Top Red Wines for the Winter and Their Food Pairings

There’s something so cozy and enchanting about sitting in the warmth of your home, a fireplace beside you, the snowy landscape in view, and a wonderful glass of wine in hand. Red wine in winter is just as vital as rosé in summer, and it can add the cherry on top to an unforgettable evening. The formidable pair makes its mark because red wine has this ability to warm us up. Literally speaking, red wine’s higher alcohol content means we get hotter with every glass we pour. What people tend to love the most, however, is how excellently red wine pairs with the comfort dishes and meals that rule the chilly season. To get you on the bandwagon for this wonderful pairing, check out our guide to the top red wines for the winter and their food pairings!

Pinot Noir

A lot of people’s go-to holiday red wine, Pinot Noir is loved for it’s versatility. The wine’s light-bodied nature makes it a good red wine for beginners. Apart from that, the subtle earthy undertones and fruity features pair well with just about every comforting dish you love during this season. If you have a lighter dish but still want a red, Pinot Noir still offers an effortless choice. Fall in love with its seamless versatility and fruity flavors.

Perfect Pinot food pairings:

Pinot’s high acidity pairs quite wonderfully with dishes such as chicken or duck, but it also blends well with mushroom heavy dishes and dishes like butternut squash ravioli in a sage brown butter sauce.

Our wine recommendation:

93 Pt. Anaba Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2019


Though Nebbiolo looks pleasant and easy like Pinot Noir, this wine actually bursts with a high acidity and loads of tannins. It’s not the versatile beast of Pinot Noir; it’s a beast of entirely its own accord. It’s flavor profile ranges from cherry to tar to rose, so what you sip will surly ignite your taste buds. We highly recommend decanting for about 45 minutes so that you can get the most of its depth and flavor.

Nice Nebbiolo food pairings:

With such a strong structure, Nebbiolo pairs well with a nice winter charcuterie with some sharp cheeses and meats. It’s also a wonderful wine for holiday dinners, and it pairs well with ham, winter squash, and risotto.

Our wine recommendation:

94 Pt. Negretti Barolo Cru La Morra Rive 2018


A powerful red for those nights you need a bit more warmth than others, Shiraz is that big boozy wine you crave. Though a few varieties are described as “lighter,” the majority of Shiraz you’ll find lean toward the savory side. You can find notes of cured meats, smoke, coffee, and blueberries. Its bold palate means that it can handle bolder dishes, so don’t stray from pairing it with spicy meals this winter.

Stimulating Shiraz food pairings:

Try this bold red out with a spicy stir fry, or if you love meat, it goes wonderfully with lamb and grilled meats. The heartier and spicier the dish, the better the pairing!

Our wine recommendation:

93 Pt. Kay Brothers Hillside Shiraz 2019 McClaren Vale Australia


Most people’s favorite winter red is the beloved Merlot. The soft finish, easy tannins, and surplus of red fruit flavors make it quite drinkable for winter. Similar to Pinot in its versatility, Merlot is a mellow wine that matches just about any winter dish. Better yet, there’s quite the variety available. Depending on Old or New World or the region, the wine can be more fruit-forward or medium- to very full-bodied—it’s versatility will hold when you don’t know what tastes your guests have.

Magnificent Merlot food pairings:

This wine’s versatility works wonderfully with winter’s foods, so you can pair it with anything from hearty stews to Italian-style dishes.

Our wine recommendation:

Château Teyssier Saint Émilion Grand Cru 2018


Another high-acid and high-tannin wine like Nebbiolo, Sangiovese promises that same bold flavor with a bit more of an earthy and rustic feel. It goes with various winter fare, and it can even mesh well with more vegetarian dishes. It’s the perfect wine for those days where you feel contemplative—it’s a wine made for sitting, sniffing, and sipping! It’s also great for those dishes high in fat, as it helps makes them feel lighter.

Stunning Sangiovese food pairings:

This Italian wine dynamically complements its origin’s food, so pasta dishes, roasted winter vegetables, and pizzas pair well with this wine.

Our wine recommendation:

93 Pt. Cordella Brunello di Montalcino 2017

Cabernet Sauvignon

Another fantastic winter classic like Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon is an amazing cold weather wine for those who just started out in the wine world or already know their way around. The wine offers a complex world of flavors, with layers of plum, berries, vanilla, black pepper, tobacco, and leather. This semi-dry and high tannin wine is complex, yet subtle, and it’s a perfect match for the winter weather. You’ll never get bored of discovering the different flavor profiles within.

Cheerful Cabernet food pairings:

Like we mentioned, Cabernet is a wine that pairs well with a wide variety of winter meals, which includes a nice holiday roast, brisket, or duck. The higher tannins in this wine call for fat and protein in your dish!

Our wine recommendation:

Meander Oakville Reserve Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2016


Last on our list of winter reds you’ll need in your home this year is the lovely Port. This red wine offers the perfect choice for those nights when you want to continue sipping through dessert! Though you may turn your nose up at the thought of Port, we urge you to try it out this winter, especially on those nights when you want to curl up by the fireplace. Start off with a fresh Ruby Port, and then the more comfortable you feel, you can step over to the world of Vintage and Tawny Ports. The rich and concentrated flavor of these sweet red wines are what make them so well known as a dessert wine. The brandy added in during fermentation is also a sure-fire to warm you up on a cold winter’s night.

Pleasing Port food pairings:

Since it’s a sweet dessert wine, this isn’t the thing you want to pair with meaty dishes. Instead, go for the dessert table. Pair with pumpkin, apple, and pecan pies, or sip as you enjoy ganache, chocolate truffles, and anything else your heart desires!

Our wine recommendation:

96 Pt. Quinta do Vallado Vintage Port 2019

If you need some delicious red wines to get you through the winter season, turn to Wines ‘Til Sold Out to get you warmed up! We have wines from this list, and even more, to help you experiment and find the right red wine match for you! Happy online shopping!

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