#WineWednesday: Wines to Drink on a Snow Day

Food, Wine

White wine, corkscrew, dishes and flowers, on a white tablecloth.

THIS JUST IN: it snowed in Chicago.

When I moved here everyone warned me about the brutally cold winters, the biting wind and the endlessly dreary gray skies that would usurp the horizon from November – May.

I prepared for that with a down coat and boots that aren’t quite waterproof but warm enough.

My friends warned me that the city slows down in the winter and people hibernate, only to emerge around Memorial Day for alfresco dining and drinking on rooftop bars.

What they didn’t tell me was that when it snows, the city turns all “Apocalypse Now” and highways close, businesses shutter and people raid grocery shelves like food is going out of style. I get it – severe weather is serious business.

But when I moved to Chicago I expected snow to be the norm – not breaking news – and I expected snow days to be very few and far between, if at all.

Today, however, was a snow day.

Since I work from home I couldn’t very well justify taking the day off for snowy shenanigans but from what I could gather from my friends’ Facebook and Twitter updates, there were quite a few corks popping in celebration of the snow day.

Though I didn’t do any wine-drinking today, I did spend some time thinking about what wines – and which ones would be perfect to curl up with in front of the fire if you can’t make it to work tomorrow.


2008 Erath Pinot Gris, $13

Winter typically calls for red wine cravings for bold varietals with smoke and spice to warm you up from the inside out. But if you’re indulging in rich comfort food or calling on a spicy dish to heat up your kitchen, you might want something lighter, like a fruit-forward Pinot Gris from Oregon. Redolent of pear and ripe banana with a peach aroma, you won’t miss the red grapes — and you can always save them for another day.

Pair with: 10-Minute Shrimp & Grits, Chicken Tortilla Soup, Easiest Ever Rigatoni Vodka

2006 BARRA of Mendocino Pinot Noir, $20

After traipsing home in knee-high white powder, feel good about pouring yourself a glass of a bright ruby organic red wine with zesty aromas of ripe, red cherries and oak spice. A cool thing about this wine? It’s aged in small French copper barrels that creates harmony between the fruit and the oak – for smooth drinking.

Pair with: Quick Jambalaya,  Salmon Teriyaki Noodle Bowls, Bacon Macaroni & Cheese

Sequoia Grove’s 2007 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, $10:

The Cabernet Sauvignon grape is wine that pairs well with hearty snow day fare like beef stews or goulash. This is a good wine for the seasoned social drinker, but has a fruit-forward quality that makes it easy to drink for anyone. On the palate, you’ll find medium bodied wine with balanced tannins and a flavor profile of dark fruits like plum, black cherry and cassis.

Pair with: Baked Caprese Pasta, Classic Steak Frites,

Ponte Prosecco, $10

If you live in a climate like Chicago where snow is no stranger but are still lucky enough to see a snow day or two, that certainly calls for celebration – wouldn’t you agree? Open a bottle of bubbles that won’t set back your budget. Prosecco, lighter than champagne, is a great aperitif and goes with just about any meal.

Pair with: Fried Chicken, Shrimp Tacos with Spicy Citrus Slaw,

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  • Reply
    February 3, 2011 at 5:56 pm

    Our city shuts down if there is one inch of snow. No joke. I’m surprised that Chicago shuts down at all – isn’t the city prepared for that? Anyway, I’m a big fan of drinking on Wednesdays and I love that Pinot Gris!

  • Reply
    February 3, 2011 at 9:59 am

    I like Riesling. Can you give me suggestions for a sweet crispy one that is reasonably priced? Love your wine Wednesdays posts!

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