More snow is predicted this week. Freezing cold temperatures this weekend. This Southern woman has been running around trying to do everything I have to do so I can be in my house when the first flakes fall. Yes, I am a snow wimp.
I don’t like snow but the cold weather inspires cocooning--for me, a solitary state of snuggling inside while keeping an eye on the wintry elements outside. Cocooning also makes me think of comfort food. Those stick- to- your- ribs hearty foods which evoke memories of carefree childhood days, and great times with friends. Comfort food is well, comforting, and for me right now a simple antidote to the stress of more snow shoveling.
I think the crock pot is the cocooner's best kitchen tool because it is a no fuss way to whip up some comfort food. Right now I'm thinking of chunky beef stew or maybe bean soup. And I'm looking forward to selecting the 'comfort food' wine of the day. I'm the kind of person who likes a down blanket and a cold pillow, so hot soup and chilled wine sounds just right.
Comfort food is hearty; wines that match with comfort foods need to have a little heft. Medium to full bodied. Substantive and, as the wine experts say, unassuming. A down to earth wine for down to earth food.
Here are some of my favorites:
Cotes du Rhone red wines hail from a region of France where they know something about dipping crusty bread into the soup bowl. Rhone reds are generally modestly priced with an earthy rich taste that is satisfying. Jaboulet Parallele 45 is a go to for me.
I always think rustic when I think of Spain's reds, the increasingly easy to find Riojas. Plenty of raspberry fruitiness with a dryness not off putting to white wine lovers with an aversion to red wines.
And white wine fans should sample one of my favorite whites---a grand match for hearty foods. Viognier's floral accents are just part of its appeal. So is the honeysuckle. For a Southerner honeysuckle is quintessential comfort. No question about the heartiness of this wine which is typically about 14 percent alcohol. I just picked up a Maryhill Vineyards Viognier from a recent trip to Washington State. The 2006 Viognier is a multi award winner, and the 2007 is also a blue ribbon winner.
Don't overlook the food friendly Gruner Veltliner if you want to stick with a white wine. Gruner's citrus with pepper flavor makes this wine a tasty accompaniment to comfort food.
BTW, I did a random stop into a wine store and asked the clerk what he would identify as comfort food wine. His choices, both wines in the 12 dollar and under range: Sant'Angleo Negroamaro, a red wine, and a white Chenin Blanc from the Good Hope Winery in South Africa. Never tasted the Negroamaro, but apparently it is an ancient grape. I've had many Chenin Blancs from South Africa, but not this one. I've got a few comfort food days to go during this winter so I'll give them a taste.
But comfort food and comfort food wine is really about what brings about that "um,um good" moment. As always, it is all about what you like. Pour a glass, and settle in for comfort.