Wine column: Cold weather calls for robust red wines to pair with hearty stew or roast

With plunging temperatures and snow in the forecast, I reach out for inspiration from Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking — specifically to chapter seven, Braised Beef.

Canadian winter is the time to choose robust red wines that only pair with heartier dishes, such as beef stews and roasted red meats. The next step is to select a wine that I’ll add to the dish — and to my glass.

Tender, braised beef cooked at a lower temperature results in a dish with layers of mellow complexity which is exactly what we want in the wine. A robust, round and rich red is called for, suggesting a Cotes du Rhone or Chateauneuf-du-Papes, Pinot Noir, Mourvedre, or maybe a Syrah/Shiraz, Minervois or a Bordeaux.

There are plenty of options for a suitable red wine to pair with beef stew. Of course, you will need a cup or two for the red wine marinade (Child recommends using a youthful red such as a Cotes du Rhone or Chianti) and then wine to add to the pot to loosen the flavourful brown bits after browning the beef cubes (from Acme Meat Market of course). The last step is slow-braising the meat until tender and swimming in a rich and savoury gravy. Quality ingredients are key for any recipe — I wouldn’t use a wine that I wouldn’t want to drink as well because the flavour of the wine will show up in the food.

What could be better than serving up a fragrant and rich stew paired with an equally beautiful, robust red after enjoying a winter activity outdoors, such as a visit to the magical ice castle.

A hearty beef stew will be rich and savoury, requiring a wine that can stand up to the flavours of the dish. Here are a few great recommendations that will meet the challenge.

RACINE COTES DU RHONE 2015 $19

This is a terrific value wine from the outstanding 2015 vintage — a blend of 70 per cent Grenache and 10 per cent each of Syrah, Cinsault and Mourvèdre. Expect juicy fruit, sweet spice on a rich easy-to-drink red. You will find this wine on the list at Three Boars.

TENUTA DI SESTA CAMPONOVO 2015 $20

A youthful and rich Tuscan red blend of Sangiovese and Colorino grapes that has that freshness one expects from the region with intense aromas and flavours of strawberry, cherry, earth and spice. On the list

Source:: Edmonton Journal – Lifestyle

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