JAMES NEVISON James Nevison is an award-winning wine writer, educator and the co-founder of HALFAGLASS. He is the wine columnist for The Vancouver Province , where his column “The Wine Guy” appears each Thursday. James is the co-author of seven best-selling books on wine in Canada, including Had a Glass 2015: Top 100 Wines Under $20 . Follow his wine musings @hadaglass.
…options that soothe the taste buds rather than perk them up—think robust and unctuous, something to coat the tongue like a cashmere sweater.
T here’s something soul satisfying about hunkering down and getting cozy. When the temperature drops and snow is all around, there’s nothing better than being able to layer up and lounge—ideally fireside, and better yet, if there’s a winter retreat or cabin to assist with the hibernation. But what best fits the category of winter cabin potable? To start, the basic traits must be rich and fulsome. “Refreshing” is not exactly the go-to call when the thermometer is pushing subzero. We’re talking options that soothe the taste buds rather than perk them up—think robust and unctuous, something to coat the tongue like a cashmere sweater. Plus, the beverages don’t need to be too precious. To be fair, everyone has their own definition of comfort, but five-star resorts certainly don’t hold a monopoly on coziness. Think more backwoods cabin style. Heck, maybe there will even be some “pack it in, pack it out” happening to find the ideal winter hideout. With all this in mind, here is a mixed half-case of winter- approved potables. Each option is ready and willing to be poured fireside to keep things cozy. Call it the essential cabin selection.
Beer: Stout Along with rich and fulsome, roasted tones also pair well with winter and coziness. Think of the comforting smells of a roast wafting from the oven. A slow braise can’t help but settle the pace, calling for patience— and hopefully a corresponding cozy calmness overall. Beverage-wise, toasty qualities often derive from roasted malts. In terms of beer, this points to darker beers, and while a dark lager or porter could certainly deliver, why not take this to its rightful conclusion and opt for a rich, toasty stout? Guinness Draught Stout makes for a logical choice, its world-renowned velvety goodness delivers both sweet and bitter flavours in abundance with every sip. Add a pint glass, a fire and a good book and the cozy vibe is fully set. Beer: Hazy IPA That said, not everyone is fond of stouts. A heady IPA can provide a nice malty backbone without the caramel and chocolate nuances, while keeping things firmly in the rich and hearty camp. After all, IPAs are beers that historically withstood arduous, equator-crossing journeys by sea—they are certainly strong enough to take on modern cabin living. For local IPA flavour, the main decision is whether to keep
things classic, bright and West Coast or go for more northeast, hazy territory. Steamworks’ Flagship Hazy IPA charts the latter course, complementing a sweet, rich malt base with big time tropical and forest floor hop influence. Wine: Rich Red Blend Wines can be rich and roasted, though admittedly in this case, the toasty influence comes from the winemaking process and oak barrel aging. While the options are myriad, rich red blends from South Australia remain a particularly sumptuous, comforting option. This is the natural realm of Shiraz, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon—all of which shine in Wirra Wirra’s Church Block blend. Upon opening, the bottle capably transmits the sun’s warmth, thanks to robust dark fruit complemented by engaging savoury undertones and ripe tannins. Fortified Wine: Amaro Now Amaro may seem like an odd choice for a fireside favourite. How does bitter equate with cozy? The answer lies in the long approach. Patience and leisure, such is the cozy long game. And true, unassailable coziness makes time for a postprandial digestif. Pouring a finger or two of Amaro after dinner— ideally to be sipped by the fire—allows
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