Winter is here and it's red season!
Winter is an exciting time for red wine enthusiasts. As the days get shorter and the weather gets cooler, we tend to move towards more bold and lavish reds – the perfect way to get through the cold winter months ahead.
Get cosy and read our blog to learn more about why red wine suits winter fare, the slumber party happening in the vineyard and some of our favourite comforting reds.
WHY DRINK RED?
It’s only natural that during the winter months we crave a glass of red! Red wines generally have a higher alcohol and tannin content compared to white wines, and this can actually cause a warming effect on your body. Not only that, but red wine is usually drunk at room temperature meaning that you’re not drinking a cold beverage on a cold night!
There’s also a natural affinity between your favourite winter meal and a glass of your favourite red – red wines are the perfect pairing to a number of classic winter dishes. Want to take Sunday night’s roast dinner to the next level? Try pairing the plump and silky Evans & Tate 2019 Redbrook Estate Shiraz with slow cooked pork shoulder and fennel and rosemary roasted pumpkin. Or for the ultimate decadent treat try the luscious Millbrook NV Limited Release Pedro Ximénez with a vegan eggplant brownie, topped with chopped walnuts.
WINTER SLUMBER IN THE VINEYARDS
With the arrival of the winter season we generally see a drop in temperature and an increase in rainfall. This change in climate is an indication for the vines to move into an important phase of the vine lifecycle – dormancy. After a season of vigorous growth, vines lose their leaves and ‘shut down’, preserving all their energy to concentrate on their root system, which pulls in vital nutrients and ensures survival over the cold winter months.
During winter important viticultural work also takes place and teams undertake meticulous winter pruning – a laborious, yet crucial, activity. Pruning essentially removes all of the recent vine growth, leaving behind one or two canes (cane pruning) or spurs (spur pruning), which become responsible for all of next year’s vine growth. This ensures vines are organised and able to be efficiently managed ahead of the next growing season. Pruning also means that vines have lower yields and can focus their energy on producing high quality fruit.
Together with winter rains and the pruning efforts from viticultural teams, vines are replenished and nurtured in their dormancy phase – ready to start their growth cycle again.
Did you know? Winter rain can have a huge influence on the quality of fruit produced over vintage! There is a fine line between too much rain and not enough. Too much rain can cause roots to ‘drown’, where waterlogged soils prevent vine roots from receiving enough oxygen. Studies have also found that reduced winter rainfall is associated with significantly reduced grape yields (Source: South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI). It’s a fine line when it comes to winter rain!
WE’VE GOT A WINE FOR THAT
Whether you’re sipping a wine by the fire or pairing it with your favourite winter comfort food – we’ve got a wine that suits the occasion. Explore some of our favourite comforting reds to crack open this winter.
“Hand-picked, 90% whole bunches, wild ferment, matured for 9 months in old, large-format French oak. This kind of vinification should be more widespread in Margaret River, where the shiraz fruit doesn't respond as well to heavy doses of oak as it does in South Australia. It's a different beast here, responding to a soft hand, and this wine is testament to the goods that such an attitude can yield. Spicy, silky and plump: this is an elegant wine and it has been treated as such.”
- 94 Points, Erin Larkin, Halliday Wine Companion 2023
“The latest blend of the Millbrook PX is an expressive fortified wine, exhibiting rich aromas of raisins and toffee. The wine has a luscious, generous palate of caramel, creamed honey, dried fruits and chocolate pastry. This is a highly anticipated wine each year. Loved equally by the winery crew and customers, with the limited stock allowing us to make the most of blending small, cellar-aged fractions from our 'solera' barrels.”
- Emma Gillespie, Millbrook Winemaker
“2020 was a glorious vintage and it's here for all to see. Structural, dense, concentrated and broody, the length of flavour tails out through the long finish – in fact, far longer than any $35* wine has any business being.”
- 94 Points, Erin Larkin, Halliday Wine Companion 2023
*Please note this wine is $40
“The 2018 Moonambel Cabernet Sauvignon is fleshy and bright in the glass, but the fruit—succulent as it is—is underpinned by a foundation of rock and minerals. The tannins are firm for sure; they frame the wine and assist the fruit in its journey across the palate. Polished yet with an open weave and complex in a black way, this is a bit of a marvel.”
- 95 Points, Erin Larkin, Robert Parker Wine Advocate 2022
“Wow, there is plenty happening here. It’s dark and almost opaque in colour. Comes off a small vineyard on the estate which is very low-yielding. That accounts for the concentration and fruit power. The viognier is hidden at first but then merges with its spicy ginger and orange peel character.”
- 95 Points, Ray Jordan, Ray Jordan Wine Guide 2023
“Hand-picked, crushed and destemmed into a small open fermenter, 4 weeks on skins. Special care to manage tannin extraction and promote fruit retention was an unqualified success. It's not full-bodied, but the flavours and wild forest fruits and red cherries come through well. And the price!”
- 94 Points, James Halliday, Halliday Wine Companion 2021