What makes winter for me is wearing cashmere wraps and silk slips, or drinking the vinous equivalent thereof. After Christmas shopping amongst crowds in wet fur and leather, weaving between puffs of smoke from roast chestnuts and flurries of snowflakes, it is a relief to get home to a quiet glass of wine.
La Bastide Blanche 2008 Bandol, South of France £10.00 – 12.34 (Waitrose)
I look for Bandol at wine merchants, but I am happy to pick this up at the local Waitrose, and half the usual (expensive) Bandol price. For a moment you can forget the Siberian conditions outside; it is a warm wind from Provence, satisfying herbs and spicy, fleshy warmth.
Argiolas Cannonau di Sardegna “Costera” 2008 £11-13 (Harrods)
This is a short-film version of the epic Barrua, one of Sardinia’s top Cannonau, if not wine. Give it a bit of time and this meaty red made of Cannonau (Grenache) develops real power and depth warming up with licorice and cherry.
2008 Ribolla Gialla, Colli Orientali Friuli Visintini £11.95 (Lea & Sandeman)
If red wine is too much for a Saturday afternoon, this white wine from snowy Friuli would be a good bet. It is creamy as roasted chestnuts are creamy, offset by a light flintiness. I prefer Ribolla Gialla to any Pinot Grigio on offer, anytime – unlike Pinot Grigio, it can encompass even the biggest winter casserole.
Image: Rene Gruau – exhibition at Somerset House until January 6th, 2011.