This time of year we work red wines into our wine rotation much more often than in the summer months. Red wines just pair better with braised meals and chill winter evenings than salads and triple-digit afternoons. But until those very warm temperatures descend upon us in late summer, red wines will also pair well with grilled meats and veggies as the weather warms and we begin grilling outdoors. All three wines in this collection, which we received as tasting samples, are worthy of a home cooked meal whether braised or grilled.
2017 Ferraton Père & Fils La Matinière, Crozes-Hermitage — medium ruby in the glass with aromas of red fruit, coffee and dried herbs. Flavors of red and dark fruit are backed by earthy notes and dried tobacco. The body is on the light side of medium with drying tannins. 13% abv. SRP $26
This elegant and approachable Syrah offers plenty of flavor with nicely integrated tannins at a price that makes it perfect for weeknight dining. Over the years we have tasted several vintages of wines from Ferraton Père & Fils and they never disappoint. This is a red wine for soup, roasted chicken or sausage-stuffed delicata squash.
Syrah is sourced from both Ferraton estate and neighboring vineyards. The grapes are de-stemmed and fermentation takes place in concrete vats before continuing to age for 14 months in concrete.
Crozes-Hermitage enjoys a continental climate with hot, dry summers. The region is cooler than the Southern Rhône, but warm enough to fully ripen grapes.
2017 Vallado Vinho Tinto, Douro — dense ruby in the glass with generous aromas of mixed dark fruit, dusty earth and dried herbs. Flavors of dried red cherries blend with dark fruit flavors and earthy notes in the background. Tannins are drying and a bit grippy in this flavorful, medium-bodied wine. The finish is moderately long. 14% abv. SRP $22.99
This wine has plenty of bold flavor and great structure, but no overripe or jammy flavors. The alcohol is modest, which makes it perfect for a meal. Save this wine for your best version of braised short ribs and marvel at how delicious the pairing is.
When I think of Portugal’s Douro River, which empties into the Atlantic Ocean at Oporto, I think of port wine, but dry red wines from the region have also made a name for themselves. As with port, Douro dry red wines are almost always blends.
Quinta do Vallado was established in 1716 and is still owned by descendants of the original owner Dona Antónia Adelaide Ferreira. Vineyards include plantings dating back to 1929 as well as more recent plantings from the 1990s.
This wine is a blend of Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz, Souzão and “25% mixed old vineyards (over 80 years old.)” Fermentation took place in temperature-controlled stainless steel. 70% was aged in stainless steel for 16 month and the balance in used French oak barriques until final blending.
2015 Bel Colle Simposio, Barolo — translucent ruby in the glass with bright, red fruit aromas, spice and black pepper with just a suggestion of tar in the background. Red fruit flavors and floral notes blend with drying, grippy tannins and bright acidity. Flavors and tannins linger on the palate. 14.5% abv. SRP $59.99
This wine is an absolute beauty in the glass thanks to its translucent ruby color. It sparkles, but without the bubbles. The combination of red fruit flavors, barely medium body and grippy tannins is so appealing. Pair it with Sunday Sauce over pasta or brisket. This wine will make Sunday dinner extra special.
Nebbiolo is the star in Barolo and this wine is sourced from three vineyard sites near the towns of Verduno, La Morra and Novello, all within about 15 km of Bel Colle. The average age of the vines is 50 years and the vineyards enjoy a southern exposure.
Winemaking includes fermentation in temperature-controlled stainless steel, a 15-day skin maceration, malolactic fermentation in 5000-liter French oak casks followed by aging for 36 months in Slavonian oak casks and bottle aging for six months. Patience is required, but pays off big time in this wine.