But January for us means holiday time and we'll be damned if we're letting a little thing like the cold and the dark to dampen our holiday spirits.
This year, we had the great fortune to visit a little part of the world that we love; Catalunya in Northern Spain and the Languedoc in Southern France. And, because it's us, we didn't pass up the opportunity to visit some vineyards. And boy, we're pleased we did.
Take Mas Candi for example. They're in Penedes, just half an hour south of Barcelona and *the* area for Cava (around 90% of Spain's Cava production comes from here). But these guys do far more than just Cava......
They also champion local grape varieties such as Xarel.lo, Sumoll and Parellada (although some international grape varieties do creep in too).
And if you ever wonder if organics is worth it, take a look at the photo on the right. Mas Candi is the healthy vineyard on the right, the one on the left - with its dead, eroded soil, sell their grapes to the local co-operative.
We liked the wines so much, two have already landed on our shelves:
Grape variety: Xarel.lo | £13.95
Made from local grape variety Xarel.lo which was planted in 1961, Desig means 'desire' in Catalan, which is exactly the word I'd use to describe my feelings towards this wine.
Bright and mineral with great acidity, it's packed full of pear, grapefruit and apple flavours, with a touch of something floral too.
The wine is fermented and aged in stainless steel to keep freshness.
Cabernet Sauvignon | Sumoll | Manuelo | Monica
Mixing local grape varieties with something more well known as Cabernet Sauvignon is a great way to get your wines out to an audience that might be nervous about trying something new. And in this instance, it works really rather well.
Les Forques is aged for one year in 300 litre old oak barrels. It's fantastically dark when poured out (Sumoll is a thick, dark skinned grape variety) and on the nose, there's a big hit of fruit and vanilla.
On the palate, there's plenty of freshness and acidity to balance out those big fruity flavours. It's a warming, big hug of a wine that wouldn't go amiss on a January evening, accompanied by a big hunk of meat.