Why not drink less, but better, wine this January?

Flagship wines 15.01.15

Flagship wines 15.01.15 - Credit: Archant

New Year resolutions are not the easiest thing in the world to keep especially if it means giving up the pleasure of a glass of wine.

If you recognise this situation and have succumbed to the lure of a glass of wine despite having been determined to keep January as a dry month then read on - there are some alternatives to complete abstinence.

Instead of giving up wine in the dark days of January why not make a resolution to change your wine buying and drinking habits so that the end result is to drink less but better wine?

Focus on what you buy and spend the same amount on fewer bottles that you might enjoy more than the usual special offer or everyday wine. This can also be combined with a plan to break away from old favourites and try new wines adding another element of enjoyment if you are restricting the quantity drunk in January.

An easy way to put this resolution into action is to buy wine to complement your food. At this time of year when the days are short and often gloomy due to wintry weather comfort food for internal heating is often on the menu including hearty casseroles, pasta dishes, risotto and fish pie to name a few. Luckily there are many robust full flavoured wines, ie winter warmers that will be great accompaniments to these dishes.

Hearty soups and casseroles are best matched with robust full flavoured wines such as an Argentinian Malbec with its juicy fruit notes or a stylish Cotes du Rhone from a named village such as Seguret will do the job. If you’re looking for a wine to partner pasta dishes with tomato based sauces a red wine with some ‘bite’ is often the best choice. Italian reds made from the Sangiovese grape such as Chianti or a Barbera d’Asti made from Barbera grapes that have an appealing savoury fruity aroma and taste that balances the acidity in the tomatoes, and the garlic and spices used in the recipe.

There are few dates in January when more hearty food is the norm than on Burns Night, January 25 when traditional Scottish fare of haggis, neeps and tatties is eaten to celebrate the birthday of the Scottish poet Robbie Burns. The haggis is full flavoured with herbs, spices and oatmeal matched by a robust richly flavoured Australian Shiraz such as the Bremerton Selkirk Shiraz made by Rebecca Willson whose ancestors hail from Scotland or the Borsao Seleccion Tinto with layers of chocolaty fruit that match the haggis taste.

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If really want to drink less in addition to the above plan then try some wines lower in alcohol. Many wines promoted as low in alcohol have been through the ‘spinning cone process’ which strips out flavour as well as alcohol and this is often disguised by the unwelcome addition of sugar. Thus wines such as some of the excellent better quality German Rieslings come into their own with circa 8 to 10 grams of residual sugar.

Good luck with the January Dryathon if you’re determined but all is not lost if you succeed in the above which is a fun way to keep a watch on January drinking and feel good by drinking less but better!