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7 Wine Alternatives: The Best Type of Wine for Mulled Wine (2024)

Best Type of Wine for Mulled Wine

Last Updated on March 22, 2024 by Lydia Martin

Looking for the best type of wine for mulled wine? I bet you’ll agree that there’s something magical about mulled wine (regardless if it’s Glühwein, Gløgg, or vin chaud). As a wine lover, I can say that the secret lies in the base—the wine itself.

Choosing the best type of wine for mulled wine can transform a good drink into a great one.

So, for wine lovers looking for the best wine for mulled wine, let me guide you through my top picks that will surely make mulled wine a remarkable experience.

7 Famous Wine Types For Mulled Wine

1. Pinot Grigio or Verdejo

While not a traditional choice, Pinot Grigio or Verdejo can be used for a lighter, more aromatic mulled wine. These wines add a delicate, fruity touch.

2. Sangiovese

Sangiovese’s rustic charm and cherry notes make it a great candidate for a heartwarming mulled wine. I’ll recommend this red wine if you prefer a bit of Italian flair.

3. Grenache

Grenache [2], a red wine with juicy red fruit and spice notes, complements the warm spices in mulled wine beautifully, offering a harmonious blend of flavors.

4. Merlot

Merlot is a popular choice due to its smoothness and fruity characteristics. Typically medium-bodied, it balances the spices without overpowering them, creating a well-rounded drink.

5. Pinot Noir

With the elegance of this red wine type, Pinot Noir is an ideal choice for a sophisticated mulled wine. Besides, the subtle fruit and earthy undertones add to the character.

6. Zinfandel

Zinfandel’s bold, fruit-forward profile is perfect for those who enjoy a more robust and flavorful mulled wine. Also, it often leans towards a sweeter profile, making it an ideal choice for mixed cocktails.

7. Tempranillo

Usually medium-bodied, Tempranillo brings a Spanish twist to mulled wine. Its balance of fruit, tannins, and oak enriches the drink with complexity.

Top 8 Wine Bottles For Mulled Wine

1. Apaltagua 2019 Gran Reserva Envero Carmenère

Bottle of Apaltagua 2019 Gran Reserva Envero Carmenère

Average Price: Around $16 per 750ml (Wine-Searcher)

Alcohol Content: 14.5% ABV

Nose: Red pepper, black fruits

Palate: Chocolate, cherry

Star Rating: ★★★★✩

Why I Like It: The unique profile of Carmenère, with its spicy and fruity flavors, makes this wine an exciting choice for unconventional mulled vinos.

“If we look at a glass of wine closely enough, we see the entire universe.” – Richard Feynman, Physicist 

This full-bodied red blend is well-balanced with chewy tannins. It delivers a delightful finish when sipped, leaving a lasting impression with its dark chocolate flavors.

Yes, this is not a perfect wine, but considering the flavors, I urge you to try this wine, and you’ll see why it’s my top choice!

2. Cline Ancient Vines Zinfandel

Man Drinking Cline Ancient Vines Zinfandel While Grilling Steak

Average Price: Around $16.70 per 750ml (Drizly)

Alcohol Content: 15% ABV

Nose: Ripe berries, vanilla

Palate: Black cherry, baking spices

Star Rating: ★★★★✩

Why I Like It: Bursting with juicy, full-bodied richness and abundant fruit-forward flavors, this delightful red blend from California’s North Coast is ideal for making mulled wine.

This wine has acquired a delicate vanilla essence from maturing in both new and seasoned barrels, which beautifully enhances the mulled flavors.

But don’t hesitate to pour yourself a small glass to enjoy alone while you prepare your mulled vino – it’s a decision you surely won’t regret.

Read: Sangria vs Mulled Wine

3. Domaine Bousquet Malbec

Person Holding Domaine Bousquet Malbec

Average Price: Approx. $15.99 per 750ml (Drizly)

Alcohol Content: 14% ABV

Nose: Blackberry, oak

Palate: Plum, cocoa

Star Rating: ★★★★✩

Why I Like It: This white wine brings depth to mulled wines. Its dark fruit notes and subtle oakiness add complexity to the warm spices (which also pairs well with rum or brandy).

Besides, it’s one of the white wines I’ve tried that’s delightfully tasty, perfect for blending with mulled wine spices. I like the rich aromas and flavors – it’s worth grabbing a couple of bottles.

4. Bonterra Cabernet Sauvignon

Man Drinking Bonterra Cabernet Sauvignon

Average Price: Roughly $14.99 per 750ml (Drizly)

Alcohol Content: 14% ABV

Nose: Cassis, cedar

Palate: Blackcurrant, vanilla

Star Rating: ★★★★✩

Why I Like It: This Cabernet Sauvignon is a full-bodied, dry red wine that balances fruit and tannins, making mulled wine a versatile drink for holiday parties.

Bonterra is one of the red wines, which I like for its robust flavor that pairs well with extra mulling spices.

But besides making mulled wine, I strongly recommend enjoying this red wine [1] with warm cheese dishes, charcuterie, steak tips au poivre, and various accompaniments for a cozy, fireside evening.

5. Alamos Malbec

Bottle and a Glass of Alamos Malbec on a Wooden Table

Average Price: Roughly $12.25 per 750ml (Drizly)

Alcohol Content: 13.6% ABV

Nose: Violet, mocha

Palate: Blackberry, ground spices

Star Rating: ★★★★✩

Why I Like It: It’s the bright acidity, vibrant berry flavors, and floral hints of this Malbec that make it a standout choice for fragrant, lively mulled wines.

This is one of my go-to full-bodied white wines since it brims with a warm, spiced taste that is perfect for the cold weather.

Also, this Alamos delivers a well-balanced and smooth taste with a touch more flavor intricacy than the standard red blend.

6. Bogle Old Vine Zinfandel

Woman Holding Bogle Vineyards Wine

Average Price: Around $11.99 per 750ml (Drizly)

Alcohol Content: 14.5% ABV

Nose: Baking spices, fresh cranberries

Palate: Jammy fruit, black pepper

Star Rating: ★★★☆☆

Why I Like It: This spiced wine balanced with fruitiness adds a unique twist, making mulled wine memorable and delightful.

The sweetness of this red blend is harmoniously complemented by the scents of spices, such as whole cloves and nutmeg.

The flavors of this red wine match well with mulling spices, such as star anise, dry orange slices, allspice berries, fresh ginger, and cinnamon sticks).

7. Campo Viejo Garnacha

Rioja Garnacha 2015 Campo Viejo Bottle Label

Average Price: Around $10 per 750ml (MSRP)

Alcohol Content: 12% ABV

Nose: Strawberry, spice

Palate: Raspberry, herbs

Star Rating: ★★★☆☆

Why I Like It: The lightness and berry notes of this red blend provide a refreshing twist to mulled wine, perfect for those who prefer a less heavy drink.

I find this red blend remarkably adaptable, and its fruity, berry flavors and oak aging make it an excellent choice for blending with warm spices in cocktails.

8. Dark Horse Cabernet Sauvignon

Bottle of Dark Horse Cabernet Sauvignon

Average Price: Approx. $9.99 per 750ml (Drizly)

Alcohol Content: 13.5% ABV

Nose: Cherry, tobacco

Palate: Oak, dark fruit

Star Rating: ★★★☆☆

Why I Like It: Seeking a budget-friendly bottle of red wine? You should try the Dark Horse Cab Sav. Trust me, you’ll be impressed with how bold and full-bodied this red wine is.

“Spice-infused evenings begin with a glass of aromatic mulled wine.” – Liquor Laboratory

Given its affordability, it’s surprisingly impressive and perfect for crafting wines for everyday enjoyment. But mind you, it’s not a sweet wine with more acidity, but this will surely make tasty mulled wines.

FAQs Related to Best type of Wine for Mulled Wine

What are some affordable options for Malbec under $20?

Several Malbec wines offer excellent value for money under $20. Look for brands like Alamos, Trapiche, Zuccardi Serie A, Norton, and Santa Julia, which consistently produce high-quality Malbec wines at affordable prices.

Can I find quality Malbec wines within the $20 price range?

Yes, you can find many quality Malbec wines priced under $20. While some premium Malbecs may exceed this price point, there are plenty of options available that offer great taste and value without breaking the bank.

Are there any specific regions known for producing affordable Malbec wines?

Argentina is the primary region known for producing affordable Malbec wines. The Mendoza region, in particular, offers a wide range of options at various price points, including many excellent choices under $20.

What factors should I consider when choosing a Malbec under $20?

When selecting a Malbec in this price range, consider factors such as the winery’s reputation, the vintage, tasting notes, and any awards or accolades the wine may have received. Additionally, personal taste preferences play a significant role in finding the right Malbec for you.

Can I expect good quality from Malbec wines under $20?

Yes, many Malbec wines priced under $20 offer excellent quality and value. While they may not have the complexity or aging potential of higher-priced bottles, they can still deliver enjoyable flavors and characteristics representative of the Malbec varietal.

Are there any specific vintages or years to look for when buying affordable Malbec?

While certain vintages may be more highly regarded than others, the quality of Malbec wines can vary from year to year due to factors like weather conditions and winemaking techniques. It’s a good idea to check professional reviews and ratings for guidance on specific vintages.

What Is The Best Type Of Wine For Mulled Wine?

Choosing the best wine type for mulled wine is about balancing spice and warmth with the wine’s inherent characteristics.
Among my top picks, the Apaltagua 2019 Gran Reserva Envero Carmenère stands out for its unique flavor profile, making it a winner in my taste buds.
Its chocolate and cherry notes blend with a hint of spice, bringing a distinctive touch to any mulled wine [4] recipe.
Remember, the best mulled wine is one that resonates with your personal taste, so don’t be afraid to experiment with different wines!

References:

  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/red-wines
  2. https://www.forbes.com/sites/karlsson/2021/02/26/grenache-an-unsung-hero-in-the-vineyards/?sh=380849fe41e4
  3. https://www.britannica.com/topic/wine
  4. https://www.theguardian.com/science/2014/dec/30/science-magic-mulled-wine-recipe
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