February 3, 2015 | REX HILL

Winter Wine Pairings

With the bulk of the holiday season behind us, what could be more nourishing than a simple, delicious meal in front of the fireplace and a glass (or bottle) of wine that takes the edge off a bitterly cold night. This winter, treat yourself by following these simpler winter wine pairing suggestions and you may just warm up to the winter months after all.

Roasted chicken with dumplings
This quintessential winter dish pairs seamlessly with a medium-bodied white wine that gives the cooked vegetables equal time in the flavor spotlight. The roasted chicken, hint of herbs, cooked vegetables, and cream sauce are a match made in heaven for a bottle of Chardonnay. The wine will play well against the savory flavors and yet complement the rich, luxurious texture of the sauce while at the same time keeping the dish light and vibrant.

Gruyere and apple grilled cheese
Pair it with a vibrant, fruity Pinot Gris, a medium-bodied white wine with a delicate balance of acidity and sweetness. Its crisp acidity will lighten up the creaminess of the cheese and call out the notes of the green apple folded into the whole gooey mix. Pinot Gris is grown throughout the world and tends to vary greatly depending upon its terroir. For a particularly delicious experience, seek out a bottle from Oregon and enjoy intense aromas of apple, pear, and melon.

Roasted root vegetables with caramelized onions
Whether you've looted the local farmers market or are looking to clean out the vegetable drawer, a pan of roasted root vegetables can hit all the right notes on a dark winter night. Uncork a bottle of off-dry Riesling, an aromatic white grape variety, and you'll never eat your veggies alone again. Riesling will play off the sweet notes of the caramelized onions while at the same time offering a bright acidity and lovely fruity interplay that pairs well with the caramelized, roasted vegetables.

Raspberry Chocolate Molten Lava Cake
For those looking to get their chocolate fix, nothing fits the bill better than a molten lava cake. Chocolate lava cakes are generously quite rich and savory and can pair fantastically well with a sweet rosé. Choose a rosé with medium acidity - just enough to cleanse our palate of chocolate ganache - and strong, vibrant notes of red berries such as strawberries and raspberries. You'll swoon for this duet of ripe fruit and rich chocolate as it is guaranteed to hit all the right notes.

When it comes to crafting a successful wine pairing to accompany winter fare, sometimes all it takes is a little inspiration to get started. So whether you're serving a group of family and friends, or just treating you and your sweetheart to a fireside dinner, a little advanced planning and a few simple ingredients can warm up even the coldest night.

Madeline Blasberg is a Certified Wine Consultant who has spent time in Mendoza, Argentina, where she was surrounded by wine, both personally and professionally. Currently, Madeline works as the Official Wine Commentator & Reviewer for Etching Expressions, a company specializing in personalized wine bottles.



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