Winter Wine

I hate winter. Correction: I don’t hate winter, but I hate being cold. It’s the bone-chilling cold our entire country has been experiencing this past week that makes me want to run home and dive head first into a pile of blankets, only to emerge the following day and face the bitter cold once again.

Weather like this makes me crave warm meals — stews, roasts and chilis — allowing my oven to cook on full blast, and supplement the inadequate heat supplied by the steam radiators in my apartment. It also causes me to crave a warming wine.

The wine I crave on a cold day is one that can make me feel like I am being draped in velvet (yes, just like George Costanza used to dream), warming me from within and making me sufficiently buzzed enough to forget about the brutal cold the day caused me to endure. It’s a wine that allows me to slightly float and dream of warmer days.

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Punto FinalWhile there are many wines that go well with a winter’s chill, one I currently love is the Punto Final Malbec made by Bodega Renacer from Argentina. The winery makes both a Classico and a Reserva style, and both will cost you under $20. While the winery is relatively new, having only been founded in 2004, it’s a wine I’ve seen popping up across the country, from the wine bins of Astor Wine in New York, to the shelves of World Market in Alabama.

The reason I love this wine is because it delivers exactly what I want on a cold day. It’s a rich, dark red wine with tons of smooth fruit flavors, and just enough oak to give the wine its toasty characteristic that makes it so warming. As Malbecs go, it’s also not very high in alcohol, at only around 14%, so while you’ll get a nice buzz, it won’t knock you out, which many heavy winter reds can.

I love sharing this wine with my wife, polishing off the entire bottle in one sitting, covered in blankets, watching a good movie and eating bowls of chili.