If you follow my blog (so basically, if you’re my aunt), you’ll notice that I tend to write about two things fairly often: wine and cold weather. This is not only because I am deeply uncreative and haven’t had an original thought in my head since “Brine is Just Fine,” my first blog 13 years ago (or something). I also happen to really like both of those things. Cold weather gives me an opportunity to show off my vast collection of three sweaters, and I have a winter birthday. I also hate being pressured to go outside and tend to excel at indoor activities, like reading and sitting quietly. Consequently, I am always coming up with fun winter activities and foods, while in summer my main activity is complaining.
I firmly believe that red wine is the way to go during winter months. However, some people don’t like red wine that much. I find it hard to imagine such a thing, but I suppose it takes all kinds to make up this rich tapestry of a world. The main arguments that I hear opposing red wine boil down to the fact that, tannin-wise, red wines tend to be a bit intense, and that they have almost no chance of being sweet or off-dry.
This is true. Most of the red wines that I like (Malbec, Tempranillo, Grenache) are high alcohol, and thus have less sugar. Operating by the simple principle that Sugar + Yeast = Alcohol, this makes sense. In order to have a hearty 14% alcohol by volume Australian Shiraz, that wine’s sugar has to go away, sacrificing itself for sweet and delicious booze.
Thus, the off-dry (meaning non-dessert wines with a high amount of residual sugar) wines that my girlfriend likes (Riesling) have low alcohol.
But what if there were a way to have a wine with both high sweetness and high alcohol/heartiness? Good news! There is! I present to you the delicious world of Port and Sherry.
A word: Port and sherry are both types of fortified wine. This means that either during or after the fermentation process (the process when yeast eats sugar and makes ethanol), more alcohol is added to the wine. In the case of sherry, grape brandy is added to it after fermentation has taken place. With port, alcohol is added halfway through the process. Though these wines are sweeter than your standard Pinots Noir, Chardonnays, etc, don’t be fooled. They are actually quite complex and renowned. Port, as you may have guessed, is from Portugal, but only the areas of the Duoro Valley. Sherry, similarly, is only made from grapes grown in Jerez, Spain. In fact, “Sherry” is an Anglicization of “Jerez.” One thing is for sure: both of these unique wines have enough rich body and complex flavors to satisfy the red wine snob, but enough sweetness and drinkability to appease those who like lighter wines.
Any can’t-miss wintertime drinks? Share them here.
And for more about Big Windy, the insane supercomputer who made it 60 and 13 degrees in the same week, consult my next blog: “Rap Lyrics of Ancient Mesopotamia.”