Wines by season? The most useless wine advice you'll ever hear
With Spring upon us, the first of the annual "what you should be drinking..." wine articles are appearing.
As regularly as the bluebells come up, there's a wine critic who's going to tell you what you should be drinking right now. Never mind the fact it's still single figure temperatures outside at night, or without a single thought as to what you might be eating.
Here are the titles we found when punching in "what wines to drink in spring" in Google:
- "The 10 best wines for spring and early summer drinking"
- "Wine: what to drink in Spring | The Guardian"
- "The best red wines to drink in Spring - Telegraph"
- "Spring drinking essentials: 8 great white wines to guzzle..."
- "Wines by season | Biltmore"
- "Wines pairing with spring foods | Wine Folly"
It doesn't matter whether it's spring, summer, autumn (fall) or winter; whatever you put for the season, there's a similar bunch of results awaiting you.
At least for Spring it's only the sixth result that starts to make sense; Wine Folly picks what you're eating before thinking about what wines to pick.
It's really not that complicated. There are some things you change by habit with the seasons. It's warmer; you can wear lighter clothes. It's colder; you need to wear stuff to keep you warm.
But when it comes to drinking wine? Come on! We'll drink what we want to drink, not what some "seasonal guide" suggests we should.
Food is seasonal, of course. But then again, it's possible to source things like strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and a multitude of other soft fruits all year round.
They might have flown round the world to get to you, but if you've got the cash, there they are.
Once wine is in the bottle, it's not perishable in the same way. Won't just "go off", has no "use by" date stamped on it.
Seasons and food make perfect sense; and personally I shun out-of-season stuff that's been airfreighted half way around the globe, if for no other reason than it's not going to be fresh (edible and fresh are two very different things; check out your local fast food restaurant for confirmation).
Researching what's out there for this post, a blog post came up titled "what makes a seasonal wine?". Now, it had a picture of a mulled wine at Christmas, which made perfect sense. That's a wine you drink in the season, for sure.
However, there was no mention of mulled wine in the article. Instead we're told that "winter foods tend to be thicker and heavier..." and so the wines you'll want to drink are "themselves heavier and thicker - usually deep, strong reds like Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, or Zinfandel."
Seriously? So when that barbecue's fired up on a balmy sunny, summer's evening, and your steak's cooked over coals to perfection. Well, you'd better reach for a chilled Pinot Grigio, because you couldn't possibly want a rich, juicy Cab Sauv/Syrah/Zin to go with that, could you?
You see, it's always about the food and it's always about you.
No matter what any wine blogger, critic, and certainly not a newspaper hack tells you, you drink what you like, whatever time of year it is.
That way the winemakers of the planet don't get to have an "off season" (and in any event, spring up here in the northern hemisphere is winter down under, and vice versa). You don't get pushed into drinking something you'd rather not, but somehow have been hoodwinked into thinking you should.
And above all else, you're not treated as if wine is something that's beyond you, that you need help even to the extent of working out what to drink depending upon what month it is.