Trial and Terroir: Combating the Winter Doldrums

Tara Hankinson, MBA Class of 2015

Wine-Tara3In January we ungratefully received three snow storms that clogged my neighborhood streets with ice and dirty slush. Now we are in the throes of February, still having to drag our snow boots and arctic regalia through the streets and subways, before attempting to stuff it into our ten inch wide lockers. While we pine for spring break, here are recommendations to match with your winter mood, whether it’s delight or denial.

You are the eternal winter optimist: Spring is right around the corner with sparkling wine
You probably do not have to wait on an exposed subway platform, or dodge salt-soaked, dirty backpacks on subway. You view early sunsets as the perfect reason to start early on your Corporate Finance reading. Ever the idealist, you want to celebrate the blizzarding winter. By sipping domestic bubbles, you can celebrate the American polar vortex and be prepared for any meal because sparkling wine works well with anything from wontons to chocolate chip cookies. Look for brut sparklings (meaning dry or without sweetness) that are from the Finger Lakes or Sonoma. Gruet Winery in New Mexico also makes a fantastic non-vintage (meaning produced consistently from year to year) brut and rosé sparkling wines. Whether paired with food or combined with fresh juice for mimosas, these wines will catapult you into spring. ($13.99 for Gruet Brut at Union Square Wines, 140 Fourth Avenue)

You think snow is still a novelty: Embrace winter with Riesling from Alsace
You were likely in the tropics or South America for most of January and you have not yet been conditioned to the treacherous streets of the city. This attitude calls for an optimistic glass of Riesling, to congratulate you on your bravado and reflect the severe conditions outside the drafty windows of Sosnoff. The Alsace region is nestled in the northeast of France, hugging the border of Germany and touching the top of Switzerland. The land has changed hands during times of war resulting in dual German and French street signs and a cuisine influenced by both. Alsatian Rieslings typically sport the same floral aromas and peachy tropical flavors as their German siblings, but fully ripen in France’s warmer climate. This results in austere, dry wines whose flinty undertones mimic the biting tundra of New York, which, apparently, does not bother you. Try Domaine Joseph Cattin Riesling with aged cheeses and dried fruit. ($16 at Vino Fine Wine and Spirits, 121 East 27th Street)

You resent the freezing cold: A powerful Zinfandel will warm you up
You’ve been wearing snow gear for a month straight. You’ve fallen at least twice on the frozen street corners outside of Stern. Zinfandels are the perfect antidote to winter blues thanks to their meaty, savory flavor profiles, higher alcohol, and spicy, toasted aromas. Zinfandels are primarily grown in southern California, which will hopefully increase the likeliness of a sip transporting you to their “winter” of 65 degrees. For a budget-friendly meal, pair Rosenblum Cellars Zinfandel Vintner’s Cuvee XXXV with a heavy soup or pizza. With an abv of 14.6%, you will feel warm and toasty after the first glass. ($8.99 at Astor Wines & Spirits, 399 Lafayette Street)

You have committed to hibernation: Bury your nose in a glass of Red Burgundy
I live in a quaint (read: outdated) apartment in Greenpoint, Brooklyn that is exceptionally cozy, to the point of needing to crack the windows because I have no control over the thermostat. New York winters require us to constantly rebalance while trying to find the heat and ventilation equilibrium, so that our apartments do not become saunas. If you’ve given up on venturing into the cold, try a glass of Pinot Noir, the only red varietal grown in Burgundy, France. When made in the classic style, a good Pinot Noir can smell and taste like black berries, wet leaves, a barnyard, and old gym socks, kind of like your apartment. This varietal is incredibly expressive of it’s terroir, the soil and conditions it grows in, so no two vineyards or vintages will taste the same. With a bottle like the Bourgogne Rouge Cuvée Prestige “Alexis” 2010, you can taste the personality of Burgundy for under $20. ($18.96 at Astor Wines & Spirits)

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