Seasonal wine drinking is all about pairing up a wine with the time of year, and choosing a wine that’s going to compliment all of the aromas, flavors and foods that are typically associated with the particular season you’re in.
For most of us, seasonal changes are a big part of where we live. Cooler in the fall, cold in winter, sunny and warm in the spring and hot in the summer.
Changing things up a bit at different times of the year seems like a perfectly natural thing to do.
Maybe you’ve already got a ’go-to’ selection of favorites that fits into each season or maybe you’ve never even considered drinking wine seasonally before.
Here are a few suggestions, recommendations and pairing tips to help.
What is seasonal wine drinking?
Different times of the year call for different eating habits, flavor interests, ingredients and a whole lot more. It’s all about continuing to look for new (and delicious) ways to create the perfect blend between the weather outside and your favorite food and drink.
After all, the whole point is to have a great experience while enjoying wine with family and friends, right?
As the Fall arrives and we notice the temperatures cooling, we tend to start putting away the Pinot Grigio and break out the Pinot Noir, Barbera and Sangiovese. It makes sense that we would be craving these particular wines, especially since people everywhere are celebrating that the weather has just started to turn cool.
If you’re starting to pull out the lasagna recipes, savoring a roast chicken or pork dish, some of the flavorful, medium bodied reds like those noted above fit well with harvest-style foods and are definitely the right way to go.
Winter usually calls for more hearty fare. It’s the time of year when everyone is looking for the fireplace and creating big meals for the holiday season. So think full bodied reds, like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, or a Syrah, as well as a couple of big whites like Chardonnay or Viognier.
Spring invites us back outside and what a perfect time to break out the crisp whites, rosés and red blends. It’s time to enjoy the brightness and the warmth of the air - enjoy the flowers coming back to life and it’s when people start eating a little bit healthier.
After all, this is the time of year that fresh fruits and vegetables start to become more prevalent. Try a cool Pinot or Grenache Rosé with your grilled salmon, or maybe a Tempranillo or a Malbec with your grilled meat.
Summer heat and longer days bring out the backyard BBQ’s and give us all kinds of opportunities to expand our palates and get a little creative. Viognier, Albarino, Gavi and Sauvignon Blanc among the whites, and don’t forget Sangria.
This is where you’re going to want drinks that have just a little bit of a chill to them or that are great served chilled. There are also so many red blends now with delicious and creative combinations that make a perfect table selection for evening get-togethers with friends.
Is seasonal wine drinking for you?
Now, there is such a wide variety of different wines out there that it’s impossible to list them all and you may have an entirely different favorite for any given time of year. Maybe you don’t even think about the time of year when you pour yourself a glass of wine. If that’s the case, you’re certainly not alone.
There are plenty of people who are interested in enjoying their favorite wine and don’t care at all about whether the seasons align with it. There’s nothing wrong with that. You’re ‘allowed’ to enjoy your favorites any time of year!
The key to really enjoying wine in my opinion, is to pair it with good friends and good food. And while your favorite wine is going to taste wonderful no matter when or how you drink it, you’ll find that it tastes even better when paired properly.
I like to say “there’s a time and a place for every wine,” so take advantage of the change in season to expand your wine experience. Who knows, you’re likely to find a few new favorites to add to your selection and share with your friends. Cheers!