By Dan Steeves, Assistant Manager, Bricks Wine Company

February was a rude awakening for all of us with our first extended cold snap that seemed to last forever, but hopefully that cold weather is now behind us as we enter into March and the beginning of Spring is within our sights. That might be wishful thinking as we do live in Calgary, and we’re more than likely to find ourselves in the midst of another snowstorm before those warmer and more sunlit days take permanent residency again. Thankfully we live in a city with so many great wines available to help keep us warm when huddled around the fireplace!

Although I like to enjoy all types of wine throughout the year (nobody should deprive themselves of rosé and sparkling wines for any extended period of time), most people tend to gravitate towards fuller bodied red wines when the weather dips down and for good reason too. Not only are red wines typically higher in alcohol, and as such lend a warming sensation to the soul when they’re enjoyed, they also tend to pair wonderfully with the rich and hearty cuisine we tend to prepare more often over the winter months.

Stews, baked casseroles, and roasted meats are some of the common foods we enjoy over the cold winter and big reds can be great pairings. While a Cabernet Sauvignon from California may be a common go-to for many when looking for a full-bodied red, there are so many other alternatives out there that can deliver an equally significant flavor punch, and typically at a better price point as well. On your next visit to your friendly local wine store, try focusing on the selections from South Africa (Syrah), central Spain (Grenache), central Italy (Sagrantino), the Languedoc-Roussillon in southern France (Carignan), and Chile (Carmenere). These countries and regions can sometimes be shadowed by other more famous wine regions but they can produce some delicious red wines offering great value and are sure to keep those winter blues away!

Some notable wines from these regions that can be found within Calgary include:

DeMorgenzon DMZ Syrah, Stellenbosch, South Africa ($23.95)
Tres Patas Grenache, Mentrida, Spain ($31.95)
Lungarotti Ilbio Sagrantino, Umbria, Italy ($34.95)
Ledogar La Mariole Carignan, Languedoc-Roussillon, France ($28.95)
Grey Carmenere, Maipo Valley, Chile ($25.95)