Shelli Brinson Fowler
December 16, 2015 | Food & Wine Pairings | Shelli Brinson Fowler

Drinking a White Christmas?

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas, but which wine would pair best with snow?

Why is it that we drink more red wine when the weather gets colder? Let's take a look at it from the other side - why do we drink more white wine when the weather gets warmer?

It could be partly due to the fact that we change our eating habits when it gets warmer. We eat lighter in the spring/summer to fit inot our shorts and skirts. Some of the white varietals are a more typical pairing to salads and cold dishes. Also, when it's hot ouside, a nice chilled wine hits the spot.

When the weather starts to get colder, football games are on and hunting season begins. I can't wait to make chili and cornbread, cassoulet, pot roast, smoked meats, or any meat that I can roast or braise all day. These types of low and slow cooked meats with roasted root veggies are so often paired best with red wine.

We know what we are accustomed to drinking with specific types of food, but what if we thought outside of the box?

My husband and I conducted an in-home experiment. Putting our notions of ordinary pairings aside, and fooling our senses, would we drink white in the winter? We allowed our white wine to get to room temperature, and tasted wines blind. Some of our findings were interesting. We didn't mind most of the fuller bodied wines, aged in at least some oak, at room temperature as long as the wine was of quality. The lighter bodied wines, which had been aged in stainless steel, weren't as good at room temperature as their acid became too prominent. What we did miss was the darker berry fruit, spice, and herbal componenets generally found in red wines.

The consensus was that we do enjoy eating and drinking seasonally and customarily. There is a reason for the season, as they say. I will no longer wonder or try to reinvent how people have paired wines with food for decades. I will look forward to diversifying my drinking syle, as the seasons change, in the same way that I look forward to putting on sandals in the summer and sweaters in the winter.


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The REX HILL team