I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for some cooler weather — and with it, some heartier, fireside-friendly wines. For the latest installment of our annual Top 10 Wines for Winter roundup, we’ve scoured our prior coverage for top selections as well as surfacing a few wines we haven’t formally reviewed, all in order to bring you 10 exquisite bottles that are perfect for holiday sips, gifting, or drinking any time the weather gets a bit chillier.
Ready to pop some corks? (Note: All prices are based on the most recently available market prices.) And remember: Check Total Wine and Wine.com for the best deals on all of these picks! You can also search multiple stores at wine-searcher to find the best prices on all these products and more.
1. 2019 Don Melchor Cabernet Sauvignon Puente Alto Vineyard – What is perhaps Chile’s finest wine is at the top of its game with this 2019 release. Dense chocolate, vanilla, and black fruit drive away any thought of overly tannic grittiness, finishing with notes of licorice, violets, and lavender. Drink it now, or cellar forever. Your call. $150 -CN [BUY IT NOW FROM TOTAL WINE]
2. 2015 Fiddlehead Cellars Seven Twenty Eight Pinot Noir Santa Rita Hills – We tasted this with winemaker Kathy Joseph, who noted that this 7 year old wine is the current release for the label. Big cocoa powder notes drive a deeply engaging core that’s laden with fruit. Very well-priced for its quality. $46 -CN
3. 2016 Sicilia Cembali Nero d’Avola DOC – Italy is home to so many deep, satisfying red wines, and here we find both a fine example of such and an excellent value. This inky red shows rich plum notes along with black licorice and pepper. It has a silky mouthfeel and a long lingering finish that will get you through the coldest winter nights. $40 -RL
4. 2015 Terralsole Brunello di Montalcino DOCG – Big boy wine for the win! Terralsole is one of those Brunellos that has an incredible level of acidity remaining after the long maturation period. Made from 100% sangiovese, the wine is showing notes of cherry, plum, and raspberry jam, along with tobacco, licorice, and tannins. Decant for 60 minutes before enjoying with mushroom risotto and a well-seasoned piece of steak. $57 -AMW [BUY IT NOW FROM TOTAL WINE]
5. 2020 Melville Estate Pinot Noir Santa Rita Hills – Perhaps one of California’s best expressions of pinot noir, Melville Estate’s 2020 is fruit forward, with blackberries and raspberries prominent alongside some rose notes. The wine is elegant but with a bold body and a 14% abv that is difficult to detect because it is so well-balanced. A great “fireplace wine”: Throw on your comfy sweater and snack on some cheese, dried fruits, and nuts when enjoying. $40 -AMW
6. 2017 San Felice Poggio Rosso Chianti Classico Gran Selezione – A dazzling Chianti Classico, rounded with black cherry and rhubarb notes that pair well with prettier violet and blackberry elements. Versatile but exciting through and through. $58 -CN
7. 2003 Kopke White Colheita Port – White port rarely gets much love, but this bottle can change your mind, and it is perfect for winter sipping. It is warming and deep, with a thick mouthfeel and brilliant, integrated notes of honey, dried fruit, ginger, and molasses. Also, for a wine this age (and this good), the price is right. $85 -RL
8. 2019 Domaine de Montille Pommard 1er Cru Pézerolles – The town of Pommard lies in the northern part of Côte de Beaune, close to Beaune, and is known for producing robust and elegant pinot noirs. The 2019 Domaine de Montille is a juicy and well-balanced Pommard, where red fruits like strawberry, cherry, and raspberry meet earthy mushrooms and spices like cinnamon and pepper. Serve slightly chilled. $115 -AMW
9. 2020 Merry Edwards Pinot Noir Meredith Estate – Merry Edwards’ heartiest and most wintry pinot, the cherry notes here move into elements of olive leaf, turned earth, and eventually chocolate and coffee bean. Sultry, slightly smoky, and gorgeous. $90 -CN [BUY IT NOW FROM TOTAL WINE]
10. 2018 Chalk Hill Syrah – Chalk Hill is best known for its whites, but this 100% syrah is a lively exploration of allspice and blueberry notes, evolving into clove and dark chocolate with some air. Ample, toasted oak throughout, particularly on the lengthy finish. $65 -RT
Additional reporting by Robert Lublin, Rob Theakston, and Anine Myrhagen Ward.