The Wine Advent: 6 December: Wines for Mulling
The Wine Advent is a series of 25 posts in the run up to Christmas day where I will give you an insight into my favourite festive wines. Follow me on Twitter or Like my Facebook page to ensure you don’t miss opening up the advent!
Mulled wine is a festive favourite. While you can buy it ready-made from most supermarkets or even just put some mulling spice teabags in a bottle of plonk, there’s a great deal of fun in making your own.
The first thing to do is pick a good bottle of wine. Don’t go for plonk.
If you want full bodied, spicy, and stuffed with hard-hitting flavours, then you need a new world Shiraz. Make sure you buy one that’s medium bodied or medium-full so you still get that attractive smoothness after heating it up. You can buy one of these lovely wines for as little as £6 per bottle. I would recommend De Bortoli DB Family Selection Shiraz (£5.59 – £7.49, Waitrose Cellar). Infuse this particularly spicy red with bitter orange, clove and cinnamon.
On the other hand, if you’re a fruity-sweet wine lover then buy yourself a Pinot Noir or a Beaujolais (often a Gamay grape wine). Both these have a luxuriously smooth texture – even at around £4-£8 – but it’s the cherry and red berry fruits that really sell this wine; they’re frankly delicious. Try Cuvée des Vignerons Beaujolais (£6.99, Waitrose Cellar). Infuse these wines with nutmeg, ginger, lemon slices and sweet tangerine. Or, if you fancy something particularly different, add in some blackberries or a drop of Cassis liqueur – that gives it something very, very different.
Once you’ve bought your wine, pour a couple of bottles generously into a pan and bring to a simmer, adding in your spices and fruits. A top tip is to taste as you go so you get the best flavours in there. When it’s warm enough to your taste and the flavours are right, turn off the heat, leave for a minute or two and then serve.