7 Hearty Winter Wines

Updated August 2, 2019
Couple in winter with red wine

In the cold and damp of winter weather, you want hearty wines that will warm your insides and hold up to the rich dishes that come with the season. The wines you choose to consume during the winter can be big, bold, and spicy reds; creamy, toasty, full-bodied whites; warming fortified wines; sweet dessert wines; or lush, celebratory sparkling wines.

1. Zinfandel

With its bold, spicy, and jammy flavors, Zinfandel holds up to hearty, warming foods, and its high alcoholic kick makes it the perfect red to sip when you snuggle up on a cold winter's night. Try a classic Sonoma County Zinfandel, or opt for a rustic Italian-style Primitivo.

Zinfandel sign

Two Zinfandels to Try

2. Nebbiolo

With its powerful tannins and high acidity, wines made from the Nebbiolo grape are perfect with fatty, rich winter foods. Wines made with the Nebbiolo grape include Barolo, "The King of Wines and the Wine of Kings," and Barbaresco, as well as wines labeled as the varietal.

A glass of red wine standing in front of the fireplace

Two Nebbiolo Wines to Try

3. Châteauneuf-du-Pape

From France's Rhône region, Châteauneuf-du-Pape is an earthy, spicy, nuanced hearty wine that pairs well with winter foods. Châteauneuf-du-Pape is made from a blend of grapes from the Rhône region, with the predominate grape in the blend being Grenache. These wines may also include Syrah and Mourvèdre, and they have deep, meaty, smoky flavors.

Road sign for Chateauneuf-du-Pape

Two Delicious Châteauneuf-du-Pape Wines

4. Tawny Port

Fortified Port wine is sweet and warming. Because of that, it makes the perfect winter dessert wine, whether you drink it by itself or accompany a decadent dessert such as a molten lava cake.

Two Tawny Port-Style Wines

  • Fonseca 20 Year Tawny Porto from Portugal is a warm and complex non-vintage tawny that costs around $50 per bottle. Try it with a slice of pumpkin pie.
  • Penfold's Club Tawny Port comes from Down Under (Australia to be exact), but it's a delicious, warm, and affordable port-style wine that costs under $15 per bottle. Try it with bread pudding.
Label on a bottle of vintage port

5. Oaked Chardonnay

Oak brings toasty, warm flavors to Chardonnay such as burnt sugar, vanilla, and spice. Judiciously oaked Chardonnay wines make a perfect winter white with a medium body and plenty of warm, toasted, buttery characteristics.

Two Oaky Chardonnays

6. German Riesling

If you've never tried a Riesling from Germany, it's a revelation. German Rieslings are acidic and zippy with spicy flavors and aromas. Riesling is a cool weather grape that makes delicious winter wines that pair well with a number of foods. The wines range from dry to very sweet, so you can pair them with different types of food. Because of the wine's versatility, it's especially good with Thanksgiving dinner.

Two German Riesling Wines to Try

7. Champagne or Sparkling Wine

What's a list of winter wines without a celebratory bubbly tossed in? Whether you choose French Champagne or its sparkling wine counterparts from around the world, toasty Champagne is a bubbly treat whenever you want to celebrate.

Two Sparkling Wines

Warming Winter Wines

These are just a few of the many hearty wines to warm you up during the winter months. Whether you want a wine for Christmas dinner, a sparkling wine for the New Year, or something to drink when you curl up by the fire with a good book, there are plenty of wines that will chase away the winter chill.

7 Hearty Winter Wines