By Cristal Guiet on June 13th, 2023

Selecting Wines for Winter

The last leaves have fallen from the trees and the cold winter winds have settled in.

Long forgotten are the scorching hot summer days spent standing in front of the BBQ with the hot sun beating on your neck as you cool your palate with a refreshing glass of chilled wine.

As the days shorten and the cold winter temperatures settle in you begin to crave warm rich winter food and wine.

What better way to enjoy the long winter evenings than by sipping a rich glass of liquid sunshine, a reminder of the summer gone by whilst comfortably seated in front of a roaring fire?

How do you choose the right wine for Winter?

Red wine is always considered a good choice for winter.

Full-bodied reds are the perfect accompaniment to the typically hearty rich meals that help to stave the chill off.

If your preference is white wines, rest assured that there is an extensive choice of delightful white wines that will enhance any winter’s day.

During the winter months as a general rule, you will tend to drink wines that are fuller-bodied than wines than during the warmer months.

The body of a wine is measured by its ABV (Alcohol by volume. As a general rule anything up to 12.5% is a light-bodied wine, 12.5%-13.5% a medium-bodied wine, and 13.5% or above is full-bodied).

Popular Winter Wines

Grape Variety



Montepulciano D’Abruzzo


Grown in the central foothills of East Central Italy, this deep wine with flavors of dark fruits is high in acidity and tannins is the perfect match for red meats and rich vegetarian dishes.



Gamay is very floral with red fruits and discrete earthy notes. The most famous Gamay wines come from the Beaujolais region just south of Burgundy in France.

It is a good transitional wine that is light and easy to drink and pairs quite easily with most dishes including seafood. To fully appreciate its flavors, we recommend serving it lightly chilled.



Syrah or Shiraz depending on which part of the world it is made in is rich and filled with dark fruits and pepper notes that are the perfect companion to grilled meat and vegetables.

Pinot Noir


Pinot Noir is a favorite choice for any time of the year as it is delicate and full of nuances. This dry medium-bodied wine is a perfect choice for red and white meats and is delightful to drink on its own.



Merlot is velvety with lovely soft tannins which makes it the perfect companion for a cold winter's evening. Its classic pepper and black fruit notes are infused with sunshine and pair well with light poultry dishes and vegetables but can also warm you up served on its own.

Cabernet Sauvignon


Always a winner on a cold winter's day, big bold Cabernet Sauvignon goes well with those hearty meat and vegetable dishes as well as being part of a soothing relaxing evening.



Mourvèdre is liquid sunshine and brings warmth to any cold winter day. it is perfect with rich hearty winter dishes such as chili or beef stew but can equally be enjoyed on its own.



Grenache is so bright and lively that it can be enjoyed any time of the year but is an especially welcome accompaniment to a dish that has parmesan or pesto in it.



Though not well known, Cinsault is a wonderful addition to a cold winter's evening and goes well with braised meats and dishes that are rich and full of garlic. If you are feeling adventurous then choose a Cinsault to chase the chill away.



Though often categorized as being a summer wine, Sangiovese is filled with black cherry and dark fruit notes and has a very pleasant classic sort of earthiness about it. Its pairs well with tomato-based dishes and winter vegetables.



Bold Tempranillo is a certain winner and pairs well with spicy dishes or can be enjoyed on its own and it will make you feel warm and toasty faster than your fire can.

Petit Verdot


A deep vibrant purple hue with herb, and blueberry notes as well as floral and fruity flavors, Petit Verdot is a great choice for spicy rich winter dishes and also goes well with a cheese board. It is the perfect expression of winter warmth.



Full-bodied spicy Zinfandel is the perfect complement to turkey dishes with its rich notes of berries, cinnamon, and sweet spices. Consider warming up your next holiday meal with a lush glass or two of Zinfandel.



Lambrusco is a red sparkling wine that can range from dry to sweet and has been produced in Italy since the Bronze Age. The light fizz pairs well with fatty and savory foods but can also be enjoyed on its own.



Oaked Chardonnays are perfect for a hearty winter fare and especially go well with rich cream-based dishes. Burgundians Chardonnays is especially enjoyable on a chilly winter's afternoon.



Rich Viognier which comes from Condrieu in the Northern Rhône Valley has great body, structure, and finesse and is the perfect wine to chase away the winter chill.

Chenin Blanc


Chenin Blanc is a perfect choice with its autumn aromas of apples and pears. It is the perfect complement to pork dishes and roasted vegetables. Each bottle of Chenin Blanc has its own unique expression and it is a delightful wine to drink with food or on its own in front of a roaring fire.



Vermentino is well structured and is the perfect complement to heavy pasta, rich risottos, slow-cooked meats, and other warm hearty foods.



From the Savoie region in France, this wine is delicious with a delicate nose and crisp acidity, it is a perfect winter warmer.

White Rioja


This is a perfect full-bodied wine for the cold winter weather and is a blend of Viura along with other varieties. It expresses an array of different flavors and goes well with roasted chicken, pork, and fish dishes.



Riesling has a balanced flavor which makes it possible to pair with most foods. Though it has a reputation for being a sweet wine, the higher the alcohol level is the drier the wine will be. Always check the alcohol content on the label before choosing your bottle.

Sparkling Wines

White and Rosé

Sparkling wine is perfect for any season regardless of its color. It is perfect on its own and pairs easily with most dishes.

Texan wines are perfect for a cold winters day

Red and white wines can be equally enjoyed during the winter season.

There are some fine Texan wines that are perfect to warm up with on a cold winter's day.

Valera is deep ruby red in color and is made from Tempranillo grape. Its delightful accents of black tea and cloves give it a bold dry taste with a long finish on the palate. It is the perfect match for spicy Asian food as well as chicken, pork, and veal.

Albariño is a white grape variety from Spain and is considered one of Texas’s finest wines because of its rich sweet fruity flavors and refreshing taste. Though it is light and dry, it is perfect to enjoy on a cold winter's day either on its own or paired with seafood dishes and cheeses such as Gouda or Feta.

Rojo Red is a popular choice of red wine choice for the festive winter season, its candied notes are enjoyed by lovers of sweet wines. It is a blend of different grapes such as Mourvèdre, Tannat, and Barbera. The soft tannin structure and lovely fruity notes make it a perfect match for most meat dishes. 

Marsanne is often considered similar to Chardonnay, Marsanne hails from the Rhône Valley and has a silky taste and rich texture that is certain the scare away the winter chill. Its complex structure pairs well with a variety of soft and hard cheeses as well as shellfish and seafood dishes.

There are many delightful wines around to keep you warm and happy throughout the winter months.

Whether you enjoy red or white, locally produced, or those from further abroad, there is the perfect wine out there that will help chase the chill of those short winter days and long winter nights away.

Drinking wine is a very convivial activity and there is no better excuse to get together on a cold winter's day than to share a great meal whilst your senses are warmed up by a glass (or two) of your favorite winter wine.


Author: Cristal Guiet

Cristal has more than twenty three years of experience in the wine industry. In addition to creating wine lists in Michelin three-star restaurants, working with prestigious London wine merchants, and starting her own wine tourism company in France, Cristal has been writing about wine for over fifteen years. She holds the Advanced degree from Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET), and resides in London.

Selecting wines for winter

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