O’s wine expert on why you should go with quality over quantity this month
Our wine expert on why you should go with quality over quantity this month
I’ve always struggled with the concept of dry January. Cutting down on booze after the festive excesses is certainly wise, but surely we need all the help we can get to get through the darkest, gloomiest month of the year? Depriving yourself of the pleasures of wine for a whole month just seems unnecessarily masochistic.
While I hugely enjoy discovering new wines made from unusual grapes in undiscovered places, in the depths of winter I need comfort and reassurance, so I’m drawn to familiar, fail-safe favourites with wine as well as with food. I yearn for classic styles, often from France, that I know will suit what I’m eating but are also gentle on my battle-scarred post-Christmas wallet. I can be sure that a fish pie or roast chicken will be a perfect match for a creamy white burgundy; a hearty stew cries out for a dependable rustic red; and an aromatic, off-dry white will always be a winner with dishes containing warming Asian spices. French wines are often scarily expensive but bargains can be had if you shop carefully, armed with a little background knowledge.
If you feel unsure about which wine will make the perfect match with what you’re eating, or what food will go best with your favourite wine, there is much help at hand. Fiona Beckett, The Guardian’s wine writer, has a brilliant website, matchingfoodandwine.com, which does what it says on the tin, while The Wine Dine Dictionary (£20, Granta) by Victoria Moore, The Telegraph’s wine guru, is the book I always have to hand if I need inspiration. Staff at good independent wine shops will often be happy to share their tips, too.
Hats off to you if you’re giving up booze for the whole of January but my advice is to be nice to yourself by drinking less while getting the maximum enjoyment from every drop you drink.