Wine Lists

Perfect winter wines

By Halliday Wine Companion

20 Jun, 2019

What could be better than settling in with a glass of something warming and delicious while those Antarctic winds whip outside? Here, we pinpoint opulent styles ideal for the season.

The cold came in what felt like an instant. Suddenly, we’re improvising with layers, cradling hot mugs, and craving hearty meals. And what about wine? Well, it’s even more appealing. Get excited for the season’s drinking with these red, white and fortified wines.


Richness of flavour is a must in winter. Australia’s classic shiraz, cabernet sauvignon and blends are obvious options, but if you want to mix it up, you can also consider montepulciano and sangiovese (perfect for pairing with pizza and pasta), and local takes on tempranillo and touriga nacional. If you prefer delicate reds such as pinot (which also has powerful styles to suit the season – bring on the mushrooms and duck), nebbiolo is an aromatic alternative that is light in colour but deceivingly bold. Grenache is another that offers plenty of choice, from old-vine complexity to fun, pretty styles.


Can you really drink white wine in winter? Of course, you can! If you stick to big, bold reds all season, you’ll be bored by winter’s end. Plus, it’s good to have a mix of bottles on hand to pair with a variety of produce. Consider Jerusalem artichoke, for example, which is a nutty, earthy vegetable that would go great with a flavour-packed white (same goes with a juicy roast chicken). The key to choosing winter whites is looking for texture, weight and flavour. Some whites also taste better served closer to room temperature, and these types are ideal for the cooler months. Wintry options include rich, oaky chardonnays, Rhone white blends with marsanne, roussanne and viognier, lush Alsatian varieties such as gewurztraminer with a bit of sweetness, and all sorts of aged styles.


Luscious botrytised and fortified wines are the ultimate winter warmers. The best way to enjoy the concentrated, treacly deliciousness of something like a tawny port is in cold weather, preferably by a crackling fire. Sweet semillons and other dessert-like whites won’t go astray in this season either.