The temperatures have started to dip and the days are getting colder. It's the season of hearty meals, roaring fires, and yuletide cheer. As you prepare to settle in and embrace the season, have you considered which new wines you'll add to your rotation?
The best wines for winter are robust and deep. They warm you from the inside out and help take the chill out of the evening. They also pair well with all of those soups, stews, and other nourishing dinners you have on the menu.
Not sure which ones to add? Today, we're sharing seven of our favorite picks to help you get started.
1. Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir is a classic, dry red wine with a pleasant light-to-medium body that goes with a variety of winter dishes. With one sip, you'll enjoy the rich taste and gorgeous aroma of dried fruits, berries, and spices, along with a hint of hibiscus flowers.
Thanks to its relatively high acidity and low tannins, Pinot Noir makes an incredibly versatile food pairing. You can enjoy a glass with a meal of chicken, pork, or duck, and it also goes brilliantly with a variety of mushroom-based dishes.
Ready to add a new bottle to your own cellar collection? We offer a variety of Pinot Noir wines in our online shop, such as the always-popular Sean Minor Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir.
With this medium-bodied wine, you'll enjoy the standard red fruit and berry flavors you've come to expect in red wine, along with unexpectedly rich hints of cedar bark and cooking spices. The earthy, toasted notes give depth to the lighter cherry and blueberry flavors, creating a wonderful balance that's infinitely palatable.
With a long and creamy finish, this is the perfect wine to pour when you're ready to settle down by a cozy fire, grab your favorite book, and settle in for the evening.
2. Australian Shiraz
Winter is a great time of year to try a wine that's big, bold, and brooding. With its powerful black fruit flavors, Australian Shiraz more than fits the bill. While the flavor and finish aren't quite as delicate or smooth as a Pinot Noir, this is the wine to pour when you want something a little more strong and spirited.
Many varieties complement the dark fruit notes with more pungent undertones, such as black olives. Others are even a little gamy, which is why this particular wine pairs wonderfully with lamb and goat dishes. The jammy flavor of Shiraz makes it the perfect complement to fruit-based sauces, glazes, and marmalade dressings.
Looking for a bottle to round out your holiday festivities? Check out our Oliverhill Red Silk McLaren Vale Shiraz. This medium-to-full-bodied wine is full of vibrant blueberry and blackberry flavors and aromas.
While some McLaren Vale Shiraz renditions can have a slight menthol note, you won't find that in this old-vine Shiraz. Instead, the blueberry notes come through spectacularly strong, along with a hint of mocha and ground coffee. When the snow is falling outside and you want to wrap your hands around a glass of comfort, you can't go wrong with this classic winter pick.
Chardonnay is a staple wine in many households, as useful and versatile in the kitchen as it is in the dining room. However, it also happens to be the best white wine to drink when the seasons start to change.
Made with some of the most popular grapes in the world, Chardonnay wine is typically medium-bodied in nature, with strong flavors of pineapple, yellow apple, and vanilla, along with buttery notes that give it a memorably smooth finish.
You can find both oaked and unoaked Chardonnay wines and the type you choose can help guide your food pairing. Oaked Chardonnay tends to be a little stronger and bolder-flavored, and pairs well with decadent seafood, such as crab cakes or halibut. It's also great with pork dishes and makes a special complement to roasted winter veggies, including pumpkin and squash.
Unoaked Chardonnay is a little lighter and leaner. It's best served alongside crispy, more delicate fare such as oysters and pâté.
If you need a new bottle, we suggest starting with our Sebastiani North Coast Chardonnay. This medium-bodied, gold-colored wine showcases signature notes of yellow apple and vanilla, along with sweet and smooth caramel. A master class in picture-perfect Chardonnay, this wine is both crisp and buttery, with flavors of pear, crisp Pink Lady apple, and tropical fruit matched exquisitely by elements of toasted brioche and, of course, that trademark butter.
4. Cabernet Sauvignon
While Pinot Noir is an excellent choice, we'd argue that a great glass of Cabernet Sauvignon is the best red wine for winter. This is a full-bodied wine that wraps you in a big hug with each and every sip.
You'll find plenty of elegant, dark fruit flavors here, as well as hints of spices and cinnamon. The grippy tannins leave a lingering taste, making it a go-to pairing with those meaty, red meat dishes you tend to make when the weather turns cold.
From short ribs and steak to mushrooms and lentils, it lends a rich, deep flavor to almost any meal. It also brings depth and flavor to many types of sauces or reductions. When the forecast calls for blustery conditions, however, there's one way we love to utilize our favorite bottle of Cab Sauv: in spiked hot chocolate!
Red wine hot chocolate is the spiked drink to sip all season long, and it couldn't be easier to make. Here's a great, simple recipe you'll want to keep on hand until the first hints of spring appear.
While you're gathering all of the ingredients, we suggest going ahead and picking up a bottle of our Le Vigne Vatani's King Cabernet Sauvignon Paso Robles. This wine combines the savory notes of black currant and bay laurel with intoxicating aromas of rich leather.
The result is a wildly silky wine with refined yet prominent tannins that make it an excellent companion for nearly ever winter dish. Pour a little in your hot chocolate and save the rest for the main course!
5. Rich Rosé
When you think of rosé wine, do you picture yourself lounging by the pool, with the sun beating down and bathing suit on? It's true that many rosé wines have a warm-weather connotation. That's because most only think about the light pink varieties that are popular throughout Provence.
Not as many people realize that France isn't the only country that can produce delicious, top-shelf rosé. From Spain and Australia to South Africa, Italy, and New Zealand, it's making strides all over the globe. Many of those varieties are more full-bodied than their lightweight counterparts, which makes them absolutely appropriate for winter.
While you may already be used to your favorite rosé with seafood, think of other ways to incorporate this seasonal favorite into your recipe rotation. It also makes a magnificent companion to heartier dishes like pizza and pasta, and you know it's the drink to bring to any charcuterie board.
The best rosé wine for this time of the year is one that leans more toward a red than a white. Our Castello di Ama Purple Rose Toscana IGT 2020 is a great example. Visually, this wine looks like your favorite bottle of Pinot Noir, but it has all of the fruity flavors you'd expect from this type.
A varietal Sangiovese, this particular rosé has prominent notes of wild florals, herbs, and spices which give way to a more subtle strawberry flavor and hints of candied citrus on the end notes. This juicy sweetness is brilliantly cut by the mild taste of minerals, which balances the wine and gives it a memorable, fresh flavor.
Let's finish this list the same way we started it -- with a deep, luscious red wine that you'll begin to crave way before the first frost hits. If you've already grown to love bold reds like Cabernet, then Malbec is a natural next step.
Not only does Malbec give you the dark fruit flavors of plum and black cherry, but it's also wonderfully smooth, silky, and a dream to sip. There's even a hint of chocolate in most varieties, making this one of our favorite dessert wines.
It also goes great with most meats, including red meat such as steak, as well as pork and lamb. Or, you can pair it with fatty fish like salmon and cuts of dark meat chicken. The light acidity of the wine rounds those gamier meals out and creates a well-balanced dish.
If you've never tried Malbec before or want to explore this palate a little more, take a look at The Seeker Mendoza Malbec. Straight from Argentina, it has dominant notes of juicy, red fruit, like black cherries, followed by richer, heavier spices. Smooth and robust, it gives a delectable spicy finish that lingers long after that last drop.
Bonus Drink: Sake
Sake is a special type of alcoholic drink from Japan. It's made by fermenting rice, after that rice has been thoroughly polished to remove its outer layers of bran. It has a rich history in the country that dates back more than 2,000 years, and there are many different types and variations available today.
As Japan's national beverage, sake is often served at special events, formal ceremonies, and holidays celebrated throughout the county. This is one of the reasons why it's such as mainstay here when the weather turns cold.
Typically stronger than most wines but lighter than most spirits, sake is in that perfect sweet spot. Most bottles contain between 15% and 17% ABV, putting it closer to a fortified wine. Once the fermentation process is complete, some companies blend in additional alcohol to bolster the flavors, but the result is mild due to the addition of water.
Though it has plenty of robust flavor, sake is only mildly acidic. This gives it a pleasant body and texture, and makes it a great pairing for a variety of meals. Sake goes great with sushi, tempura, and other types of Japanese foods, but is equally delicious alongside other types of oily seafood, including salmon and sushimi.
When you're ready to try it for yourself, you can't go wrong with a bottle of Soto Super Premium Junmai Daiginjo Sake. The fresh, crisp notes of apple, cucumber, and melon blend with gentle aromas of fruit, florals, and lemon zest.
This long name translates simply to SOTO, which means "outside" in Japanese, and the word "Junmai" means "pure". It's a fitting moniker, given that sake brings together some of the most simple, natural elements from the Earth.
In SOTO, you'll find polished specialty rise, as well as crystal-clear mountain water from the Niigata Prefecture region. Junmai Daiginjo is widely considered the highest grade of sake in all of the world, due primarily to the strict manufacturing standards. To be added to this drink, the rice must be polished to at least 50%, which isn't the case everywhere.
This very drinkable beverage is great served chilled and sipped straight from the bottle. Or, you can wait to enjoy it on your next sushi date night at home! Either way, you're sure to enjoy it.
Try Our Best Wines for Winter
We might be spending more time indoors, but that doesn't mean we have to give up all the fun we've been having all summer long.
Now that you know a few of the best wines to enhance your meals and enliven your moments, are you ready to add a few bottles to your collection? At Liquorama, we're dedicated to helping you find the best wine, liquor, and beer you need. We'll even deliver it right to your doorstep.
Take a look at all of our collections and let's get started! If you have any questions, reach out to our team.