Happy almost winter! WIth the cold weather breathing down our necks, literally, what better way to warm up than curled up in a blanket by the fireplace with someone (or thing) that you love? Well, with the propper libation, you may be able to forego the fireplace (jumping embers, risk of singed eyebrows..) and blanket, and warm up equally well with the person or people near and dear to your heart. If they are too far away (physically, only), then sometimes it is nice to spend some quality time with none other than the self you were blessed with :) Either way, today's entry is about winter-friendly wines.
So, many of us are familiar with the concept of "warming up with a whiskey". The science behind this is that alcohol increases blood flow and improves circulation temporarily, but beyond that there is something about brown liquors, especially whiskeys (borboun, rye, scotch, etc.) that warms your core instantly. Well, although some of you may love this spirit, it is definately a "love it or hate it" libation, with very few legitimate health benefits.
Red wine, however, is a great, much more universal way to warm up in this impending cold climate. The trick is the darker the color and the higher alcohol levels. These wines will have the most pronounced effect on warming you up. California Zinfandel is a great option, and although there are many, even better, choices out there, my go-to California Zin (for a budget) is the Ravenswood Vinters Blend. The tasting notes are typically black- and raspberry, plum, and subtle cooking spices such as cinnamon and clove. Any "old vine" Zinfandel you find will be worth trying as well! Warming from the first sip, this is a great red to enjoy on it's own, or to pair with some warming comfort food such as chili!
Not a big Zinfandel fan? California and Washington Cabernet Sauvignon, South American Malbec, and Australian Shiraz are all viable alternatives to nice, warming red wines.
And my world doesn't revolve entirely around wine, so to those of you who are recent transplants to the fine city, or to those of you such as myself who sometimes need a reminder or two throughout life - layer, layer, layer. It is definately the way to "weather" this Windy-City winter! Smartwool (and other companies, such as Icebreaker and Ibex) are layers made of Merino wool that dry quickly, hold in warmth very well, and are light to layer!
I hope everyone has a winter season filled with warmth, truly yours,
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