Beer & Wine Wine

The 8 Best Wines for Mulled Wine in 2021

For the perfect cold weather sipper.

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Mulled wine and chilly temperatures go hand in hand. Whether Glühwein, Gløgg, or vin chaud, one thing’s for sure—nothing cures the winter blues like a pour of this piping hot treat. Though what exactly is mulled wine?

Simply put, mulled wine is spiced red wine produced with mulling spices and (optional) dried fruits. This traditional European drink is quite popular around the holidays and is synonymous with Christmas markets everywhere. While non-alcoholic versions are available, most mulled wines are made with a solid amount of booze.

While most of us won’t be jetting overseas to hit the Christmas markets, bringing a taste of European holiday flare to your home has never been easier. Simply snag a bottle of red, throw in some spices, and let the heat do the rest. Not sure what to buy? We’ve done the hard work for you. Check out our list of the best red wines for making mulled wine at home.

Best Overall: Cline Ancient Vines Zinfandel

Cline Ancient Vines Zinfandel 2018

Courtesy of Wine.com

  • Region: California
  • ABV: 15%
  • Tasting Notes: Strawberry, Coffee, Chocolate, Vanilla, Sweet Spice

Juicy, full-bodied, and loaded with fruit-driven flavors—what more could you want? This flavor-packed red from California’s North Coast is perfect for making mulled wine at home. Flavors of black cherries, tobacco, raspberry compote, vanilla, and sweet spice dominate the wine’s palate. Pour a splash on the side and sip solo whilst preparing your brew… you wont’ regret it. 

Best Budget: Domaine Bousquet Malbec

Domaine Bousquet Malbec

Courtesy of Wine.com

  • Region: Argentina
  • ABV: 14%
  • Tasting Notes: Blackberry, Red and Blackcurrant, Plum, Oak, Chocolate

No need to break the bank here! This deliciously flavorful malbec hovers around the $10 point and is perfect for mixing up with mulled spices. Expect full-bodied notes of black fruits, plums, tobacco, violets and cassis. With a price tag this friendly, we’d snag two.   

Carrie Lyn Strong, sommelier, owner, & founder of Strong Wine Consulting LLC, notes that she uses whole cloves, cinnamon sticks, star anise, lemon peel (not orange) and candied ginger to craft her mulled wine at home. “Using ground spices adds a gritty texture to the wine that I don't prefer,” she says, noting that adding simple syrup or Cointreau to the mixture will help sweeten the palate. “And if I'm feeling extra [festive], I'll add some brandy or rum."

Read Next: Malbec Bottles To Try

Best Easy to Find: M. Chapoutier Belleruche Côtes-du-Rhône

M. Chapoutier Belleruche Côtes-du-Rhône

Courtesy of Wine.com

  • Region: France
  • ABV: 14%
  • Tasting Notes: Blackcurrant, Raspberry, White Pepper

This accessible, easy-to-find bottle of red is produced in Southern France at the hands of one of the region’s most popular producers of organic wines. This grenache-dominant wine is loaded with flavors of juicy red berries, black currants, licorice and sweet spice. 

“I like to use a red wine that is lower in tannins so as to not take away from the holiday spices, such as grenache or full-bodied pinot noir,” says Strong, noting that finding a bottle with soft fruit flavors and lively acidity is key. 

Best Organic: Cune (CVNE) Rioja Crianza

Cune (CVNE) Crianza

Courtesy of Wine.com

  • Region: Spain
  • ABV: 13.5%
  • Tasting Notes: Black Cherry, Red Plum, Licorice, Spice, Tobacco

This succulent, tempranillo-dominant blend is perfect for mulling with sweet spices and dried fruits, thanks to its bright acidity and well-integrated flavors. Notes of overripe strawberries, raspberries, tobacco leaf, used leather, and vanilla ooze from the wine’s full-bodied palate. 

Read Next: The Best Sweet Wines

Best Merlot: Lapostolle Grand Selection Merlot

Lapostolle Merlot

 Courtesy of Wine.com

  • Region: Chile
  • ABV: 14%
  • Tasting Notes: Plum, Cherry, Cassis, Blackberry, Thyme, Black Pepper

This silky, easy-to-drink merlot is produced from organic fruit in the heart of Chile’s Central Valley. The wine’s smooth flavors of blackberries, blueberries, fresh herbs and black pepper come to life when mixed with baking spices and optional dried fruit. This is medium-bodied, bright and super delicious. 

“For mulled wine, I’d use an inexpensive cabernet sauvignon or merlot from Chile, as these wines show lots of fruit and not so many tannins. No need to spend money here!” says Jeff Harding, wine director at New York’s Waverly Inn.

Best Cabernet Sauvignon: Bonterra Cabernet Sauvignon

Bonterra Organic Cabernet Sauvignon

Courtesy of Drizly.com

  • Region: California
  • ABV: 14%
  • Tasting Notes: Cherry, Currant, Raspberry, Toasted Oak and Vanilla

This organic, easy-to-find, and budget-friendly bottle of cabernet sauvignon hits all of our marks for making mulled wine at home. Flavors of ripe cherries, black currants, cinnamon, and cedar lead to a textured, long-lasting finish. The wine’s bold palate holds its own against a hefty addition of mulling spices, so feel free to add an extra dash here. 

Strong suggests sipping mulled wines with warm cheese dishes, such as raclette or melted brie or camembert served with charcuterie, steak tips au poivre, and all of the accouterments: dried tropical fruit (mangos, apricots, figs), fresh winter citrus (blood or cara cara oranges), salted or spiced nuts (Marcona almonds, walnuts, pecans), sweet & spicy pepper jam, and crispy, fresh-baked bread. “This dinner paired with mulled wine is perfect when the fireplace is warm, the wind howls through the night, and blankets live unfolded on the couch,” she says.

Read Next: The Best Cabernet Sauvignons

Best Pinot Noir: Leyda Pinot Noir (Reserva)

Leyda Pinot Noir

Courtesy of Drizly.com

  • Region: Chile
  • ABV: 14.5%
  • Tasting Notes: Cherry, Strawberry, Cinnamon, Citrus Peel

When choosing a pinot noir for mulled wine, selecting a bottle on the bigger-boned side is key. For this reason, we tend to steer towards New World regions that produce riper expressions of the grape. This mouthwatering bottle from Chile’s Leyda Valley is a steal for the price (and perfect for serving warm with spices). Expect flavors of plums, ripe berries, smoke, and spice to jump from the wine’s medium-bodied palate. 

“Mulled wine screams holidays. I would serve it with a cake—something like coffee cake, panettone, or any treat where you’d use winter spices and/or dried fruits,” says Harding. 

Read Next: The Best Pinot Noirs

Best Red Blend: Château Maris Rouge

Château Maris Minervois

Courtesy of Wine.com

  • Region: France
  • ABV: 14%
  • Tasting Notes: Cherry, Blueberry, Currant, Chocolate

This boisterous red blend from southern France packs a serious punch, making it perfect for holding its own against flavor-packed spices. Jammy notes of red plums, cherries, licorice, and smoke jump from the wine’s medium to full-bodied palate. Silky tannins and vibrant acidity create a solid structure in this tasty blend.

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Vicki Denig is a wine and travel journalist based between New York and Paris. She is a Certified Specialist of Wine through the Society of Wine Educators. Her work regularly appears on Liquor.com, Wine-Searcher, VinePair and more. Denig is also the Content Manager for Verve Wine, a bi-coastal retail operation (New York & San Francisco).

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