13 Best Wines for Mulled Wine, Per a Wine Expert

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There’s a component of coziness inherent in filled-to-the-brim mugs of mulled wine. The candy, comforting scent of honey, vanilla, cinnamon sticks, and mulling spices all stirred collectively in a pot is a delight to treasure. And naturally, when the subtly spiced wine hits your lips, effectively, nothing else satisfies. The beverage is considerable at Christmas markets, vacation events, and any variety of gatherings all through the season. And whereas it’s straightforward to seek out, there’s nothing that brings extra winter wonderland coziness than making your personal on the stovetop or within the sluggish cooker. However for that to occur, a number of pointers for locating the perfect wines for mulled wine ought to assist.

I spoke with Grant Hemingway, a winemaker and entrepreneur whose mission is to make wine extra accessible. Grant is the co-founder of Libby, a California-grown bubbled wine model providing premium wines with fewer energy and fewer alcohol. Utilizing revolutionary expertise, he’s remodeling the consuming expertise—and I knew there was nobody higher with whom to debate the subject of mulled wine.

Featured picture by Kristen Kilpatrick.

Picture by Michelle Nash

The Professional: Grant Hemingway

However earlier than we transition to the subject at hand, I needed to get a greater understanding of what introduced Grant to the world of wine. Once I requested him what motivated his pivot to specializing in a decrease ABV choice, he replied as I anticipated a forward-thinking entrepreneur would. “Innovation has at all times been on the forefront of my thoughts. With Libby, we noticed a chance to innovate inside the glowing wine class. Libby’s on the confluence of lots of the optimizations that have to be made inside the wine business. It’s actually all about modernization.”

With that remark, my thoughts went to the shifts already happening in how drink. The sober-curious motion has dominated conversations throughout the wellness business and has trickled into the mainstream. With Libby, Grant goals to fulfill the patron within the center. “There’s a transfer towards moderation,” he says. “With an increasing number of zero- and lower-ABV manufacturers coming into the market, it’s clear that individuals need one thing new from their consuming expertise. Decrease alcohol resonates with youthful shoppers whereas low-calorie choices appeal to older shoppers. We all know we’re not going to be every little thing to everybody, however Libby has been extensively supported throughout all demographics.”

However amidst speak of the adjustments in our collective consuming habits, Grant’s thoughts is, above all, on transparency. “Giving the patron choices—and speaking what they’re getting from the product—is probably crucial objective.”

Picture by Kristen Kilpatrick

What’s mulled wine?

Having glad my very own cultural curiosities, it’s time to dive into mulled wine. Let’s start with the fundamentals. Mulled wine is a standard drink served through the vacation season. Whereas we drink mulled wine within the States, the spiced beverage has been extensively popularized in Europe. The same German and Alsatian staple, glühwein, in addition to the Nordic glögg, are ready round Christmas.

Recipes abound (and everybody has their secret spin), however mulled wine is most frequently made with crimson wine, mulling spices—sometimes cinnamon, cloves, allspice, and nutmeg together with dried apple and orange rinds—and typically raisins. The result’s a candy, barely spicy, and all-around fruity drink. Should you like a warming beverage across the holidays, mulled wine is an effective go-to.

Picture by Christie Graham 

Does the standard of wine matter in mulled wine?

The all-important query. Once I introduced this up in dialog with Grant, my impulse was to naively assume that with all of mulled wine’s add-ins, the wine choice shouldn’t matter an excessive amount of. Unsuitable. As with every recipe, “the standard of the substances is paramount,” notes Grant. As the bottom of your beverage, the wine influences your finish end result.

However Grant reassures us that you just don’t must splurge. “Try to be searching for well-made wines which might be hopefully freed from components.” On the subject of selecting the right wines for mulled wine, he advises conserving your deal with choosing the proper profile.

“Begin with a imaginative and prescient of what you need your mulled wine to be and choose the wine based mostly in your desired consequence. Would you like one thing heavier, spicier, sweeter? Asking these questions helps dictate which wine you finally go together with,” says Grant.

Picture by Kristen Kilpatrick

The Greatest Wines for Mulled Wine

Onto the perfect half: the perfect wine picks for making your cozy and comforting mulled wine goals a actuality. I requested Grant for his suggestions throughout six sorts: Zinfandel, white wine, boxed wine, Merlot, and Brandy. Maintain scrolling for his ideas!

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“Zinfandel is a traditional,” says Grant. “In my expertise, it’s some of the extensively utilized in mulled wine. It has that jammy, fruity taste with out an excessive amount of of that drying tannin construction that you just discover in larger reds. This lends itself higher to a mulled wine recipe.”


Merlot goes to present you a distinct mulled wine versus choosing a Zinfandel. “It’s extra supple and velvety,” says Grant. “Attempt venturing into the extra fruit-forward choices versus one thing extra structured. You need that candy spot between one thing that doesn’t have an excessive amount of construction and one thing that’s not too light-bodied.”

White Wine

“Candidly, I’ve by no means finished a white mulled wine,” admits Grant. “That being stated, it’s an intriguing one as a result of one of many compounds that I like in mulled wine is orange. Constructing off of that, you can amplify the choices by way of spice—akin to a heavy, citrus-driven mulled wine. Fuller-bodied whites like a Viognier could be good to play with, letting you construct off the underlying citrus notes. It’s fuller-bodied with out being buttery, and has a bit extra viscosity and texture.”

Boxed Wine

Grant is forthright with the advantages of boxed wine. “You do get lots of bang in your buck,” he notes. “There are lots of mainstays on the market, however I’d nonetheless veer into Zinfandel or perhaps Merlot territory. Steer clear of something that’s overly candy.”


“Brandy is one other class that’s seeing a renaissance,” Grant observes. “You possibly can run the gamut in value and purchase one bottle that goes a great distance.”

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