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These Big Reds Are the Wine Equivalents of Comfort Food


I’m still not convinced anyone needs wine writing right now, but damn it, we do need wine. It’s the closest thing you can get to Xanax without having to spend a hundred bucks to convince a doctor you need it “for flying.” It softens, it soothes, and it will put your ass to sleep if you have too much of it. But most important, wine is communal. We share bottles and company and conversation. It brings people together around tables, on couches, cross-legged on the kitchen floor. In that spirit, here are five full-bodied reds that are like the wine version of comfort foods, minus the layer of cheese.


It doesn’t get much cozier than Tempranillo. It smells like driving home through dark neighborhoods with fireplace smoke in the air, and walking into a warm kitchen where a cherry pie with almond crust just came out of the oven. Savory and soft, Tempranillo tastes like melting into your favorite leather arm chair with a raspberry, dark chocolate bar and cigar smoke hanging in the low light. Good for burying your face into someone’s shoulder while listening to Leonard Cohen …and/or beef stew.


Grenache is a lot like a good jazz album: calm and smooth, but powerful. It smells like you took a Fruit by the Foot and lit it on fire. Very fruity on the nose, but the palate is savory, and it tastes like cherry Swishers filled with oregano that your cousin gave you one time on Thanksgiving to mess with you—in a good way. Add Miles Davis and you’ll forget about the election for at least 5 to 30 minutes. Which is pretty good! Pairs great witratatouille, or your favorite burrito from the 24-hour stand down the street (Grenache can stand up to a bit of spice so don’t skimp on the sauce).


Primitivo is Zinfandel’s Italian fraternal twin that wears a little too much cologne, but is so lively you forgive it. Primitivo smells like roasted strawberry simple syrup and leather bound books, but tastes like ripe black raspberries and warm cedar. As big and fuzzy as a tower of cashmere throws at a Restoration Hardware sale, it’s hard not to want to build a fort out of Primitivo to hide out in it. Try it witmeatballs, even the cold ones in the fridge you’re too lazy to heat up.


Syrah tastes like how I imagine fall in New York tastes, according to my fantasies based on You’ve Got Mail and Woody Allen movies. It’s crunchy brown leaves, cinnamon-dipped red fruit and violets in a cigar box, with gripping tannins that hold you closer than anyone you planned to spend cuffing season with ever could. Syrah pairs well with almost all meat dishes—from pork roast to barbecue chicken. Add a side of macaroni and cheese regardless.


For those who normally shy away from full-bodied wines, Barbera is the one for you. While it is full of flavor in all the ways you want a red wine to be, it feels unexpectedly soft and welcoming with a much lighter body. Barbera smells and tastes like a new pine wreath with tiny little cranberry branches strewn throughout, with a touch of cider on the back end. Pull a Kevin McCallister and order all the pizza to pair with this.

Each of these wines also pair perfectly with good company and productive conversation, snuggling, binge-watching TV, sweatpants that barely have any elastic left in the waistband, all the bread, every blanket in the house, hugging pets until they want to murder you, calling your favorite sibling, ignoring Facebook, and yes, even taking the entire pot of mashed potatoes to the couch with you.

Don’t Drink Wine on an Empty Stomach



By: Megan Krigbaum

***Grabbed from: