BEST wine MULLED WINE
Mulled wine recipes vary greatly around the world. So what’s important to remember when trying to brew the best mug of mulled wine?
Mulled wine Best Wine – 4 key thing to consider…
- The type of wine.
- The time allowed to brew the spices.
- How alcoholic you want your mulled wine to be.
- How much extra sugar you want to use.
Mulled wine, glühwein, hot wine, glögg it has many names in many countries throughout the world. Brewing methods and ingredient variations vary geographically however there is one consistent principal.
The colder the weather, the warmer & spicy, the better the feel.
A winter warming drop in the Southern hemisphere enjoyed June – August & festive brew in the North enjoyed December through March. In the Nordic countries they add a splash of vodka into their mug to give it that extra warming kick, while in Portugal they brew it using port or Madeira wines.
In Australia, mulled wine is largely under appreciated considering the quality of wine produced and the cold temperatures in the South half of our continent. Bottled mulled wine is available in bottle shops but the taste and smell cannot compare to following a mulled wine recipe and brewing your own winter warming drop…
Choosing the right type of Australia wine to brew with spices in a mulled winerecipe can be difficult considering there are more than 100 different varieties of grape planted across our continent, in 65 specific wine regions. So, to keep it simple we will choose 4 varieties and compare them.
Best Wine Mulled Wine – which to choose
Shiraz is Australia’s most planted variety of grapes; it’s also the oldest with some vines in the Barossa Valley in South Australia planted in 1843.
- Style & Region – Shiraz is a relatively adaptable variety it can be grown in cool climates, however, flourishes in moderate – warm climate areas. Shiraz grapes create medium to full-bodied wines with varying profiles depending on climate, region, and wine making process.
- Character – Full-bodied rich wine with spicy blackberry and pepper characteristic.
- Mulled wine recipe profile – Best brewed for 2 -4 hours to allow the mulled spices to infuse with the dry medium body profile. Additional water or sugar may be added according to taste. Brandy and other spirits may also be added to increase the alcohol content.
Cabernet Sauvignon can be aged for decades making it a popular variety to blend and cellar, it features many historical & successful wines.
- Style & Region – Drought and heat stress greatly affect the seasonal flavour profile of Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. Its medium to full bodied properties with firm tannin structure grows best in the Coonawarra and Margret River regions.
- Character – Medium to full body wine with blackberry, blackcurrant, mulberry and cedar characteristics.
- Mulled wine recipe profile – Similar to Shiraz 2 – 4 hours of brewing time is an idea to create a full bodies spice wine, reducing the tannin structure. Additional water or sugar may be added according to taste. Brandy and other spirits may also be added to increase the alcohol content.
Pinot Noir grows best in temperate climates, meaning most successful vineyards are located close to the ocean or at altitudes where they receive cooling weather influences. These challenges in growing mean most Pinot wines are polarized, either being inherently premium in quality and style or not…
- Style & Region – Pinot Noir is fickle & notoriously difficult to cultivate. In conducive weather conditions, the wines process lively fruit flavours strawberry and cherry, which can be aged for 10 – 15 years. Adelaide Hills, Tasmania, Mornington Peninsula, and the Yarra Valley have a reputation for producing good quality and consistent Pinot Noir wines.
- Character – light to Medium body wine with cherry, earth, strawberry, plum, roses and violets characteristics.
- Mulled wine recipe profile – 1 – 2 hours of brewing time is adequate to infuse the mulled spices flavour with the flavour profile of Pinot wines. Additional water or sugar may be added according to taste. Brandy and other spirits may also be added to increase the alcohol content.
Grenache doesn’t have much of a profile, unlike the previous varieties of grapes. In the past its often been used in basic blends and fortified wine production. However, in recent years the ripe cherry, spicy and raspberry characteristics are being recognized and appreciated by winemakers and connoisseurs.
- Style & Region – Grenache vines typically produce buds early and ripen late, making it suited to warmer climates namely South Australia’s Barossa Valley & McLaren Vale. It’s a vigorous variety producing abundant fruit, which is often blended with other varieties of reds eg. GSM ‘grenache, shiraz & merlot’.
- Character – Grenache wines range from medium weight to rich and full flavoured, processing ripe, cherry, spicy and raspberry scented characteristics.
- Mulled wine recipe profile – 1 – 2 hours of brewing time is adequate to infuse the mulled spices with the flavour profile of grenache wines. Additional water or sugar may be added according to taste. Brandy and other spirits may also be added to increase the alcohol content.
Other notable wine varieties
Lambrusco / Dolce Rosso – This is an Italian variety of grape commonly sold in 4L casks and dank by backpackers. However, due to its natural sweetness, fruity & citrusy flavour, it can be heated with spices for 30 mins to create a pleasant & mildly alcoholic mulled wine.
Merlot is the third most cultivated variety of red grapes behind Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon. It has a softer and more fruity flavour profile making it suitable for mulled wine recipes.
Best wine Mulled Wine - FAQ
How to mulled wine?
The longer the spices brew with the wine, the more spiced your wine will become.
Top Tip: 6-8 hours in a slow cooker, will give you a dark & cloudy mulled wine – that your friends or family will smell as they walk in the front door!
Does mulled wine have alcohol?
Mulled wine is generally made using alcoholic wine. But if your looking to make a non alcoholic versions you can choose juice or a non alcoholic variety of wine.
How can I increase or reduce the alcohol content?
- Adding water or boiling wine will reduce its alcohol content.
- Adding port or spirits (once the mulled wine is brewed) will increase the alcohol contact.
Top Tip: Brewing in a slow cooker on the low setting, it’s the ideal temperature.
How much extra sugar do you want to use?
Most mulled wine recipes call for lots of sugar, so make the healthy choice and use brown or palm sugar.
Top Tip: If you don’t want to use more sugar, choose a sweeter wine or add sweet juice
Best wine mulled wine – more information.