With the winter solstice in full effect, frigid temperatures and snowstorms have been far from scarce this season. Kind of a drag right? Wrong! This is exactly the time of year to find a fireplace (in your home or someone else's) and curl up with a glass of something delicious. And not just any kind of something delicious ― fireplace wines are a unique category unto themselves. Think full body, luscious texture, and the perfect balance of acid and tannin that does not require food.
Check out the top picks for what to have on hand to weather those cold nights fireside, straight from the app you love—Drync:
Super knowledgeable “Dryncers” might already recognize Semillon as one of the classic white grapes of Bordeaux, where it is blended with Sauvignon Blanc to make still whites, and the lusciously honeyed Sauternes. However, it has failed to make as big a splash overseas as it’s outgoing sister Sauvignon Blanc. That is until some savvy Australian producers in the Barossa and Hunter Valleys started experimenting with this unsung variety. The result is wines that are refined and lovely, with zesty acidity, yet an almost mouth-coatingly rich texture. Proof that winter white is not restricted to fashion only.
Mersault & St Aubin:
We know that oaked Chardonnays have gotten a bum rap, and we know that many of you are card carrying members of the ABC (Anything But Chardonnay) Club. However, we are respectfully submitting Meursault (and it's less spendy neighbor St Aubin) for your approval. These delicately oaked Chardonnays are simply stellar for the season, reminiscent of buttery baked golden apples and Bosc pears sprinkled with sweet baking spices, with the faintest whiff of toast and smoke in the aromatics. If loving these oaked wines is wrong, we do not want to be right.
Although we are huge fans of Spain's Tempranillo based Riojas, they were just too delicate and subtle for this list. Instead we turn our firelit sights to the Garnacha driven blends of Navarro and Priorat.Garnachas (like their French brethren Grenache) thrive in hot climates with rocky soils. The plants yield little fruit, but what they do produce is rich, balanced and concentrated. The results are wines that are almost heady, brimming with rich black fruit, earthy spiciness, and silky tannins.
Although Bandol is also known as a region that produces stellar rosés, it is their Mourvedre based reds that we are yearning to cozy up to on chilly winter nights. Traditionally, Mourvedre is part of the classic trio (along with Syrah and Grenache) that drives the southern Rhone's most delicious reds, where it lends perfume and structure. In the Bandol, however, it truly shines when flying solo. The wines are spicy, dark, chewy and meaty we almost want to serve them on a plate. Who needs to dinner with a wine like this?
Salice Salento Reds:
These budget friendly beauties hail from Apulia, at the heel of Italy's boot. The primary grape in this region is Negroamaro, meaning black and bitter in Italian. The name does not do these wines justice. True, there is a slight bitter bite hidden deep within those bushels of black fruit, red flowers and sweet spices, but the texture is smooth, silky and tender.
Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
A classic wine for a classic season. We cannot imagine anything better than a roaring fire, and glass of robust California Cab at our finger tips: Inky and rich, with aromas and flavors of rich cassis, black berries, black cherry, vanilla, mint, cedar and smoke. The acidity and tannins balance perfectly, keeping drinkers happy one delicious sip to another.
So are you still missing summer days and sunshine? Yeah, we didn't think so.
- Amy Ullman of Drync