Wine: January gameplan: drinking fireside

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

It’s January. The fun and games of the holidays are (sigh) over, and it’s time to get serious about a get-warm strategy — both physically and in your drinking life.

Start by firing up the fireplace.

What do you want when you’re sitting fireside (besides wishing you were outside with shorts and flip-flops on, next to a bonfire instead of huddled indoors)? A wine with enough warmth and intrigue to hold your attention just as long as those dancing flames, I figure. And this Italian red blend should do the trick: the 2009 Montefalco Rosso ($23 at The Andersons stores).

Before even taking a sip, you can smell a hint of chocolate atop bold flavors that help mentally prepare your mouth for a full-body red-wine experience. The taste itself is very dry and at times almost chalky, with definite cherry notes.

Sweet- or light-wine lovers will want to steer clear, but drinkers of bold, hearty red wine will be into its sharp flavors and strong structure.

Sangiovese and Sagrantino, two Italian red grapes, comprise most of the juice in this blend — Sagrantino, specific to the Umbria region where this wine is made, is known for being tannic. The combination softens the edge of both of the grapes, and the result is a bottle with solid structure.

It’s a wine you take one sip of and crave a burger or steak — so take this as a heads up. Serve with caramelized onions, some steaming four-cheese macaroni and cheese and liberal sips of Rosso in between.

Photo by Meghan Ralston