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The cooler months call for cozy evenings in front of the fireplace, curling up on the couch bingeing your favourite shows, and enjoying rich and hearty dinners that warm you from the inside out.
For all of these comforting moments, opening a delicious bottle of wine can be the perfect way to help you chill out when the temperature drops. Winter inspires some wonderful choices of wine which can vary depending on the occasion, company, and the food you’ll be pairing it with.
To help you decide which wines you should be savouring this winter, we’ve pulled together a handy guide that includes some of McGuigan’s best red, white, sweet, and sparkling wines.
Red wine is synonymous with winter. There is nothing like a full-bodied, intense red wine to elevate the experience of indulging in a rich and heavy, rib-sticking winter dish.
It’s also the star ingredient in the ultimate warming cocktail, a comforting and spicy mulled wine - a guaranteed icebreaker at your next winter party.
Here is our pick for the best red wine varietals for winter.
Australia is famed for producing some of the best Shiraz in the world. Also known as ‘Syrah’ in other countries, Shiraz was one of the earliest grape varieties planted in Australia and, hundreds of years later, it’s continued to flourish thanks to our warm, dry climate. With its deep-coloured hue and big, bold flavour profile, Shiraz is a classic choice for red wine in winter.
You’ll love 2021 McGuigan Cellar Select Noon Harvest Shiraz for its rich palate of blackberries and dark cherry and wonderfully long, lingering finish. It’s an excellent match for steak, a lamb roast, or slow-cooked Osso Bucco.
Medium-bodied with a distinctive deep purple colour, and a smooth finish on the palate, Malbec is a fantastic choice for winter due to its versatility in pairing with a wide variety of dishes and cuisines. Malbec’s lighter tannin structure makes it a great partner for blue cheese, creamy mushroom dishes, lamb and mint, or roasted duck.
We recommend 2020 McGuigan Cellar Select Malbec. Packed with flavours of plum and ripe berries, it’s juicy and fruit-forward with a bold and rich finish.
Montepulciano is an easy-drinking, medium-bodied dark red wine made with a thick-skinned red grape varietal hailing from the Tuscan town of the same name. It’s the perfect wine to have with Italian cuisine, whether it be pizza, spaghetti bolognese, or other tomato-based pasta dishes.
Try 2021 McGuigan Mastercraft Montepulciano for its medium tannins and flavours of plum and cherry with a savoury finish.
Originating from Spain, Tempranillo is known for its diverse food pairing, making it a great wine to bring along to a winter gathering. It can range from medium to full-bodied and combines red fruit flavours with more savoury notes. It works well with cured meats, barbecued meats, and Mexican food.
We suggest you try 2021 McGuigan Mastercraft Tempranillo for its velvety tannins that blend juicy red fruits with vanilla bean and finishes with a subtle savoury edge.
Cabernet Sauvignon is aged in oak barrels, which gives it a beautiful balance of acidity and oaky flavour. Its savoury and herbal undertones makes it a choice pairing with pepper steak and mashed potatoes, roast lamb or beef, or dishes that feature portobello mushrooms.
If you’re looking for something truly special to share with your nearest and dearest, we recommend 2019 McGuigan Personal Reserve Langhorne Creek Cabernet Sauvignon. You’ll love the complex flavours of dark berries and mocha, beautifully integrated with robust tannins and firm acidity.
If you thought red wine was the only wine worth drinking in winter, think again. Opulent and creamy white wines can be just as comforting in the cooler months and match especially well with luxurious and velvety cream-based dishes.
Why not give these white wine options a go this winter?
Chardonnay is the ultimate example of a white wine that works in winter, because of its rich buttery mouthfeel. Bold flavours of oak, green apple, peach and vanilla make it an excellent match with pork dishes and winter veggies like pumpkin and squash.
We recommend our 2018 McGuigan Cellar Select Tumbarumba Chardonnay sourced from a vineyard at the base of the Snowy Mountains in NSW. Distinctively cool climate characters including aromas of white melon, grapefruit and cashew nuts combine with racy acidity to ensure a clean and refreshing finish.
If you like Chardonnay, Viognier is another fantastic winter choice. It’s a medium-bodied white wine that is rich and creamy and known for its aromas of stonefruit and ginger. It’s an amazing drop to enjoy with roast chicken or a spicy pad Thai.
We suggest you try 2021 McGuigan Cellar Select Viognier which has notes of apricots, peach and honeysuckle that lead to a rich, round palate of stone fruits and gingerbread.
With its crisp, fresh taste offset against floral aromas, Riesling is another delicious white wine to enjoy in winter. Given its German origins, it’s great with for rich and hearty meals. Serve it alongside German favourites like sausage and mashed potatoes or pork schnitzel. Riesling is also delicious alongside aromatic curry.
If you are after a well-balanced medium-weight Riesling with a delicate floral flavour and refreshing acidity, we suggest you try our 2021 McGuigan Cellar Select Clare Valley Riesling.
Sweet wines are a delicious, treacly treat to sip on during the cooler months. They make a great partner alongside appetisers and desserts.
These are our top choices for sweet wine in winter:
Moscato is the ultimate pick for a light and sweet wine that works well with appetisers, desserts or as an apéritif on its own. Our 2021 McGuigan Cellar Select Moscato, delivers juicy flavours of lychee and orange blossom with a hint of spritz.
The Semillon grapes used to make this heavenly golden liquid were left on the vine for an extended time to fully ripen and produce a wine with intense honeysuckle and floral aromas. 2015 McGuigan Personal Reserve Botrytis Vineyard Semillon has a rich opulent palate that shows a distinct orange marmalade character and is balanced with light alcohol and a persistent acid finish. Perfect to enjoy with dessert or an after-dinner cheese platter.
Sparkling wine is a fabulous way to make your winter blues a little more colourful. And when it comes to celebrating special moments, from birthdays and farewells to engagement parties and weddings, an effervescent flute of fizz is really the only option - regardless of what the weather is doing outside.
Here’s what we recommend if you’re partial to popping a bottle of bubbly this winter.
Contrary to what some would think, sparkling wine doesn’t have to be limited to a serving tray on arrival or the cake table at the end of an evening. Whether it's Champagne, Prosecco or a delicious dry Cuvée, the versatility of sparkling white wine means that it pairs tremendously well with a range of different foods. In winter, a refreshing glass of sparkling wine is heaven when matched with antipasto, oysters, fish and chips, or anything encased in buttery pastry like a chicken pie or spanakopita.
Our 2021 McGuigan The Shortlist Premium Cuvée Sparkling is made from premium Chardonnay that has brilliant clarity and fine beads that lift the upfront flavours of peach, lemon and nougat.
Bubbly red wines are a beautiful and complex alternative to traditional white and rosé varieties. There are many different expressions and varieties, in varying shades of red, from dry to semi-sweet and with flavours ranging from juicy ripe fruit to spice and chocolate. Try it with rich, fatty dishes like Chinese roasted duck or barbecue ribs.
We recommend our 2017 McGuigan Cellar Select Sparkling Merlot, for its bright crimson fresh plum characters with a hint of dried herbs and potpourri.
Opening a delicious bottle of wine to share with family and friends or to enjoy on your own can be especially comforting during winter. Whether it's a full-bodied red to open by the crackling fire or a flute of sparkling to cheers with your loved ones, McGuigan has your winter wine selections covered.