Guidelines on Selecting Wines
- Making mulled wine involves heating up the wine and adding several ingredients. Heat will damage most of the subtle notes of a red wine. Any remaining subtlety will surely be overpowered by the addition of the sugar, citrus and spices, so don't use your most expensive wine to make mulled wine. Your guests won't know the difference
- Some recipes do persist in suggesting certain wines for mulling; celebrity chef Jaime Oliver recommends a Chianti, while other recipes call for heavy, dark red wines. Red Zinfandels, for example, often have notes that complement a recipe that calls for raisins. A Cabernet Sauvignon, with notes of black cherry, might also go well with heavy meals.
Another School of Thought
- Beppi Crosariol, a columnist for the "Toronto Globe and Mail" recommends wines that are light in color--an inky dark red wine will produce a mulled wine that is visually unappealing. Crosariol also notes that wines that are high in acidity can be attractive selections, because heat can soften acidic wines. Crosariol recommends a Côtes du Rhône from France, tempranillo from Spain or montepulciano d'Abruzzo from Italy.
- To make mulled wine, stud one orange with between 15 and 30 cloves. Pour two 750 ml. bottles of red wine into a pot. Add the studded orange, with two sticks of cinnamon, four orange quarters, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 tsp. nutmeg and 1 tsp. ginger. Turn heat to medium. Heat the wine gently, stirring to ensure that sugars resting on the bottom don't burn. When steam begins rising from the wine, turn it to the lowest possible setting and serve. Add additional wine and sugar to taste if new guests show up.