We are now experiencing, as Dickens so aptly put it, “those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold.” In response to such seasonal uncertainties, I suggest that there are two splendid wine-related strategies for keeping blustery March winds at bay. The first strategy is to savor a glass of Port while sitting on a soft chair in front of a fire with a good book in your hand – preferably a novel by Anthony Trollope (I recommend “Barchester Towers”). Port, with its warm, plummy character is the perfect means by which to escape the frigid thrall of late winter evenings, and anyone employing this strategy will doubtless find it easy to ignore the conditions outside his or her door, however testing they might be.
The second strategy is to defeat winter’s ministrations by savoring something that tastes very like spring itself, and no wine better serves this purpose than Joseph Phelps Vineyards 2009 Eisrebe ($50 – 375ml). Made in the style of a German Eiswein from the Scheurebe grape, this lovely wine has delectable floral and stone fruit aromas that lead to rich apricot, lemon, honeysuckle, and creamy vanilla flavors that are balanced by lively acidity and that linger throughout a long, luscious finish. It is hard to imagine anything that would bring a splendid meal to better closure than a small glass of Joseph Phelps Vineyards 2009 Eisrebe, and while it might seem paradoxical that a wine associated with ice should be so utterly reminiscent of spring, it is nonetheless true that sipping Eisrebe invariably makes me think of an English cottage garden in full bloom, and that is exactly the sort of thought which can banish the chill of even the most tempestuous March day.