As we pull into March, it’s time to look at some wines that are good for cool weather and yet are diverse enough to handle what lies ahead. My friend used to say “March is a b*t*h” – he went on to explain that March was the only month where the weather is so erratic that you never knew what you were going to get from one day to the next. Despite the feeling that spring was just around the corner, he always predicted at least one major snowfall was left in March. So I looked through some wines I enjoyed over the past few months and thought it best to recommend a couple to have on hand in case the snow flies and you’re stuck at home for a day or two.
My first choice comes from Argentina – Tilia 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon ($12.95 – #163428) – here’s a wine you can while away the hours with because it’s not too heavy and is still robust enough that it’ll match with a hearty beef stew, yet is pretty enough to sit and sip all on its own. The aromas are raspberry, strawberry, cherry and chocolate – all with hints of something floral (violets come to mind). The palate is a little more robust, delving into fruits like black cherry and black raspberry… then it softens on the mid-palate with some red licorice. The tannins sit more on the silky side than on the robust side, making this a great wine for all kinds of matching. I really dig Tilia 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon and give it four stars. (****)
I also recommend a Late Bottled Vintage Port from Sandeman (Portugal), something that’ll warm the cockles of your heart and the tips of your toes and take the red out of your nose. Those of you out there who don’t groove on Port… well, I can never understand why… plus it makes an excellent addition to French onion soup, stews and any recipe that calls for a good red wine. The flavors are the reasons: plum, black cherry, cassis, blackberry… along with some lovely spiciness – all balanced with acidity to keep it from being a thick and excessively sweet mess in the mouth; and this particular version has a nice spice-cherry finish. Late Bottled Vintage Ports (known also as LBV Ports), unlike their Vintage counterparts, are ready to drink now and don’t have to be stored away for 20+ years before you can indulge. The one I recommend comes from the 2007 vintage – which seems to be a great year for LBV Ports – and for under $20 it won’t cost you an arm and a leg for some warmth. Turn down the thermostat and open the Port – it’ll take care of the big chill. (****+)
Next week, California Month begins at the LCBO – so for the entire month of March I’ll be taking a look at some California grape varieties and wines.
This Week’s Selections …
Tilia 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, $12.95 – #163428 (**** = very good)
Sandeman 2007 Late Bottled Vintage Port, $16.95 – #195974 (****+ = very good plus)