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Maryland (State Appellation)

Remedy for the Winter Doldrums

by Kevin Atticks
February 17, 2005

The experts say that this week was the most depressing for Americans – the holiday glow has dimmed, the credit card bills have come due, and it is cold, dark and the weather generally inhumane.

We tend to hibernate this time of the year – cooking meals at home, rather than going out. When we get snowed in (as happened last weekend) we can spend a few days inside. This is both a culinary and oenological opportunity to enjoy more home-cooked meals and local wine. Try something new, or settle down with an old favorite recipe paired with a delicious Maryland wine.

One of winter’s finest companions is a big, hearty stew. Stews are great for warming the weary snow-shoveler, and coaxing the kids away from the video games for dinner. And a great companion to stew is wine. Although difficult to match most stews with wine, there are some things to keep in mind that will guide you through the process.

First, the more hearty (richer) the stew, the bigger, bolder wine you’ll need to pair with it. Next, stews are thick with flavor – the meat, the vegetables, the herbs and spices. You’ll need a complex wine to match this array of flavors and aromas. Earthy reds tend to match meat stews, while an oaky Chardonnay will often befriend even the richest vegetable or chicken – sometimes, even sausage – stew.

Ideal selections from Maryland’s wineries:
  • Deep Creek Cellars, Artisan Red
    Rife with smoky-herb aromas and a complex structure.

  • Loew Vineyards, Reserve Chardonnay
    Fermented in the barrel for complexity and rich, full body. Great with vegetable, chicken or Italian stews.

  • Penn Oaks Winery, Montepulciano
    This version of the Italian classic is smooth, yet deep with cherry and leafy aromas. Great with chicken, turkey or sausage stews.

  • Woodhall Wine Cellars, Cabernet Sauvignon
    Bold, yet integrated tannins make this a large wine perfect for pairing with heavy meat stews.
The best part of making stews is the long cook time – your home will smell delicious for hours, allowing you to try, sip, sample and match your stew with the aforementioned wines.

~ Cheers!


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