When picturing your perfect dinner party in winter, your mind may gravitate towards a warming menu of hearty slow-cooked stews and sumptuous roasts, complemented by bold red wines with notes of berries and spice.
It’s what we’ve been taught to enjoy over the years, but as Trina Smith, group white and sparkling winemaker at Jacob’s Creek, tells us, we may be missing a key opportunity to pair such rich foods with wines of a different, and rather unexpected, variety.
“There is definitely an assumption — or some may argue a myth — that red wine is designed for consumption in the winter, while white is generally reserved for summer,” she tells TheLatch—.
“This could be because due to the idea that when it’s colder out, people commonly drift away from food and drinks that haven’t been chilled and instead crave something that has a warming taste, which for wine tends to be the fuller-bodied reds. Over time this association has stuck.”
Speaking to TheLatch—, Smith puts forward an excellent case for white wine consumption with typical winter menus. As she explains, the lighter tasting notes stand up against such flavourful dishes, and in some cases, can work in superior unison with a meal.
“Many people will be surprised at how well white wines pair with rich winter foods. Many white varieties are perfect for the colder months, as they can complement a wide array of food by offering a lighter taste in comparison to the hearty dishes.
“Fuller and more tannic red wines can overpower some dishes, whilst a complex, flavoursome Chardonnay is less intense — but you will still get a wine which is flavoursome and harmonises with the food.”
Her suggestion? “When it comes to food pairings, a wine that has flavour, texture, complexity and also a fine direction of acid, such as the Jacob’s Creek Double Barrel Chardonnay, will cut through some of the rich comforting winter foods we all like, such as roast chicken and slow-cooked casseroles.”
You may be thinking: In such icy weather, why would anyone want to drink chilled wines, even when paired with warm foods? Well, as Smith explains, in winter, you don’t exactly need to serve white wines at fridge temperature like you otherwise would in summer. In fact, she suggests you let your wine come down in temperature before sampling it.
“In Australia, we traditionally like to chill our white wines, however, it is quite common around the world for fuller whites to be consumed at slightly warmer temperatures.
“This warmth allows the aromas of the wine to truly blossom and become more defined, so when drinking it can lead to a more flavoursome experience, especially when you drink a complex Chardonnay such as the Double Barrel.
“The Australian winter is, therefore, a great opportunity to try consuming white wine warmer than normal to get that full flavour experience.”