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Red wine for Winter

On the subject of red wines, check out two great festivals for Western Cape-ites – Hartenberg Shiraz Festival and Wine Concepts Burgundy Festival. Lots of yummy reds for all!

19 May 2011

Hello drinkers,

Brrr – winter has hit the Cape and no mistake! Yes, I think it is fair to say that ‘chilled’ now applies to my toes and not my wines, which means it must be time to switch away from whites and dive into some serious winter warming reds instead. Here’s a few red wine drinking do’s and don’t’s for this winter.

Warming up your wines

Just as in summer, we often serve our red wines too hot, in winter it is easy to serve them too cold. I find that the best way to bring a wine to room temperature (around 15°C) is to stand the bottle in front of the fire for half an hour, but if you don’t have that much time, try sticking an icy bottle in the microwave for a few seconds – honestly! Just make absolutely certain that you remove all the foil or the whole screwcap as otherwise you’re in for an explosive glass of wine!

Mmm – it’s stew time!

One of my favourite sayings is “I love cooking with wine – sometimes I even put it in the food!” Now I know that conventional wisdom says that you should only cook with wine which you would drink, but I’m telling you that when it comes to slow-cooked winter food, in my opinion, the cheaper the wine the better for your wallet! Don’t waste your good stuff in a stew or casserole – buy the cheapest box red you can find, because trust me, you won’t be able to tell the difference in the food, just in your bank balance at the end of the month.

Slow-cooking wines family-style

The other nice thing about slow-cooking your food in red wine is that the hours of long, slow braising make your food perfectly acceptable for the whole family, as any alcohol will burn right off leaving only a rich, satisfying flavour. So no need to make two separate dishes or worry about bamboozling little brains with alcohol – a slow-cooked stew is guaranteed perfect family food all round.

A-mocha-lypse now!

This year, it looks as if the ‘choc-coff’ bubble has once more failed to burst with new wines from Clos Malverne, Simonsvlei and Van Loveren taking advantage of this popular confusion between food and drink. It seems that there really has been an ‘a-mocha-lypse’ as Gary Jordan from Jordan Wines puts it – but to some people, this style of wine isn’t even worthy of the word, let alone something they would put past their lips. Our very first wine click-to-vote poll asks ‘To choc or not to choc?’ so go to the page and give us your thoughts.

For some of my favourite casserole recipes, check out lamb knuckles in red wine, beef casserole! and these delicious lamb shanks! Keep warm this winter from the inside out – drink lots of red wine!




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