Column: WINEderlust: Robust Red Wines to Warm up the Winter


By Elizabeth Morse

Brrrr, enough of the Arctic blast, already. I know it’s Indiana and winter, but man. Let’s heat things up a little. Valentine’s Day is approaching and you are looking for the perfect bottle to surprise your Sweetie? Want a delectable selection to enjoy in front of your fireplace?  Need a tasty crowd-pleaser for your supper club? I’ve got some great options. Take a look at these winners. I’ve got three to suggest:

If you’re entertaining or seeking a value-driven wine, look no further than this spicy blend from South Africa, Wildekrans Cabernet Franc-Merlot.  It’s got a bit of tannic backbone, but loads of juicy and supple fruit.  Think currants, blackberries, plums. Serve it with rich winter stews or offer to bring the vino if you’re invited to someone’s house for lasagna. Approximately $17

When you’re willing to take things to the next level, I’m really loving a wine from Ridge Vineyards in California (I’ve been a huge fan for years). I like it even more than usual. Like, it’s REALLY good.  Ridge California Geyserville Zinfandel, 2015. This is a big bodied glass. It has balance, it has oak, blackberry, cherry, black pepper and tobacco. It is a peppery bramble-bomb. It’ll warm you up for sure. $39

So that special bottle for your Valentine? Or yourself? I don’t judge. It needs to be memorable and very delicious. You’re willing to spend a good amount. Go big or go home with Cape Mentelle Cabernet Sauvignon, 2013. An Australian treasure.  Dark fruit with loads of berries, pretty ripe tannins and spice. Big and bold but still manages to be lively. A dichotomy. Hints of mint and eucalyptus and wisps of sandalwood will make you think you’re back at a Grateful Dead Show. Wait, what’s happening? Worth. Every. Penny. $67ish

Elizabeth Morse, an owner of Corner Wine Bar in Broad Ripple, grew up in the Meridian-Kessler neighborhood and is a graduate of both Broad Ripple High School and IU.  A Hoosier Chef, Restaurateur, Food Writer, Wine Guru & Hamilton County Master Gardener who believes in supporting all things local. Morse has been a resident of Hamilton County for more than a decade. Have a wine or entertaining question? Shoot an email to

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