The temperatures are dropping in Irving, and for me, the best way to warm up is with a glass of wine. Start the fireplace, grab a blanket and sip on some holiday cheer with these winter wines! They are perfect pairings for roasts, creamy sauces, decadent desserts and all things that make the season delicious. Both red and white wine lovers will find something to enjoy this winter, and they may ask for a few bottles as stocking stuffers once they find out how great some wines pair with their holiday favorites.
Malbec is known for its dark, fruity profile and is a similar (but cheaper) alternative for those that love Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. Mostly found in regions from Argentina, France, Chile, and the United States; Malbec is a great wine for carnivores and those who love spice! Due to its medium levels of acid and tannins, you can enjoy a glass with beef brisket, lamb, beef, ostrich, buffalo, and pork shoulder. While most wine experts would say to avoid spicy foods with wine, Malbec can stand up to the strong flavors of smoked paprika, black pepper, cumin, coriander, clove, green onion, and barbecue sauce. A typical Malbec will showcase notes of black cherry, pomegranate, plum, cocoa, milk chocolate, coffee, and tobacco.
When dining around Irving and looking for a place to enjoy a bottle of Malbec, I recommend visiting The Ranch Las Colinas and pairing your wine with their Mini Elk Tacos, Texas Meat and Cheese Board, Smoked Sausage and Goat Cheese Flatbread, Grilled Chipotle Meatloaf, and Roasted American Bison Filet.
If you are in search of some delicious lamb chops for the holiday season, head to Hugo’s Invitados for their Lamb Chuletas. Featuring grilled Australian lamb chops with roasted garlic broccolini, marbled potatoes, and pasilla lamb jus; this dish will warm your taste buds with incredible flavors and pair perfectly with some Malbec.
While Malbec might lend favor to the meat lover, vegetarians don't fear for you can enjoy a bold glass of Malbec with mushrooms, roasted vegetables, green and red bell peppers, potatoes, arugula, kale, chard, grilled endive, onions, beets, tempeh, lentils, black beans, and forbidden rice. Some great places in Irving to try these veggies with your Malbec include Original ChopShop (Beet Salad), Modern Market (Sesame Glazed Tofu Bowl), and Via Real (Vegetarian Fajitas).
One of my favorite wines year-round, Chardonnay can really shine during the winter months. While the stereotype of white wine is best with chicken or fish may be true in most cases; you can easily turn your seafood and poultry into indulgent dishes perfect for the holidays with additions of brown butter, sage, and creamy sauces that pair great with Chardonnay. During the colder seasons, definitely go for an oaked rather than unoaked chardonnay for notes of vanilla, butter, caramel, and citrus fruits. Since the air is cold enough outside, you don't want to chill your chardonnay too much. Ideal temperatures are around 50 degrees.
Thirsty Lion Gastropub is a great place to experiment with different wine pairings from their expansive menu and killer wine list! When going for chardonnay, some items to taste on the menu include the Tuscan Romano Chicken made with pan-seared with pecorino Romano, lemon herb beurre blanc, balsamic marinated tomatoes, garlic Parmesan couscous, fresh basil and seasonal vegetables or the fan-favorite Fried Chicken Mac-n-Cheese with cheddar, jack, swiss and parmesan cheeses, cavatappi pasta and toasted bread crumbs topped with jalapeño buttermilk fried chicken.
For some amazing seafood in Irving, try Pacific Table for your next chardonnay dinner. Start with the S.F. Clam Chowder then dive into some entrees like the Cedar Plank Salmon with rosemary dijon butter or the Trout Almondine with fresh herbs, almonds, and topped with brown butter.
One of the best places to enjoy a glass of chardonnay in Irving is with the incredible people of Mercy Bar & Lounge. Known for their wine selection and delicious food, you will find no shortage of great dishes to pair with your Chardonnay. For a starter, Prince Edward Island mussels steamed in white wine, diced tomato, and garlic butter, served with pommes frites. For the table, build a charcuterie board with soft and semi-soft cheeses like Brie, Roquefort, and Goat Gouda. For a lighter entree, order the Melted Goat Cheese Salad with spring mix, Granny Smith apple, walnuts, and lemon oregano vinaigrette. For a more filling entree, try the scallops or the Schnitzel.
The obvious wintertime wine and all-around crowd pleaser, Cabernet Sauvignon is ready to be the star of your dinner table this holiday season. From California to France, Cabs can reign from many regions, each providing a slightly different flavor profile. Maybe not known by some, Cabs are not a pure grape wine and will be a natural crossing of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc. Typical notes you will encounter with Cabs are black cherry, licorice, black pepper, and slight vanilla. Cabernet Sauvignon is full-bodied and begs to be enjoyed with dishes packed with umami flavors like savory red meats and mushrooms.
One of the best pairings for Cabernet Sauvignon, especially in the winter months, is with a braised short rib. You can find this seasonally delicious dish at Cork & Pig Tavern served with a bed of mash potatoes and a vegetable medley, topped with a house-made red wine reduction and creamy horseradish sauce. Other great pairings on their menu include their Veggie Wood Fired Pizza and French Dip Sandwich.
I think one of my favorite things about wine is how it can be enjoyed with all aspects of your meal, including dessert! Cabernet Sauvignon and chocolate are a match made in foodie heaven. If you still have some wine left in your bottle after dinner at Mexican Sugar, be sure to order the Chocolate Avocado cake with a cinnamon meringue filling. Another great dessert in Irving to enjoy with your Cab is the housemade tiramisu from Italian Cafe which is the perfect nightcap after a delicious Italian feast!
Syrah, or also known as Shiraz, is the most full-bodied of the wines we have visited so far which means higher tannins and a bolder palate. Often found in France or Australia, Syrah can show notes of blueberry, black plum, milk chocolate, tobacco, peppercorn, and can sometimes come off as meaty. This powerful wine needs strong flavors to compliment such as those found in lamb shawarma, gyros, Asian 5-spice pork, and Indian tandoori meats.
As the temperatures drop, all I have been craving are the warm grain bowls from Cava. This fast-casual Mediterranean restaurant has acquired Irving’s Zoe’s Kitchen in a similar, but bolder flavored fashion. Place an order for to-go or delivery to enjoy a bottle of Syrah with some fan favorites like their buildable grain bowls with spicy lamb meatballs as your protein or the harissa honey chicken pita wrap.
There is no shortage of amazing and authentic Indian restaurants in Irving and the bold dishes pair perfectly with a glass of Syrah. Some local favorite spots include India 101, Desi District, and Peak Restaurant & Bar. Classic entrees to enjoy with your wine include Tandoori chicken, lamb Rogan Josh, and goat curry.
Remember, when it comes to wine, always drink what you love and do not feel intimidated by the vast world and culture of wine. Hopefully, we can all stay warm this winter with good friends, good food, and good wine in Irving! Cheers!