Big Wines for Trying Times
Some wines are for light, enthralling, enticing times. Others are for deadening the pain of loss. Monster Cabs are for both celebrating and commiserating. Be they high-alcohol, densely-oaked new-age Oregon Pinot Noirs; thickly-fruited, jammy Aussie Shiraz; or high-octane, powerfully spiced Cali Zinfandels, some times simply call for bigger wines. We tend to drink big wines when it's colder, to numb the chill. They're also better to drink with the heavy foods of winter, roasted meats and long-simmered stews, as lighter wines don't stand up. Here, we're talking about full- bodied wines with a minimum alcohol content of 13%. Reserve-level wines of Spain's Rioja & Ribera del Duero, along with massive Brunellos and Barolos from Italy are great when size matters. Dominatrix Shiraz from the Northern Rhone Cote-Rotie appellation, such as the always dependable (& available) offerings from Guigal, will surely satisfy. Though it's not winter just yet, those cold, icy winds'll be blowing before long. Ironically, the bigger the red, the more healthfully beneficial it is. That is, consumed in moderation.