Top Five Red Wines for Winter

I stand by the fact that white wines are great for winter, but I also know that many of you feel passionately about red wine—especially in the colder months. For you, I'm saying "if you can't beat them, join them" and embracing dark-skinned grapes as a winter staple. But if we're going to go hard on red wine as the temperature drops, let's do it right! Keep reading to learn which red wines work best to beat the chill.

My Favorite Red Wines for Winter

In addition to warm berry flavors accented by vanilla and baking spices, Grenache tends to have medium to high alcohol by volume. In fact, most of the Grenaches I've been trying lately have been around 15-16%! Medium-high/high ABVs are perfect for winter when you don't have anywhere to go other than your cozy bed.

Recommended: Shatter 2013 Languedoc-Roussillon Grenache
Alcohol by volume or ABV (n): Standard measurement of alcoholic beverages. Medium alcohol wines range from 11.5% to 13.5%.
This recommendation is a little biased because I've been really into Zins this winter. Please note that I am absolutely not talking about White Zinfandel, which is sweet, pink wine. (As always, you do you, but at least save that stuff for summer.) Zinfandel, known as Primitivo in Italy, can range from red berries to blackberries. I'm currently loving bottles from Lodi for their blackberry jam, vanilla, cocoa, and spice flavors.

Recommended: Angry Bunch 2014 Lodi Zinfandel

Cabernet Sauvignon
Honest moment: Cabernet Sauvignon is my wine Achilles' heel. I just feel... indifferent toward it on its own (but love blends like Bordeaux). It is my sister and brother-in-law's favorite though, so I'll sometimes drink it with them to keep my quota up. (Gotta maintain a well-rounded perspective!) My personal feelings aside, it is a great wine for winter because it is full-bodied, dark, and savory.

Recommended: Decoy 2015 Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon (one I actually like!)
TIP: Red wine tasting a bit tight? Decant it for an hour to open up its flavors.
Languedoc-Roussillon Blends
You can read all about these ultra-cozy wines in this post.

Recommended: Jeff Carrel 2014 Languedoc Les Darons

Nero d'Avola
This is probably my favorite Italian red grape. Packed with black cherry, black plum, cola, anise, and tobacco flavors, this wine calls Sicily its home. Please don't be scared by the unique flavors—I promise they're what makes this incredible. Especially the anise! Uncork a bottle to enjoy with pizza and thank me later.

Recommended: Poggio Anima 2012 Asmodeus Nero d'Avola

Help me like Cabernet Sauvignon! Drop me a comment with your favorite.