Comfort wines pair with comfort foods

There’s snow on the ground in northern states, prompting drivers to put on their snow tires. It’s sinking into the 60s in South Florida, prompting socialites to get their furs out of cold storage. So it’s time for comfort foods. And, of course, comfort wines.

Comfort foods are rich and hearty. They put a tear in your eye as you remember Mom’s cooking. They cause you to ignore daunting levels of fat, calories and cholesterol.

Comfort wines are soft and round, without hard edges of tannin or fruit acids. And they’re often a comfort to your wallet as well. (You’ll note one exception, but I consider lobster pot pie to be the finest dish every created by humankind.)

Here are some of my favorite pairings:

•  Mac ’n’ cheese: 2011 Mirassou Pinot Noir, California; hint of sweetness, flavors of black cherries and vanilla, ripe tannins; $12.

•  Roast chicken : 2011 Robert Mondavi “Private Selection” Riesling, California (88 percent white riesling, 10 percent gewurztraminer, 2 percent malvasia bianca); lightly sweet, with lychee and honeysuckle flavors; $11.

•  Meatloaf: 2011 Don Gascon Malbec, Lujan de Cuyo and Uco Valley, Argentina; aromas and flavors of black plums and milk chocolate, smooth and soft; $15.

•  Ropa vieja: 2010 Jacuzzi Family Vineyards Barbera, Mendocino County; bright, light red raspberry flavors, soft tannins; $16.

•  Beef and bean chili: 2010 Frank Family Vineyards Zinfandel, Napa Valley; black raspberries and black pepper, spicy, soft and lush; $36.

•  Beef stew: 2010 Carmen Gran Reserva Carmenere, Colchagua Valley, Chile; hearty and rich, with black cherry and mocha flavors; $15.

•  Turkey Tetrazinni: 2011 Bonterra Chardonnay, Mendocino County; rich and buttery, with ripe apricot and peach flavors; $14.

•  Lobster pot pie: 2009 Joseph Drouhin Chassagne-Montrachet Morgeot Marquis de Laguiche Premier Cru; powerful floral aroma, intense flavors of peaches and other dried fruits, weighty on the tongue, silky, endless finish; $88.

•  Chocolate: 2010 Penfolds “Thomas Hyland” Shiraz, Adelaide, Australia; lightly sweet, with flavors of black raspberries and milk chocolate; $15.

Fred Tasker has retired from The Miami Herald but is still writing about wine for the McClatchy News Service. He can be reached at

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