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Holiday wines

Mulled Wine: A Christmas Holiday Favorite

Spiced Mulled Wine

Mulled wine is a Christmas tradition. This tradition dates to the 16th century.  Prior to becoming a Christmas tradition, mulled wine can be traced to the Roman empire.

Mulled (pronounced mold) wine is a heated wine. Red wine was original served heated with mixed spices, lemon and honey.  Served heated to make the cold weather more manageable. Spices were added to promote good health and wellness. Honey and floral flavors hid the taste of bad wine.  Today, there are variations of mulled wine from red and white wines to sangria blends. mulled wine

Selecting Wines

You do not have to use an expensive wine.  Actually, if a wine was re-gifted to you, that may be the best wine to use as your base. You need a hearty wine like a Syrah, Malbec or Zinfandel.  Do not use light or medium body wine like a Pinot Noir. Mulled wine can be made with white wines also.   Riesling or Chenin Blanc are great white wines.  You want an aromatic white wines with low acid.

Preparing Mulled Wine

You want to make sure you do not burn off the alcohol. Heat slowly to a maximum temperature of 160 degrees. Keep a thermometer near.  The mixture loses alcohol when the temperature reaches 167 degrees. A crock pot is the best method to warm your concoction. Keep the setting on low.


Quick and Easy Recipe

Do you want to enjoy this holiday traditional without the measuring and mixing? Lt. Blender Wine Freezer makes a mulled wine mixture. wine-freezerYou only need three ingredients.  Add a bottle wine and water to the bag. (I prefer to forgo the water and add two bottles of wine). Shake the bag mixing all the ingredients, pour into pot and warm.  Garnish with cinnamon sticks.  You can purchase Wine Freezer at Amazon.com. Easy!!


Traditional Recipe

If you are up for the challenge, try this more traditional recipe. This recipe is courtesy of Kitchen Confidante.  I really love this recipe.




1 750-ml bottle red wine (perferrably a Maryland wine)

1 cup sugar

1 cup apple juice

2 lemons, cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds

2 clementines, cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds

3 cinnamon sticks

2 whole nutmeg

1 teaspoon whole cloves

1 teaspoon whole allspice



In a heavy saucepan or slow cooker, combine the wine, sugar, apple juice, fruit and spices. Warm the beverage slowly over low heat without boiling and allow the flavors to come together for at least one hour. Strain before serving, if you wish. Enjoy warm!

We have more mulled wine recipes on Vino 301’s Pinterest page.  Check out our page. You can also attend our Holiday Wine tasting class on December 10 at Old Line Wine Spirit and Bistro in Beltsville, MD.

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Let The Events in Your Life Build Your Wine Collection

Your Life Will Inspire Your Wine Collection

Collecting wine can be a serious and expensive hobby.  Collectors spend limitless hours researching to determine the perfect wine to add to their collection.  Not to mention, thousands and thousands of dollars are spent purchasing wine and building the proper storage facility to protect their wine investment.  What do you do if you do not what to dedicate limitless time and money, but you want to want a well stock collection?  Start building your wine collection by the occasions in your life.  Allow the events in your life to dictate what you include in your collection.  Here is an easy guide to build your home collection.

Wine Collection


After Work, Your Everyday Wine

There is nothing like hearing the cork pop, pouring the first glass of wine, and taking that long-awaited sip after a busy day.  You make sure this wine is always handy. You pick up a bottle or two when you are running errands.  This is your go to wine… you enjoy it on a regular basis.  It pairs with many of your dinner options or enjoyed solo.   Believe or not you have already started your collection.  Having a few bottles of your go to wine is a good place to start.  Not every wine collection began with a rare bottle of Chateau-Neuf-Du-Pape.  It begins with, “oh I like this wine and I want to get some more so I can continue to enjoy it. “


Girlfriends Night / Company is Coming

Your girlfriends decided to have an impromptu wine and dish session at your house.  Maybe your husband invites a few friends over for dinner.  For these occasions, your collection should include wines that are pleasing to most palates.  They will complement the food you serve.

Avoid wines that have these extreme characteristics:

  • White wines with high acidity and/or high alcohol, such as Soave, some Pinot Gris,
  • Dry red wines with high tannin and/or high alcohol like big flavorful California Cabernet Sauvignon, earthy and full body Malbec, or
  • Sweet and fruit wines, like Mascato.

Your collection should include full body white wines, like an unoaked Chardonnay from Mendoza.  A regional Viognier or a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. These wines are medium to full body which will please most palates. You can find these wines at most price points.

Merlot and Pinot Noir are medium reds you should consider.  If you prefer old world wines, an Italian Chianti Classico and Spanish Tempranillo are good to add to your collection.

Bordeaux or Bordeaux style wines are excellent to share with others.  Offering finely crafted blend elevates your wine profile and takes the guess work out of selecting single varietal.  You can never go wrong with blends.


Holidays / Special Occasions 

Sparkling wines are a win-win.  Always keep a few bottles in your chiller.  Sparkling not only make a celebration special but it pairs with almost any food. 

Rosés are also very versatile.  Still or sparkling Rosés complement most meals and desserts.  Rosés are no longer considered the transition wine between winter and summer.  They can be served with Thanksgiving dinner as well as Easter brunch.

Include a dessert wine like a Port to complete your collection.  Ports are perfect after dinner drink or to serve with dessert.  If Port or Port-style wines invokes images of old men in smoking jackets and cigars, try late harvest Rieslings or Vidal Blancs.  They range from semi-dry to sweet.  They can be served with dessert or a cheese plate.

Remember let the events in your life inspire your wine collection.  You will build great memories and good collection at the same time.

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