It’s mid-February and winter weather has finally arrived in my corner of the world. This means we’re all most likely feeling the drag of another cold winter. Since my birthday is during the cold months I feel a personal imperative to love the season but I have to say that even I need some encouragement to make it all the way to spring.
Whether you’re hibernating like whoa, taking outdoor winter activities by storm or, like me, hygge-ing it up huge, here are some beverage recommendations (wine and beer!) that should help see you through to the other side of winter.
Strewn Barrel-Aged Chardonnay
I know what you’re thinking – a white? This doesn’t make any sense!
But it can! Chardonnays can be pretty big and full bodied, especially when they’ve been barrel aged like this one has. I must admit I haven’t tasted this wine yet, but I’ve definitely bumped it up to the top of my shopping list so that I can test my ‘Chards for cold weather’ hypothesis before winter is over. Let me know if you test it too!
Ravenswood Vintner’s Blend Old Vine Zinfandel
I love trying something new as much as the next wino but there is also something to be said for returning to an old favourite. Every so often I grab a bottle of this trusty stand-by, even if it has started to creep out of my everyday wine price range. This wine has tons of ripe fruit that meshes well with its full body making for a delicious mouthful every time. It would go particularly well with roast lamb. Mmmmm…. I think I’ve just decided on my plans for my upcoming long weekend.
Cesari Amarone Classico
$38.95, but currently on sale!
Oh Amarone, why are you so delicious? Oh wait, I know that one! Amarones have this perpetually intense depth of flavour which comes from the fact that they’re made from partially dried grapes. The act of drying out the grapes (usually in the sun on straw mats) gives the wine a deliciously concentrated flavour, which is probably the main reason why I get a little greedy when there’s an open bottle of this stuff anywhere near me.
The next time you feel like hibernating and (if you’re like me) carb loading with a classic Italian pasta dish do yourself a favour and splurge on a bottle of Amarone to go with it. Trust me, you won’t regret it.
Mill Street – Vanilla Porter
This is one of Mill Street’s flagship winter beers. It’s a bit of a heavier one (I tend to take quite a while to work my way through a can) but it’s always enjoyable. It has a lovely ruddy colour and a pretty significant and creamy head so you’ll want to give it a couple minutes after pouring before diving in. Lots of sweet spices going on here along with the vanilla flavour.
Extra tip – This beer makes an excellent beer float when paired with your favourite vanilla ice cream.
Beau’s Brewery – The Tom Green Beer Milk Stout
Yes, the Tom Green collaborated on this beer! It’s a great brew for cold days with flavours like chocolate, nuts and coffee all playing around. It’s got an incredibly smooth and silky texture too, which makes for easy and enjoyable drinking. And, seeing as it’s a milk stout, I think it would only be appropriate to pair it with some homemade cookies, wouldn’t you?
Hop City – 8th Sin Black Lager
This beer has some interesting things going on but not so many that it becomes unapproachable. It’s malty and roasty but medium bodied, so it’s a good sitting-by-the-fireplace-on-a-cold-night sipper. Plus, the can design is so vibrant that just looking at it makes me think of warm sunny days. Cinco de Mayo much?
Over to you – how are you keeping cozy this winter?