When it's the middle of winter and the only thing we really want to eat is cassoulet (or a massive steak), what many of us want to drink is a bear-hug wine: big, unabashedly luscious reds, the kind that grab you and won’t let go, lifting your body temperature and your spirits at the same time.Often we don’t mind if they’re on the high-octane side, either. These days, sommeliers tend to recoil in horror at alcohol levels over 14 percent, but look: It’s freezing out there, and you’re not going anywhere. Who needs a lean, tropical Sauvignon Blanc in July? You’d be better off trying to drink an icicle.
No, what you want is warmth, and until the local store starts sending out Saint Bernards with barrels of brandy around their necks, that means big, bold reds with plenty of body and personality. All you need now is a roaring fire.