The best wines for comfort food: taste tested

The best wines for comfort food

Baron Amarillo Rioja Joven NV, Spain 13%
With softly spiced plum and strawberry notes and enough full body to take on red meat casseroles or rich bean chillis, this is a useful bargain at under a fiver. £4.69, available from Aldi

Loved and Found Touriga Nacional 2021, Algarve, Portugal 14%
It’s rare to see an Algarve wine in the UK, and this one appeals with its core of cooked brambles, twist of black pepper and firm structure. A fine match for chops or roast leg of pork. £8.99, available from Waitrose

Loved and Found Touriga Nacional 2021

Taste the Difference Discovery Collection Château Villegly Minervois 2021, France 14%
A new southern French star, mainly syrah and grenache, that’s hearty and robust with juicy red plums and cassis, sprinkled with clove and cinnamon. Fab with a lamb tagine and could easily take on a bubbling cheese-topped bake too. £11, available from Sainsbury’s

Taste the Difference Discovery Collection Château Villegly Minervois

M&S Collection Tradición Malbec 2022, Mendoza, Argentina 14.5%
Soft, rounded malbec by Susana Balbo, packed with ripe black cherries. There’s a lovely toasty note gained from spending eight months in French oak barrels. Peppered steak, please! £12, available from Marks & Spencer

M&S Collection Tradición Malbec 2022

The Best Uco Valley Chardonnay 2022, Mendoza, Argentina 13%
A brightly fruited chardonnay that’s a cocktail of oranges, pineapple and mango with some well balanced extra richness from barrel ageing. Pair it with hearty fish pie or a lemony roast chicken. £8.50, available from Morrisons

The Best Uco Valley Chardonnay 2022

Stellenrust Stellenbosch Manor Barrel-Fermented Chenin Blanc 2021, South Africa 14%
There’s spice, vanilla and even a note of tea biscuit wrapped around ripe yellow apple and quince in this oak-aged chenin. One for a big hearty vegetable quiche or cheese and potato pasties. £15, available from Tesco

Stellenrust Stellenbosch Manor Barrel-Fermented Chenin Blanc 2021

The best soft drink for winter

Curious Kombucha Pineapple & Ginger, Dorset 0%
The Curious Kombucha range of fermented soft drinks has won plenty of awards and that’s no surprise, as they all have distinctively juicy, moreish natural flavours. This one is my pick for the winter, with its spicy hint of ginger. £3.25 for 250ml, available from Curious Kombucha

Curious Kombucha Pineapple & Ginger, Dorset 0%

Fancy a hot toddy?

Leftover gin liqueurs such as sloe or damson can be used up in a cheering hot spiced drink. Pour 75ml gin liqueur (per drink) into a small pan, add a dash of smooth orange juice or cloudy apple juice, a couple of cloves and a cinnamon stick, then heat gently until very warm (but not boiling). Stir and keep hot for a few minutes while the spices infuse, then discard them and pour the toddy into thick tumblers. Inhale the spicy steam before sipping. We like Sipsmith Sloe Gin; £28 for 70cl, available from Master of Malt

Sipsmith sloe gin

 

Discover our favourite comfort food recipes to indulge in this winter.

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