The Secret Cellar Winter Favourites

As Winter sets in, Perth’s clear sunny days and arctic nights are building our appetites for warm, comforting food and wine. For me, this means loading the slow cooker up each night and waking to the aromas of lamb shanks, beef cheeks, ragu… you name it, I’m probably braising it and taking it into La Vigna for a hearty lunch. I’m not alone – a common request in-store at the moment is for wines to accompany comfort food like this. So I thought I’d run you through my Winter favourites, to give you a few more options when you make your next selection.

Red wines

Big reds are so popular at this time of year, and by ‘big’ I don’t mean high in alcohol, I just mean wonderful full-bodied, warm reds. Shiraz and Zinfandel usually fit this bill and there are so many to choose from, but here are some suggestions that stand out and offer something a bit more, a bit different.

  • You can’t go wrong with a Brash Higgins Shiraz, made in McLaren Vale by ex New York sommelier Brad Hickey.
  •  Try a Shiraz from Izway, wine-maker Brian Conway’s label from the Barossa.
  • Zinful in Margaret River make a big, dense Zinfandel, which is well priced at under $30.
  • If you’re craving something from the ‘old world’ a Nero D’avola by Prospetti in Italy would be my choice.



My picks of the world’s fortifieds are Rutherglen Muscat from Stanton or Killeen and Port from Kopke or Fonseca. Kopke is the oldest Port house in Portugal and therefore the oldest in the world (as I mentioned in the last blog, Port can only be made in Portugal.)


Yes, Grappa. A more typical suggestion here might be Cognac or Brandy, both very warming spirits to be sure, but I like something a little more unusual. Grappa seems to have gained a reputation for a harsh, rocket-fuel quality but, like any wine, there are good and bad examples of this spirit and I feel it’s misunderstood. Although the 42% alcohol content will send the blood rushing to your skin, the taste of a good Grappa has a unique and delicate refinement about it. While you may not have come across Grappa very often, this Italian girl believes its worth seeking out – the Mazzetti family from North Italy produce a very fine example if you want to get started.

I’ve shared my warming wine secrets but I still have a lot of Winter nights to come; perhaps any talented cooks could send me their favourite slow-cooker recipes to get me through?

Winter Favourites Blog Special – Please note this offer has now finished. Please see my latest blog post for the current offer available.

This month’s special mixed dozen includes a mix of 4 of the wines discussed in this blog:

·         3 bottles of Zinful Zinfandel
·         3 bottles of Izway Rob & Les Shiraz
·         3 bottles of Brash Higgins Shiraz
·         3 bottles of Prospetti Nero d’Avola

I’m offering this mixed case at a special price of $318.00, normally valued at $368.40.

You can order more than one case, but the selection of wines is fixed as listed above. Order by opening the order page below and once you have submitted your order, I’ll be in touch to arrange payment and delivery.

My Special Blog Offer – Please note this offer has now finished. Please see my latest blog post for the current offer available.

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