When it comes to the holiday season, is there really anything better than mulled wine? Not only does mulled wine taste like Christmas in a cup, but it is a warming and delicious drink too.
While you can purchase pre-made mulled wine from the store, nothing beats making it at home. When you make mulled wine at home it tastes fresher, and it also leaves the house smelling gloriously good too.
There are a number of staple ingredients that are needed for mulled wine, such as the spices that give the wine its quintessential taste. However, without the correct type of wine, your homemade mulled wine will taste less than impressive.
When thinking about mulled wine, you can’t just use any type of red wine, there are a handful in particular that help to improve the flavor of the drink, and work well with the spices.
If this is your first time making mulled wine, and you are not sure of the correct wine to purchase, then look no further, this is the perfect article for you. We will be chatting you through everything you need to know about mulled wine, from the ingredients needed, to why the wine you choose to use is important.
More importantly, we will be suggesting 6 of the best wines to use for mulled wine. We have tried these out personally, and can confirm that they are definitely the best available options.
What Is Mulled Wine?
Before we jump into our mulled wine suggestions, it is useful for you to know what mulled wine is and a brief history of why it is drunk during the winter months. Mulled wine is essentially spiced wine that is typically served warm.
It is traditionally consumed around Christmas, but it can be served during the whole of the holiday period. As it contains red wine, it is an alcoholic beverage. However, you can choose to use juices instead of the wine if you are looking to create an alcohol-free alternative.
Mulled wine is particularly popular in Europe, and is served at Christmas markets. Interestingly, it can be traced back to Ancient Rome, in the 2nd Century. From here, it has been mentioned multiple times in historical documents and cookbooks that have been found in Europe.
From here, it has remained a popular drink, and it is still consumed a lot during the winter months. It is different to other types of wine given that it is served warm. The vast majority of other wines are either served chilled, or at room temperature.
What Ingredients Do You Need To Make Mulled Wine?
When it comes to the ingredients used to make mulled wine, there is no set recipe. Many people will choose to add slightly different spices, and amounts of sugar. It really does depend on personal preference.
Typically, mulled wine will contain winter spices such as cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, and star anise. Some variations may also contain ginger, and cardamom. The main ingredient of the mulled wine is the red wine used.
We would not recommend using any other type of wine as it will not taste correct.
Mixed in with these ingredients, there will be slices of orange and sometimes lemon, along with some of the juices from the oranges and lemons. Cloves are often added and left in the drink too. You can also choose to add sugar to suit personal tastes too.
The drink itself is warming because of its temperature, but also the ingredients included. It is the perfect option to drink on a chilly evening. It is worth noting that sometimes the spices can be purchased in a sachet or teabag, which can then be placed into the wine to brew.
Why The Wine You Use Is Important
Choosing the correct wine for your mulled wine is important. This is because the wrong wine can have an effect on the overall quality and flavor of the mulled wine.
When you are brewing it yourself, it is important to use a good quality wine that has good flavor, and that works well with the mix of spices.
As discussed, only red wine should be used. Rosé wine and white wine are not suitable for this specific drink. When choosing a red wine, you want it to be quite dry, as this compliments the other flavors the best.
Alternatively, you can choose a semi-dry wine if this is the only option available.
If a wine contains a lot of sulfites, when it is heated up, it can smell and taste slightly unpleasant. This is why you should always check the labeling to ensure that it is free from this. Wine that is too sweet can also have an effect on the overall taste of the mulled wine.
Some types of wine can become overly concentrated when they are boiled, which is why you should only use recommended red wines that do not do this.
6 Wines To Use For Mulled Wine
Here are the six types of wine that we would recommend using for mulled wine. While there are some other types of red wine that can be used, on the whole these tend to be the best options to choose.
Shiraz is a great option to consider as it often has notes of spice included within the wine. The fruity flavors that come through are black cherries and blackcurrant, which work well with the spices included in mulled wine.
The wine is full-bodied and dry, which is important for mulled wine. This wine is created in Australia, however, its roots can be linked back to Persia.
The Syrah grape is used to make it. Its taste works well, and it is easy to see why it is a popular choice. It is not too expensive to purchase.
Cabernet Sauvignon is a great choice of red wine to use for mulled wine. While it is one of the more expensive options we have featured, it tastes beautiful.
The price is reflected in the taste, and it is a great option to consider if you are looking to serve mulled wine at a dinner party.
This particular wine is created in the Bordeaux region of France. As you will see in this article, the wine that is produced in this region tends to be exceptional. There is a reason why there are a number of them featured.
Again, this is a dry red wine that has good tones. It is full-bodied, and has the darker fruit flavors that work well in a mulled wine, especially when heated up.
Malbec is one of the most popular choices when using mulled wine recipes. This is because it provides a good amount of flavor, and it is also fairly affordable to purchase. Being a dry wine, it is perfect to use, and it has notes of vanilla and blueberry.
While it is slightly acidic, it is still a great option to consider, you will just need to balance out this acidity. Again, this wine hails from the Bordeaux region of France, though it is also made in Argentina and California too.
Another Bordeaux wine that is worth considering for mulled wine is Merlot. This is a popular type of red wine in general, as it has a good flavor. Its tannin levels are not too high, and it features notes of fruits like cherry, plum and raspberry.
These flavors complement the orange and spices well. It is a fairly high percentage wine, and can be up to 15%, which is worth keeping in mind when drinking the mulled wine. As it is a dry wine, it is a great option to consider for mulled wine.
While you may be familiar with white Zinfandel wine which is a rose, Zinfandel is actually a red wine. It is a great option to consider as it has a smooth taste and texture.
It has notes of vanilla oak, and black cherries that work well with the other ingredients in the mulled wine.
It tastes fantastic when it is heated up, and it is a dry wine on the whole. The tannin levels are low, which is perfect, and it is typically made in California vineyards. However, its origins are from Croatia.
Last, but not least, we have Garnacha. Again, this is a great option to consider using. It is dry, which is needed for mulled wine, and it can be purchased dry. As there are also sweet and semi-sweet varieties, care needs to be taken when choosing this wine.
You don’t want to purchase the sweet variety as this will not be suitable for the mulled wine.
This wine is typically created in Spain, though the grapes used can be found in France and Italy too. What is great about Garnacha is that it already has spicy notes of cinnamon, which are perfect for the mulled wine. It also features a slightly floral flavor.
We hope that you have found this article useful and insightful. As you can see, these 6 wines will help to add flavor to the mulled wine, and will form the base of it. They are all suitable options to consider and will not be affected by the heating process.
Their flavor remains the same, as does its consistency. These wines are all fairly dry and are not sweet, which is important when choosing a red wine for mulled wine. Remember to always check the label to ensure the wine doesn’t contain sulfite before choosing it.