13 Finest Wines for Mulled Wine, Per a Wine Professional

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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 plentiful at Christmas markets, vacation events, and any variety of gatherings all through the season. And whereas it’s simple to search out, there’s nothing that brings extra winter wonderland coziness than making your individual on the stovetop or within the sluggish cooker. However for that to occur, a couple of pointers for locating the most effective 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 know-how, he’s reworking the ingesting 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 wished to get a greater understanding of what introduced Grant to the world of wine. After I requested him what motivated his pivot to specializing in a decrease ABV possibility, he replied as I anticipated a forward-thinking entrepreneur would. “Innovation has all the time been on the forefront of my thoughts. With Libby, we noticed a possibility to innovate inside the glowing wine class. Libby’s on the confluence of numerous 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 satisfy the patron within the center. “There’s a transfer towards moderation,” he says. “With increasingly more zero- and lower-ABV manufacturers getting into the market, it’s clear that individuals need one thing new from their ingesting expertise. Decrease alcohol resonates with youthful customers whereas low-calorie choices appeal to older customers. 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 discuss of the adjustments in our collective ingesting habits, Grant’s thoughts is, above all, on transparency. “Giving the patron choices—and speaking what they’re getting from the product—is probably a very powerful purpose.”

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 in the course of 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—usually cinnamon, cloves, allspice, and nutmeg together with dried apple and orange rinds—and generally raisins. The result’s a candy, barely spicy, and all-around fruity drink. In case you like a warming beverage across the holidays, mulled wine is an efficient go-to.

Picture by Christie Graham 

Does the standard of wine matter in mulled wine?

The all-important query. After 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. Mistaken. As with every recipe, “the standard of the components is paramount,” notes Grant. As the bottom of your beverage, the wine influences your finish end result.

However Grant reassures us that you simply don’t need to splurge. “Try to be searching for well-made wines which are hopefully freed from components.” In terms of selecting the right wines for mulled wine, he advises protecting your deal with deciding on 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 end result. Would you like one thing heavier, spicier, sweeter? Asking these questions helps dictate which wine you in the end go along with,” says Grant.

Picture by Kristen Kilpatrick

The Finest Wines for Mulled Wine

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

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


Merlot goes to provide you a distinct mulled wine versus choosing a Zinfandel. “It’s extra supple and velvety,” says Grant. “Strive 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 accomplished 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—resembling a heavy, citrus-driven mulled wine. Fuller-bodied whites like a Viognier can 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 numerous bang in your buck,” he notes. “There are numerous 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 may run the gamut in value and purchase one bottle that goes a great distance.”

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