HEARTY RED WINES
Robustly flavoured slow cooked meals and hearty red wines are always an irresistible combination at this time of year. We eat a lot of slow food in our house. I love when the kitchen is filled with the smell of braising meats and vegetables and I know the resulting dishes will have layers of mellow complexity that only comes with extended time in the oven.
I like my wines with layers of complexity too. I want new flavours to reveal themselves as I take each mouthful and I want those flavours to fill my mouth and linger for a while as good wines should.
One thing I always do is decant my red wines – even the everyday ones. This simple one minute process gives the wine plenty of contact to the air and it is virtually guaranteed to improve the wine - rounding out the palate and making it softer and more fulsome in the mouth. You don’t need an expensive decanter; any glass or ceramic jug will do and you can pour the wine back into the bottle before your serve the wine if you wish. Special or older bottles of wine should be decanted just before you are ready to serve them. Young wines seem to benefit from being decanted an hour or so earlier.
Here is a selection of some great value red wines – each with a slow food suggestion.
Mount Erin Merlot Cabernet Franc 2016 – Hawkes Bay
Available from 18.99
This is a perfectly pitched example of middleweight Hawkes Bay merlot dominant red from Redmetal winemaker Grant Edmonds. Soft and mellow in the glass it shows good structure from the cabernet franc and has Edmond’s signature balance across the palate. It is begging to be enjoyed with chicken braised with tomatoes, olives and lemon.
Lavau Cotes du Rhone 2017 – Rhone Valley, France
Available from $16.99
I always say that Cotes du Rhone is the perfect French red for Kiwi palates, combining the weighty ‘Pinot Noir–esque’ flavours of grenache with the more savoury and drier flavours of syrah. The 2017 Lavau is grenache dominant, velvet smooth and simply loaded with soft, spicy dark fruits. It’s juicy and moreish and a perfect partner for slow cooked lamb with star anise.
Contrade Puglia Primitivo IGT 2017 – Salento, Italy
Available from $15.99
This is a lovely example of middleweight primitivo. It’s quite plush for Italian red in this price band with flavours in the black fruit and plum spectrum. Primitivo’s signature spiciness is on show but this wine is all about supple easy drinking – with soft tannin structure and a gentle lick of creamy acidity on the finish. I’d match this with braised beef cheeks with a hint of chilli.