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Guest Wine Editorial: Marks and Spencer

Winter Reds

There's nothing better than curling up with a nice warm glass of red wine during the winter season. Reds make the best companion to meats, which we tend to eat a lot of during the cold months. They're also mainly served at lukewarm temperatures, unlike whites and blushes that are refrigerated. From Beaujolais Nouveau to Shiraz and cabernets, reds are the wines of choice when the temperature drops and the weather gets cold.

There are a variety of reds to choose from, which makes it a bit difficult to decide which one appeals to your mood or coordinates with your meal. Reds are full of diverse flavours and run the gamut when it comes to taste. Some red wines, such as cabernets and merlots, have an earthy, fruity quality to them, while others like Argentina's prized Malbec, comes with a spicier, tangy taste. Popular reds include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Pinot Noir. These wines range in taste and can be light and delicate or hearty and robust. Reds are mainly produced in regions in the northwestern part of the United States like California and Oregon, the southern pacific countries of Australia and New Zealand, and in France and Italy. One does not have to travel very far, however, to bask in the scents, textures, and flavours of reds as retailers like Marks and Spencer carry just about every type of red wine.

Cabernet Sauvignon comes from a grape of the same name, which is the basis of wines from the Bordeaux region of France. This full-bodied, tannin red is a hit in the U.S. and is an excellent companion to any kind of red meat. Cabernet Sauvignon can be sharp and bold or smooth and satiny with the aromas of dark berries and cedarwood.

Merlot, another wine derived from the Cabernet Sauvignon grape, is a soft, dry red that is preferable because of its mellow flavour. Merlots are primarily produced in Bordeaux, but Italy, California, Washington, and Chile are also major players in Merlot production. This red's bouquet consists of plum, cherry, and floral scents and goes best with red meat or lamb dishes.

Because it can only be made from grapes that are difficult to cultivate and convert into wine and can only be found in cooler climates, Pinot Noir is rare and expensive. Pinot Noir is produced in the Burgundy region of France for the most part, though California and Oregon follow closely behind in Pinot Noir manufacturing. This red delicacy is light and velvety with a fruity air to it and a crisp finish. Accents of tea leaf, damp soil or worn leather are embedded in Pinot Noir, making it both mild and coarse. Champagnes and some other sparkling wines are composed of Pinot Noir and it can it be served with grilled salmon, chicken, lamb, and Japanese dishes like sushi.

Other favourable red wines include: Babera, which goes well with pizza; Malbec, which can be identified by its distinct tannin and dark colour, and Syrah (also known as Shiraz), which has notes of wild black fruit with tones of black pepper spice. Rioja and Garnacha, regional reds hailing from Spain, are milder reds that are well-suited for those who dislike the tastes of the medium and full-bodied red wines.

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