruit-forward, affordable, and meant to be enjoyed young.


Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy

  • Example: Orkney Skullsplitter
  • Typical Flavors: caramel, malt, peat, tea, heather
  • Wine to Try: Cognac (V.S.)

As Scotch Ales are smooth, malty, and beg to be savored instead of quickly thrown back, we recommend reaching for a younger V.S. (Very Special) Cognac. With notes of caramel, toffee, leather, coconut, and spice notes, Cognac is pretty much guaranteed to be your thing. Get the right glassware, swirl, and enjoy. Maybe even get a mirror to see how cool you look as you drink it.


Winter Warmer / Christmas Ale

  • Example: Great Lakes Christmas Ale
  • Typical Flavors: cinnamon, orange peel, vanilla, cloves
  • Wine to Try: Mulled Wine/Glühwein

Beer drinkers use winter warmers to get through the cold season. Wine drinkers use Glühwein. Why not drink both? If you’re looking to make your own from scratch, go with a full-bodied red wine like Syrah or Malbec.


High ABV Alcohol Beer and wine alternatives: Tripel Karmeliet, Alchemist Heady Topper, North Coast Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout, Goose Island Bourbon, Trappistes Rochefort 10, Great Divide Old Ruffian

High-ABV Territory

Tripel

Golden, dense, and complex, the singular Tripel is one of our favorite beers here. Gorgeous as it may be, it needs to be consumed with some caution. Much like the Belgian Golden Strong Ale, it looks deceivingly light, but packs enough of an alcoholic punch to cut a night out short. So if you’re craving those sweeter, fruitier flavors and a similar creamy mouthfeel, consider a lower-octane Rosé Sparkling Wine, either domestic or from France’s Cremant stylings.

Pro-Tip: Cost not an issue? Investigate nuttier, breadier, and oh-so-decadent Vintage Champagne. Yes, it could break your budget. But it will also break your brain (in a good way.)


Double/Imperial India Pale Ale

  • Example: Alchemist Heady Topper
  • Typical Flavors: pine, grapefruit, tree sap, resin, cannabis
  • Wine to Try: Retsina

Grüner Veltliner and Dry Riesling will still do the trick for most IPAs, but if you like them extra dank and sticky, we’re gonna send you in Retsina’s general direction. This Greek wine isn’t for the faint of the heart (even for those who love wine), with its pine, resin, and lime peel flavor profile. But hey, if you love DIPA/IIPAs, we probably had you at “not for the faint of heart!”


Double/Imperial/Russian Stout

  • Example: North Coast Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout
  • Typical Flavors: strong coffee/espresso, burnt sugar, hearty oats, dried dark fruit
  • Wine to Try: Australian Shiraz

Big, brawny, and known for its aggressive flavor profile, this souped-up stout needs something that’s equally broad-shouldered. Enter Aged Australian Shiraz. Rugged and animalistic, this style of Syrah features flavors of mocha, graphite, savory meat, as well as a high alcohol content thanks to the abundant Down Under sunshine.


Bourbon-Barrel-Aged Stout

  • Example: Goose Island Bourbon County Stout
  • Typical Flavors: bourbon, wood, burnt sugar, vanilla, fudge, char
  • Wine to Try: Sherry (Oloroso)

Expensive to produce and requiring some serious patience to brew, the Bourbon Barrel-Aged Stout is often the gem in any beer enthusiast’s cellar. They’re rich, complex, and one of the surest bets to get better with age. For wines, Oloroso, the beautiful mistake of the Sherry business, is a great go-to. Occasionally, the flor (a special yeast used to make Sherry) dies, and then that Sherry is taken into barrels to age. The end result is a deep, dark, and dry fortified wine with parallel wood, fudge, and burnt vanilla notes.


Quadrupel

  • Example: Trappistes Rochefort 10
  • Typical Flavors: raisins, dates, fruitcake, gingerbread, earth, anise
  • Wine to Try: Sherry (Pedro Ximénez)

The brawny, yet delectable Quadrupel may have fit under the “Belgian Dark Strong Ale” umbrella, but we found that in our experiences with Rochefort and Westvleteren, we got something even a little more heavy. After we nailed down flavors of fruitcake, raisins, and even some gingerbread, we thought there was a better fit than Port. Syrupy Pedro Ximénez (a grape, not a person) Sherry won our hearts with its luscious profile of figs, dates, and fireside spices.


Old Ale & Barleywine

  • Example: Great Divide Old Ruffian Barleywine
  • Typical Flavors: alcohol, English toffee, treacle, hard candy, butterscotch
  • Wine to Try: Madeira (Bual)

There’s nothing subtle about Barleywine or even Old Ale, its more sessionable equivalent. There’s often not even an attempt to hide the alcohol and it is absolutely thick with fruity esters, malts (English) and hops (American.) The fortified Portuguese island wine, Madeira, is a great go-to with its flavors of roasted nuts, stewed fruit, and toffee. We especially like the sweeter Bual style with its additional salted caramel, golden raisin, and date smells and tastes.


Sour Funky Beers Saison-dupont-Gueuze Tilquin, Lindemans Framboise Lambic, Duchesse de Bourgogne

Sour ‘n’ Funky

Saison / Farmhouse Ale

Ooh, tough call. There can be quite a range in tastes when it comes to Saison, but we’ve got some good options for one of our personal favorite styles of beer. If you like the more peppery style of Saison, consider Rosé of Tempranillo or Syrah. You’ll find these specific styles of rosé more herbaceous and savory, rather than abundantly fruity.

Pro-Tip: If you’re all about the farmhouse funk/brettanomyces in your beer, you might be game for a more untamed natural wine (wine made with minimal human interaction.)


Sour (Gueuze, Gose, & Berlinerweisse)

  • Example: Gueuze Tilquin
  • Typical Flavors: lemon juice, lime peel, grape must, apple cider, salt
  • Wine to Try: Orange Wine

This one is a no-brainer. Orange wine, which is white wine made by keeping the skin and seeds in contact with the juice, is designed for the sour beer lover. It’s acidic, tart, and assertive with atypical aromas and flavors (jackfruit, linseed oil, brazil nuts, sourdough). Sound like any beer you know?


Fruit Lambic

If you enjoy fruit lambic beers (Kriek, Cassis, Framboise), then you should, nay, MUST try Lambrusco. This sparkling red wine comes in a range of dry and off-dry styles, but always with up-front fruit flavors. Depending on the style, you can even find some additional cream, chocolate, and floral notes! Who can resist?

Pro-Tip: Made the Lambic-Lambrusco connection? Dig a Beaujolais Nouveau! (Bojo Nouveau, if you’re nasty.) This ultra-acidic, quickly-made wine features lush, juicy aromas of raspberry, cranberry, candied fruits, banana, and even bubblegum.


Flanders Red Ale & Oud Bruin

  • Example: Duchesse de Bourgogne
  • Typical Flavors: green apple, balsamic vinegar, sour grapes, oxidized fruit
  • Wine to Try: Blanquette de Limoux / Mauzac

With strong vinegar, green apple, and earthy flavors, these two sours can be a bit of a curveball to the uninitiated. Fortunately, the wine we’re recommending is way more accessible, if but a bit overlooked! We submit to you: Blanquette de Limoux, a dry style of sparkling wine from France’s Languedoc-Roussillon region that prominently features the ancient, esoteric Mauzac Blanc variety. Peachy, grassy, and flush with green apple notes, you best be getting to your local wine shop right now.


Weird Beers and Wine Alternatives: Schneider Weisse Tap 6 Unser, Wookey Jack, Black Boss Porter, Dogfish Head Sah’Tea, Marooned on Hog Island, Rauchbier,

Let’s Get a Little Weird

Weizenbock

  • Example: Schneider Weisse Tap 6 Unser Aventinus
  • Typical Flavors: vanilla, clove, malt, nutmeg, cinnamon
  • Wine to Try: Vin Santo

Fans of this malty, ester-apparent, bock-strength Dunkelweizen should seek out Vin Santo, an intriguing Italian dessert wine known for its vanilla, caramel, honey hazelnut, and dried apricot flavors. Like Weizenbock, it’s a wondrous balance of deliciousness and intensity that will stick to the side of your glass. Drink up.


Cascadian Dark Ale / Black IPA

  • Example: Firestone Walker Wookey Jack
  • Typical Flavors: coffee grounds, lime peel, tree resin, roasted grain
  • Wine to Try: Carménère

Already a beautiful blend of the fruity, sweet, and bitter, this dark-grained IPA is a little more smoky and complex. (Best description? Like a lime squeezed into a cup of coffee. Yum.) Savory, herbaceous, and equally fruity South American Carménère might be just what you’re looking for.


Baltic Porter

Originally designed to withstand colder climates and conditions, these lagers (yes, they’re bottom-fermenting!) have all the body, alcohol, and flavors you’ve come to expect from heavier stouts — with a little something extra. Something so hearty, so brooding needs a wine to match. That’s why our hive mind went to Aglianico, a full-bodied, high-tannin red wine with notes of smoke, game, and spiced fruit. Aglianico del Taburno and Aglianico del Vulture make for great, affordable gateway wines.

Pro-Tip: While we doubt we can convince anyone to switch out their Baltic Porter (~$ 8) for the rich and heady Amarone della Valpolicella ($ 50 ) of lore, if you’ve got the money, go for it.


Sahti

  • Example: Dogfish Head Sah’Tea
  • Typical Flavors: juniper, resin, peppercorn, cardamon, twigs
  • Wine to Try: Vermouth

Boasting an aromatic head and broad-shouldered body, this primitive Finnish beer is a unique treat. We’re going to assume if you’re crazy about Sahti, you’re probably crazy about its signature juniper character. That calls for Vermouth. Open and shut case.


Oyster Stout

  • Example: 21st Amendment Marooned on Hog Island
  • Typical Flavors: mollusk, brine, sea salt, dark grain
  • Wine to Try: Muscadet

Dry stouts make for a hell of a pairing with shellfish. They also make for a hell of a pairing in the beer itself, giving a briny and saline character to a dark, easy-drinking brew. Recommending a light, refreshing white wine like Muscadet feels like a far cry from a black ale—that is until you realize it too is dry, saline, and goes great with the treasures of the sea.


Rauchbier

There’s a lot of drinks that could be described as smoky, but few are as in your face about it as a Rauchbier. It’s not just smoky, either. It’s also spicy, savory, and meaty with some people even noting a bacon flavor! The smoke and leather of an aged Rioja sounds like an excellent substitute, but you’d also do well with an Old World Syrah and its earth and bacon-fat characteristics.


Last word: Did we miss your favorite style of beer? Looking for a wine to pair with it? Let us know in the comments and we’ll try to work our recommendation magic!


SUBSCRIBE TO GET FRESH WEEKLY WINE STORIES



By Vincent Rendoni
I’m a spicy meatball who loves light-bodied reds, aromatic whites, video games, and for better or worse, Seattle sports teams. I was a huge fan of Wine Folly before being hired, so I guess you could say I’m living the dream.

The Wine Brothers – Wines of Navarra- Bodegas Alzania

Bryan & Paul Hinschberger — The Wine Brothers present the amazing wines from Jose-Manual Echeverria in the Tierra Estella subzone of Navarra, Spain. A range of phenomenal high-end wines to blow your mind away.
Video Rating: 5 / 5

Spanish Wines (Rioja Wines)

Spain stands out as the third largest producer of wine after France and Italy. The Northeastern part of Spain that is the Rioja Region produces one of the best Spanish wines. This is divided into three geographical zones that happen to be Rioja Alta, Rioja Baja, and Rioja Alavesa. Each zone has its own unique flavor of grapes. The climate and quality in the soil in each of these three subzones influences the category and also the character of its grapes. Rioja wine is made with a blend of grapes from different subzones. Tempranillo grapes are the commonest form of grapes which are made with Rioja wines.

This is what gives its distinguishable flavor.  Tempranillo grapes are combined with Grenache grapes or Mazeulo grapes. Grenache doesn’t have that fruity taste and its alcohol content is higher. Rioja Wines are available in three classifications and they are the Crianza, Reserva and the Gran Reserva.

Crianza is probably the most affordable one and is viewed as table wine. What they typically do is age this for only a year inside the oak barrel and another year in the bottle. You could get this for five or ten US dollars. Now, let us talk about Reserva. This is aged at least one year inside the barrel and two years inside the bottle.  This will amount to around eleven to fifteen US dollars. Aging for the Gran Reserva is completed with all the wine staying in the barrel for two years then in the bottle for 3 years.

This generally is a bit pricey. Unfortunately the Gran Reserva is not offered every year. It is much better that you retain several bottles for special occasions. Rioja wine is often the Spanish version of the Italian Chianti. This sort of wine is best-known for its unique flavor.

Now, the Rioja wine is considered one of the most well-liked wines in the world.

Austrian Wines

Although Austria may not be in the same class as countries such as Germany, France and Spain for producing vast amounts of wine.  It is still a country that produces some high quality ones.  In fact this is a country that produces dry white wines of a world class standard that have been praised by a large number of the world’s wine aficionados. 

Due to the climate of this country they have grown their own unique varieties of grapes and are now being used in a wide variety of different types of wine today.  The problem is the only place you really may be offered the chance to sample these beautiful wines is in Austria itself.  Unfortunately the demand is very high and the average consumption of wine per person each year is around 33 litres.  So of course very little of what is actually produced gets exported. 

So what sorts of wines are produced in Austria today?

In Austria today the country is becoming well known for producing some of the best quality Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc wines.  Plus also they are becoming known for now producing some of the world’s best Pinot Blancs. 

However if you are looking for wines that are a little sweeter then again Austria has begun to produce some of the finest of these.  The best are coming from places such as Trockenbeerenausleses, Beerenausleses and Neusiderlersee.  All these are full, luscious and very exotic tasting and seem to go on forever. 

Yet this isn’t a country that only produces superb white wines they are now becoming known for producing some very good red wines as well.  The grapes used to create these are suitable to with any kind of food and come with a taste that is completely unique and unlike anything you will have tasted before. 

Finding your way among Spanish wines Part I: Location

Article by Ana Cuesta

So, you have asked for the restaurant’s wine list (or were handled one by default) and now need find your way on it… not that hard, really.The first thing you’ll notice is that the list is divided, after the gross Blancos/Tintos (white/red), in sections headed by a name that seems to be some sort of geographical indication, and indeed it is (some sort).

They are what we call Denominación de Origen (Designation of Origin). In this regulated world, for a wine to be ascribed to a particular Denominación de Origen, it has to come from within precise geographical boundaries and also abide to some rules set by the regulating council that controls the DO.

These indicate which kind of grapes can be used (the varieties of grape are not always indicated in the label, probably because they can be easily inferred from the DO), the techniques and processes allowed or not to grow the grapes and produce the wines, etc. (they go as far as to put limits to the yields achieved, so excess wine cannot be labelled under the DO). That way, a certain homogeneity in quality and style of the wine can be assured so you know what to expect when ordering a Rioja or a Ribera del Duero (often called in short a Ribera). Real aficionados rely more on the producer than on the DO, though.

Rioja and Ribera del Duero are probably the best-known Spanish DOs. Rioja used to be almost a synonymous of Spanish quality wine, and Ribera del Duero has grown in the last 25 years as a solid alternative. Both use basically the same red grape, called Tempranillo in Rioja and Tinta Fina en Ribera del Duero. Between the two of them accumulate a myriad of prices and recognitions and host already mythical wines such as Vega Sicilia Único (R. del Duero), Marqués de Murrieta Ygay (Rioja) or Pingus (R. del Duero, the Spanish wine with the most expensive tag).

They are certainly not the only ones, though. Spain counts 64 Denominaciones de Origen in which mainly red but also white wines (as well as some rosés) are produced.

Some may be less widely know because of their smaller production but give wines of the greatest quality which have merited international awards and top points in the ranking of all-mighty critic Robert Parker (L’Ermitá, D.O. Priorat; Termanthia, D.O. Toro; as for whites Pazo de Señorans, D.O. Rias Baixas often called after the predominant grape Albariño; Palacio de Bornos, D.O. Rueda; not to forget sparkling wines such as Juve & Camps Milesime, D.O. Cava, or sweet wines such as Alvear PX 1927, D.O. Montilla-Moriles but most often referred to, as far as sweet wines go, by the name of the grape Pedro Ximenez). Others lack such prominent names in their ranks and have as best selling point their offering good value for money.

Wine producers who cannot be bothered or don’t have the means to follow the tight rules of a DO may choose to sell their wines as ‘Vino de la Tierra’ (country wine), so you can find Vino de la Tierra de Castilla y León or Vino de la Tierra de Aragón, for example. These wider umbrellas have more loosen requirements but still offer some sort of quality-assurance for the buyer.

On the opposite extreme, some really fine wines are produced outside any DO because their designers decided the conditions set by the regulating council were not optimum to produce the wine they had in mind, or because the vineyards happen to be located just outside the geographical boundaries of the DO. As a notable example, the marquis of Griñón has recently managed to be granted a “Denominación de vino de pago” (sort of a microDO for his own vineyard) under the name Dominio de Valdepusa.

Finding your Way Among Spanish Wines

So, you have asked for the restaurant’s wine list (or were handled one by default) and now need find your way on it… not that hard, really. The first thing you’ll notice is that the list is divided, after the gross Blancos/Tintos (white/red), in sections headed by a name that seems to be some sort of geographical indication, and indeed it is (some sort). They are what we call Denominación de Origen (Designation of Origin). In this regulated world, for a wine to be ascribed to a particular Denominación de Origen, it has to come from within precise geographical boundaries and also abide to some rules set by the regulating council that controls the DO. These indicate which kind of grapes can be used (the varieties of grape are not always indicated in the label, probably because they can be easily inferred from the DO), the techniques and processes allowed or not to grow the grapes and produce the wines, etc. (they go as far as to put limits to the yields achieved, so excess wine cannot be labelled under the DO). That way, a certain homogeneity in quality and style of the wine can be assured so you know what to expect when ordering a Rioja or a Ribera del Duero (often called in short a Ribera). Real aficionados rely more on the producer than on the DO, though. Rioja and Ribera del Duero are probably the best-known Spanish DOs. Rioja used to be almost a synonymous of Spanish quality wine, and Ribera del Duero has grown in the last 25 years as a solid alternative. Both use basically the same red grape, called Tempranillo in Rioja and Tinta Fina en Ribera del Duero. Between the two of them accumulate a myriad of prices and recognitions and host already mythical wines such as Vega Sicilia Único (R. del Duero), Marqués de Murrieta Ygay (Rioja) or Pingus (R. del Duero, the Spanish wine with the most expensive tag).They are certainly not the only ones, though. Spain counts 64 Denominaciones de Origen in which mainly red but also white wines (as well as some rosés) are produced. Some may be less widely know because of their smaller production but give wines of the greatest quality which have merited international awards and top points in the ranking of all-mighty critic Robert Parker (L’Ermitá, D.O. Priorat; Termanthia, D.O. Toro; as for whites Pazo de Señorans, D.O. Rias Baixas often called after the predominant grape Albariño; Palacio de Bornos, D.O. Rueda; not to forget sparkling wines such as Juve & Camps Milesime, D.O. Cava, or sweet wines such as Alvear PX 1927, D.O. Montilla-Moriles but most often referred to, as far as sweet wines go, by the name of the grape Pedro Ximenez). Others lack such prominent names in their ranks and have as best selling point their offering good value for money. Wine producers who cannot be bothered or don’t have the means to follow the tight rules of a DO may choose to sell their wines as ‘Vino de la Tierra’ (country wine), so you can find Vino de la Tierra de Castilla y León or Vino de la Tierra de Aragón, for example. These wider umbrellas have more loosen requirements but still offer some sort of quality-assurance for the buyer. On the opposite extreme, some really fine wines are produced outside any DO because their designers decided the conditions set by the regulating council were not optimum to produce the wine they had in mind, or because the vineyards happen to be located just outside the geographical boundaries of the DO. As a notable example, the marquis of Griñón has recently managed to be granted a “Denominación de vino de pago” (sort of a microDO for his own vineyard) under the name Dominio de Valdepusa.

Tasting 2006 Valle Reale Montepulciano d’Abruzzo at Village Wines in Nashville, TN

Leonardo Pizzolo of Valle Reale and Hoyt Hill of Village Wines taste and discuss the Tre Bicchieri 2006 Valle Reale Montepulciano d’Abruzzo at Village Wines in Nashville, TN
Video Rating: 5 / 5

What are Catalunya Wines?

Article by Jhoana Cooper

Wine, be it red or white, is appreciated by many people around the world. The sparkling liquor can brighten up any occasion. The wineries of the Catalunya province of Spain is produce about 38 million liter of the liquor annually. About 200 vineyards are dedicated to produce Catalunya wines in Catalunya. Try out a Catalunya wine to taste the best.

Catalunya, which is right between the Pyrenees and Mediterranean Sea has long been known for its wines. The wind and particularly the soil of the region are great for the cultivation of grapes. The art of wine making here is as old as the history and culture of the place. You can find many folk lore and myths revolving around wines and wine making. The Cava style of wine prepared here is world renowned. The 2000 year old traditional Catalunya wines or the newer ones, excellence is the keyword for any Catalunya wine.

The manufacturers here have gained the technical know-how to export the wine to the rest of the world. All the companies are building their companies with a futuristic approach and including innovative marketing strategies. The manufacturers here are leading in the wine producers of the country. They are also adopting Australian techniques in order to increase the commercial value of the Catalunya wine.

Catalunya consists of eight places which cultivates the famous wine. These are Alella, Priorato, Costers del Segre, Penedes, Tarragona, Ampurdan-Costa Brava, Terra Alta and Conca de Barbera. Allela grows various varieties of grapes such as Pansa Blanca, Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc. The silica present in the soil in this region along with the misty climate is favorable for the growth of grapes. Alella produces refreshing white wines.

Pendes is the maximum producer of Cava in the country; also known for its fine red wines. Priorato is an area with salty soil which is the prime source of the rich, dark-colored, high in alcohol content wine found here. The credit of the great aroma and taste also goes to the Garnacha grapes of this region. Costers del Segre is a very prestigious Catalunya wine producing area; a large variety foreign grapes are cultivated here. Tarragona has immense potential to become a top wine producer; both red and white varieties of Catalunya wines are found here as well as in Terra Alta. Conca de Barbera produces one of the finest varieties of wines.

The Catalunya wines speak volumes about high quality. It has 25 types of grapes for the purpose of wine making. Some of the popular red wines of this region are Cabernet Cabernet Sauvignon, Peluda, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Franc, Garnacha, Monastrell and many more. The famous white wine varieties are Chardonnay, Granacha Blanca, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Muskat, Macabeo, Parellada and many others. Catalunya wines are a source of competition to all the wine producers of the country. The rich aroma and flavor in a bottle of Catalunya wine will produce an affect in your tongue that is hard to forget. It’s a must to taste the Catalunya wine, at least once.