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Ushering in the hearty reds

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When the weather outside starts to turn cold, there's nothing like staying home with a warm meal and a great glass of wine. As the cooler weather moves in we crave heartier meals like ribs, stew, prime rib or a thick steak. And as our meals get heartier, the wines that pair best with them are the richer and more full-bodied kind.

Just like the cold weather prompts you to wear warmer clothing, it also ushers in a time for warmer wines as well. So let's start pulling out the Cabernet Sauvignon, Australian Shiraz, Malbec and Bordeaux.

When you pair your wines for heartier fare try to keep these three things in mind; taste, texture and weight. Try to match the tastes in your wine with the flavors in your meal. See if the textures in your meal match well with the feel of the wine in your mouth and always try to match the weight of the wine with the heaviness of the meal.

It all boils down to simple chemistry and when it all clicks, it's truly amazing! So don't try to complicate the pairing process too much, just go with what your palette tells you and pick wines that you like. It's that simple.

With your wine-in-hand, now it's time to do some backyard grilling and this is the perfect weather for it. Dust off that big-honking shiny grill of yours, or that old rusty Weber like mine, and starting creating a meal fit for the gods.

If you don't happen to be the "grilling type", you can always check out a few of the restaurants lurking around Charlotte. I have always been a fan of Morton's; great beef, super wines and wonderful service. I'd recommend the one downtown. If you'd like to try an authentic Napa Valley type wine bar, try Yn Wine Cafe in the heart of Dilworth. They have a unique selection of wines and fun food to satisfy any and every appetite.

Bon appétit!

TheWineaux@juno.com

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