Beat the January blues with a quality choice

PUBLISHED: 10:20 15 January 2016 | UPDATED: 10:20 15 January 2016

Haggis, turnips, mashed potatoes and a glass of whisky on a tartan background - the ingredients for a Burns' Night supper

Haggis, turnips, mashed potatoes and a glass of whisky on a tartan background - the ingredients for a Burns' Night supper

Paul Cowan

Did you make a New Year’s resolution to drink less wine in January, joined the January Dryathon and wish you hadn’t or simply want to find some wines to enjoy in this bleak dark month after Christmas with dank wet weather? These resolutions are not easy to keep as the month goes on so why not resolve to enjoy a quality wine rather than a quantity of wine?

Flagship wines 14.01.16Flagship wines 14.01.16

An easy way to do this is to buy wine to complement your food. Winter warming recipes are on many menus and include casseroles, pasta dishes, risotto and fish pie to name a few. Luckily there are many robust full flavoured wines, both white and red, that will be great accompaniments to these dishes.

As I’ve mentioned before a useful rule of thumb to select a wine that will complement a meal is to take the main ingredient(s) and think of their flavours and this will lead you to the flavours needed in the wine chosen to drink with it.

The old adage of drinking white wine with fish and red wine with meat need not be assiduously followed unless that is what you prefer.

Argentinian Malbecs with their smooth rich dark juicy fruit flavours are a great place to start as they will complement the robust meatiness of a casserole or steak such as those from Nieto Senetiner winery.

Similarly a New World Shiraz from Australia or a contemporary South African Pinotage will be a great match. Pinotage, the truly South African grape variety created to cope with that country’s climate and soils from a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsaut originally had very difficult dry chewy fruit notes that tasted harsh and unpleasant. However, there are now some lovely fruity Pinotage wines with a deep vibrant fruit flavour made form this wine such as those made by Jeremy Borg at Painted Wolf wines.

Alternatively, for a fish pie or a mushroom risotto seek out the soft fruity wines that have rounded yet refreshing flavours such as New World lightly oaked Chardonnay from Chile such as those from Viu Manent or Montes or an aromatic Argentinian Torrontes when you want to drink a white wine.

It has lovely tangy fruit flavours and a lovely broad mouthfilling taste that makes it a good accompaniment with food.

It would be wrong to ignore Burns’ Night on January 25 when talking about winter warming food and wine combinations.

On this day the traditional Scottish fare of haggis, neeps and tatties is eaten to celebrate the birthday of the Scottish poet Robbie Burns.

A good haggis will have a mélange of spicy oatmeal notes in this full flavoured dish. Many people say that only a good malt whisky should be drunk to complement the haggis but a good alternative is a robust richly flavoured Australian Shiraz such as the Bremerton Selkirk Shiraz or the Ardiles Priorat from North Eastern Spain with its lovely robust yet elegant deep savoury flavours. Best enjoyed whilst listening to The Ode to the Haggis?

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