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Wines for Winter

One of the silver linings that comes with autumn passing and the chill of winter settling in is that it’s my favourite season to drink wine. A lot of people feel this way about winter and red wine, and while that’s definitely part of it for me, there are some other gems to be enjoyed this time of year. Here are my top picks:

Many red wines are well-suited for winter drinking, but there are some whites (and the occasional digestif) that are also a great fit


I’ve always got some of my favourite Aussie Shiraz on hand through the winter months. Styles that are dry and full-bodied with medium tannins are ideal. They are well suited to warm, winter meals, but also still fruity enough that they are enjoyable on their own.

Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon, with dark fruits and a good amount of weight, is ideal for winter sipping. French styles tend to be quite dry – Bordeaux Cab Savs boast earthiness, even leather, in addition to those dark fruits and florals. These are ideal for rich stews and roasts (essentially what I eat all winter long!). Old World styles are a little bit leaner than New World, which will be more full-bodied and fruity. Both are good this time of year, but my preference usually swings Old World.


The highly acidic and tannic Sangiovese almost demands to be consumed in the cooler months – ideally on the couch in your pajamas and with a bowl of pasta. The varietal can sometimes be quite harsh, but a good bottle of Chianti walks the like between rough and rustic, just where I like it this time of year.

A glass of Chianti (Sangiovese) and a warm bowl of pasta are the perfect match for winter weather


Wines like Chardonnay and Viognier – the latter of which I’ve been loving lately – that have spent some time in oak are ideal whites for winter weather. Rich, buttery notes of caramel and vanilla are warming and perfectly-suited for cooler weather. A nice, oaky Viognier is also a wonderful complement to those hearty winter soups and salads.


Okay, not a table wine, but the Italian digestif made from distilling wine or neutral spirits is perfect for cold weather. One sip of this stuff and you’ll see why it has winter written all over it. Though styles range widely, they are all rich in herbs, spices and botanicals – orange, anise, fennel, cinnamon, pine, juniper… If you haven’t tried Amaro yet, this winter is the time to do so! To dig deeper, check out our full article on Amaro.

Read our article about why winter is also the best time of year for a wine tour.

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Kim Brebach
4 years ago

Hey Jill, what about the glorious fortified wines of Rutherglen? I can think of no better wines for winter – sipping a Morris Tokay in front of a fire while nibbling on dark chocolate, raisins and walnuts.
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