Your Winter Wine and Food Pairing Guide

Winter means bundling up to play in the snow and then sitting by a fire sipping a glass of great wine staring out at a snowy landscape. Finding the perfect winter wine to elevate your cold evening can make it an even more enchanting experience. But when pairing wine with the perfect dish, it can be the “cherry on top” for your winter night. 

To help you create this experience, we’ve put together a list of the best wines to drink in winter along with several food pairings. What’s great about winter wines is they go so well with the comfort dishes you love.

Read on to find out more about winter wines and what to eat with them.

Winter Wine #1: Cabernet Franc

It’s no surprise that red wines are great winter wines. The tannins in red wines have warming properties that can help push away those winter chills. 

And a Cabernet Franc is the perfect medium-bodied red wine to handle winter comfort foods with its dark fruit flavors and high acidity. Drinking a glass of Cabernet Franc on a winter night is like slipping into your favorite sweater. 

Captivating Cabernet Franc Winter Food Pairings

Cabernet Franc pairs well with roasted pork, beef stew, spaghetti and meatballs in a red sauce, turkey with cranberries, and roasted red peppers or eggplant.

Check out our 2018 Trí red blend for your wine & food pairing.

It is a red blend with 56% Cabernet Franc, 40% Merlot, and 4% Pinot Noir. You’ll discover aromas of dark fruit, especially plum, and licorice with black cherry flavors and notes of allspice and clove. 

Winter Wine #2: Merlot

Merlot is one of the best-loved wines for winter – and it’s no big surprise. It’s the perfect wine to enjoy during a simple, relaxing evening playing card games with friends.

Merlot is a mellow wine that has a soft finish, easy tannins, and bursts with red fruits. But depending on the region for the Merlot, it can be more fruit-forward or medium to full-bodied. The more dominant the Merlot, the bolder the meal you should choose to complement its boisterous nature.

Magnificent Merlot Winter Food Pairings

Try pairing your next Merlot with pizza, penne pasta, barbeque, ratatouille, or braised meat. Be sure to avoid anything delicate or spicy since the flavors will clash.

Check out our 2018 Trí red blend for your wine & food pairing.

This red blend – which is predominantly Cabernet Franc and Merlot with a touch of Pinot Noir – will satisfy your Merlot needs.

Winter Wine #3: Chardonnay

Now hear us out – most don’t think of white wines in winter, but we think we can change your mind.

Take the Chardonnay. It can be crisp and fruity or full-bodied and complex. Many are finding it to be an ideal winter white wine since its richer tones pair well with soups or meat-based winter dishes. Sipping a Chardonnay alongside a classic winter soup will remind you of being away at your favorite weekend getaway spot.

And to fully experience a Chardonnay as a winter wine, before sipping, decant it and allow the wine to breathe a little to wake up and savor its full richness.

Charming Chardonnay Winter Food Pairings

Chardonnay pairs well with creamy pasta, corn chowder, or fish, chicken, or pork in a creamy sauce.

Check out our 2018 Reserve Oaked Chardonnay for your next wine & food pairing.

You’ll find aromas of fresh apples, lemon, and warm vanilla spice. The palate expresses flavors of honeydew melon, ripe yellow apple, and finishes with a touch of hazelnut.

Winter Wine #4: Riesling

Riesling comes from the cool climate of Germany, making it fit well as a winter wine –  and Germans know all about cold winter nights. Sipping a Riesling as you sit next to the fire may help you feel more like you’re away visiting Europe this winter.

Rieslings can range from dry to sweet, with notes for bright citrus and green apple. It traditionally has an even balance of sweetness and acidity, making Riesling a great pairing for most foods.

Ravishing Riesling Food Pairings

Try pairing the Riesling with winter comfort foods like sausage and mashed potatoes to spicy curries. Or better yet, because of its versatility, set it out at your next Thanksgiving dinner.

Check out our 2020 Select Harvest Riesling or 2020 Riesling for your next wine & food pairing

The 2020 Select Harvest Riesling is harmonious from start to finish with aromas of fresh nectarines, lemon curd, and lime introducing flavors of peach, juicy pear, and a kiss of candied ginger.

The 2020 Riesling is dry with aromas of yellow apple, lime, and pear blossom giving way to mouthwatering acidity balanced with sweet orange, white peach, and green apple.

We hope you enjoy winter a bit more with some great wine and food.

If you want to dig deeper into wine and food pairings, look at our Food and Wine Pairing 101.