7 Best Types of Wine for Mulled Wine To Warm You Up (2023)

Last Updated on November 27, 2023 by Lydia Martin

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.


Is mulled wine just warm wine?

No, mulled wine is much more than just warm wine. It’s a spiced, often sweetened wine served warm, offering a cozy and aromatic experience.

Should you use cheap wine for making mulled wine?

You can use cheap wine if that’s your preference. But while you don’t need to break the bank, choose a wine [3] you’d enjoy on its own. Feel free to scan the Christmas markets. Quality matters, but you don’t need an expensive bottle for a delicious mulled wine.

Is Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon better for mulled wine?

Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon can be great, but it depends on your preference. Merlot offers smoothness and fruitiness, while Cabernet Sauvignon brings a bolder, more tannic profile.

Key Takeaways

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!



Lydia Martin

Lydia Martin hails from Redmond, Washington, where you’ll find some of the best cocktail bars and distilleries that offer a great mix of local drinks. She used to work as a bar manager in Paris and is a self-taught mixologist whose passion for crafting unique cocktails led her to create Liquor Laboratory. Lydia can whip up a mean Margarita in seconds! Contact at [email protected] or learn more about us here or feel free to give Lydia a tip.

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