One of the beau­ties of the cold­est sea­son is its affin­ity with hearty meals ac­com­pa­nied by a glass of good red.

Australian Women’s Weekly NZ - - CONTENTS - With EMMA JENK­INS

Ial­ways know when win­ter has prop­erly ar­rived in my neck of the woods, as the cats all mi­grate to the back of the sofa that has a big ra­di­a­tor be­hind it and the dogs look rather un­en­thu­si­as­tic when the morn­ing alarm goes off – clearly, frosty-paw runs in the dark aren’t that ap­peal­ing. But I’m pleased to live some­where that has gen­uine sea­sons.

Come win­ter I’m ready to rug up warmly and dig out the ski boots. I love the freez­ing, sunny days with bright, crisp air, and the oc­ca­sional joy of wak­ing up to a silent, snow-cov­ered land­scape. It’s a time to en­joy soups and stews left to bub­ble aro­mat­i­cally on top of the fire; and it brings a re­newed in­ter­est in red wines, as their robust, warming char­ac­ter seems to match both the heartier sea­sonal fare and brac­ing weather.

Rich in polyphe­nols and an­tiox­i­dants, there’s some ev­i­dence red wines as­sist with low­er­ing bad choles­terol and pre­vent­ing blood clots – that said, they should still only be con­sumed in mod­er­a­tion!

Mainly though, red wines just taste good. Their robust struc­ture means they part­ner well with red meat and richer dishes, where the as­trin­gency of tan­nins pro­vides a help­ful foil. Here in New Zealand, pinot noir is our most pop­u­lar red, but we’re also very good at grow­ing stylish caber­net sauvi­gnon and mer­lot, spicy syrah and many more jewel-coloured trea­sures.

Red wines re­spond well to de­cant­ing, as it brings out their aro­mas and flavour and helps them to open up. Feel free to dust off your crys­tal de­canter if you’re so in­clined, but there’s no real need – just tip your bot­tle of red into a jug and then back into the bot­tle again, al­low­ing the fruit to shine and tan­nins to soften. Al­most all wines ben­e­fit from this aer­a­tion (in­clud­ing whites) so give your next bot­tle a lit­eral whirl and be amazed at the dif­fer­ence.

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