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Wines to chase away the winter blues

Sometimes a full-bodied red with hints of pepper and spice is the perfect match for a cold winter’s night.


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Demetra Balodimas is a native New Yorker. Growing up in a Greek home, wine played an important role in family gatherings. As an adult, she came to appreciate wine more after realizing it was a common passion between her and her dad, something they would often bond over. In 2010 she earned the Advanced Certificate in Wines & Spirits from the International Wine Center in New York, and is happy to be sharing a weekly bottle with Metro.

Most people view winter as just a countdown to spring. For others, it’s a chance to get outdoors and enjoy everything the season has to offer- skiing, snowboarding, ice-skating. For me it’s the perfect opportunity to curl up on my couch with a great glass of red wine to warm up to. There are so many varieties to try, and sometimes a full-bodied red with hints of pepper and spice is the perfect match for a cold winter’s night.

Merlot tends to be one of those wines that is easily approachable and can be paired with a variety of foods, so for those that are intimidated by the overwhelming amount of wine options, this is a perfect varietal to start with. You can pick up a great bottle of Merlot for less than $20 and one of my favorites at this price point comes from the great wine making state of California.

Sterling Vineyards is a consistent producer of good quality reds and their 2006 Merlot is no exception. Medium bodied with a beautiful dark ruby red color, it is packed with fresh fruit flavors of cherry and lots of black fruit. The first taste feels juicy but it is velvety smooth on the palette and has just enough tannin to give it some bite and linger for a longer smooth finish. The hints of toast and nutty flavors are subtle but definitely present from being aged in oak, which lend to its complexity. There are also nice hints of spice like nutmeg. The balance between fruit and smoky earthy flavors are what make this Merlot interesting enough to pair with just about anything from roasted veggies to pork and beef dishes and even desserts. I picked up a bottle for $17.99 at Rosetta Wines in William Street, New York, so you’ll have plenty left over for takeout.

 
 
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