Wine Lists

10 wines for winter

By Halliday Promotion

15 Jun, 2023

Here are 10 wines that we like to describe as 'winter warmers'.

We know winter can be long, but it's made better by drinking great wine. Pinot noir, shiraz, cabernet sauvignon, zinfandel, and of course, a fortified wine – below are 10 wines perfect for those cool, winter nights.

2019 Kaesler Old Bastard Shiraz

2019 Kaesler Old Bastard Shiraz

Dense deep purple with vibrant youthful hues. Dark blackberry and blackcurrant fruit, with hints of chocolate and sweet spice. Full bodied, yet elegant. The brilliant 2019 vintage has delivered a timeless and generous Old Bastard. The palate opens with an abundance of bright dark berries and tight chalky tannins with layers of mocha, coffee and chocolate. As always, the wine is completely in balance. The finish is long and firm. Although this wine is drinking well now, the tannins will continue to soften with age. The gift that keeps on giving.

Winemaker Tim Dolan says: Planted in 1893, the Old Bastard patch has now survived nearly 130 winters – so we can't think of a better wine to enjoy in the cooler months. The brilliant 2019 vintage has delivered a timeless and generous Old Bastard Shiraz. This wine is brooding and requires serious contemplation in front of a warm fire.

H. How is this wine best enjoyed?
TD. Enjoy with reverse-seared rib-eye steak and a generous serving of roast vegetables. The 2019 OB demands aeration. Ensure the wine is decanted and serve in a RIEDEL Extreme Shiraz glass. Or better still, wait 10 years and watch this evolve to become one of the greatest Old Bastards ever made.

RRP $300 | Drink to 2039 |

 2021 Clarnette Grampians Shiraz

2021 Clarnette Grampians Shiraz

A complex wine of briar and a touch of marmalade from the viognier lifts the aromatics to another level. Rising above the nose are blueberry, spice and some violets with black fruits that explode onto the palate with suppleness and softness of its lithe tannins.

Winemaker and owner Leigh Clarnette says: Winter is about balance and this wine has it in spades. The Clarnette Grampians Shiraz exhibits so many flavours, and can match so many foods – charcuteries, roasted meats and is generally just good drinking.

H. How is this wine best enjoyed?
LC. This wine must be served at 18 degrees, which allows a friendlier wine to appear. I like to find a 3–5 year old vintage of this wine and decant just before we serve at dinner. The smell engulfs the room and the invitation to be savoured is intense. That warmth within the wine makes for supple drinking enjoyment.

RRP $33 | Drink to 2033 |

Mosquito Hill Wines 2015 Pinot Noir

2015 Mosquito Hill Wines Pinot Noir

This eight-year-old pinot noir has matured beautifully with aromas of dark red fruit, leather and sandalwood. The palate is complex, displaying dried red fruit, black cherries and earthy mushroom with a slight tomato leaf spice. The wine is elegantly weighted with great length and polished tannins.

Winemakers Glyn Jamieson and Daniel Franklin say: Pinot noir is always a classic choice. The 2015 Pinot Noir is quite typical for Mosquito Hill Wines, with aromas and flavours in the red and black fruit spectrum. The wine was 40 per cent whole bunch and aged in French oak for 11 months (30 per cent new), resulting in an elegantly weighted wine with a beautiful acidity and length – making it the perfect medium-bodied winter warmer.

H. How is this wine best enjoyed?
GJ & DF.
 This wine is best enjoyed with family and friends. It will match well with anything from barbecued fish and chicken to a Sunday roast lamb in front of a cozy fire.

RRP $36 | Drink to 2028 |

 2020 Kaesler Cabernet Sauvignon

2020 Kaesler Cabernet Sauvignon

Red and purple with a dark centre. Complex aromas of blackberry, plum, kirsch, vanilla and lavender combine with hints of spicy sandalwood oak. Full bodied, the rich and intense black fruit flavours meld into the chalky tannins. The complex structure of this wine suggests it will age for many years.

Winemaker Tim Dolan says: Cabernet and winter always have a wonderful appeal. At Kaesler we are blessed to have access to old vine cabernet parcels, along with plantings of new clonal material from Bordeaux and Margaret River. This combination makes it the perfect blend of dark, varietal fruit that begs to be drunk throughout the winter months.

H. How is this wine best enjoyed?
TD. The dark, rich and an intense fruit profile means you can match the 2020 to almost any roast you throw at it. Occasionally through winter, it is not uncommon for one of the Kaesler team to roast a leg of lamb in the Weber to enjoy over a long Friday lunch – we suggest you do the same and pair with our Kaesler Cabernet.

RRP $45 | Drink to 2035 |

2021 Dogrock Reserve Shiraz

2021 Dogrock Reserve Shiraz

Following hand harvest in late March, the fruit was gently crushed into an open fermenter and left to ferment using wild yeast only. No additives, tannins or ferment aids were used across the winemaking process. The must was hand plunged for several days and then gently pumped over as required before basket pressed after nine days. The resulting wine has spice, black fruits with a hint of licorice. The palate is full bodied with a succulent mid palate leading to a complex and elegant finish. Matured for 14 months with 60 per cent new French oak, the wine is an outstanding example of single vineyard wines from the Pyrenees. 

Winemakers and owners Allen and Andrea Hart say: The 2021 season was a ripper for yield and quality. Our 2021 Dogrock Reserve Shiraz is classic Pyrenees – the bright fruit, long and balanced palate, combined with single forest Francais French oak, make a compelling wine for a winter night.

H. How is this wine best enjoyed?
AH & AH. We suggest pairing the 2021 with a dish such as lamb shanks or roast, but a nice cassoulet would also be appropriate. I would decant such a young wine up to 24 hours before drinking soon – that time will reduce as the wine ages. Serve at around 18–20 degrees. 

RRP $40 | Drink to 2035 |

Acres Wilde durif

2018 Acres Wild VP Durif Shiraz

Black and blue fruits up front and licorice, too. Chocolate adds to the palate, which is balanced by Brandy spirit but not overdone. 17.3 per cent alcohol.

Winemaker Chris Beach says: Fortified wines are a real winter warmer by virtue of their make up. Full-bodied wine fortified with Brandy spirit is always going to energise. It's perfect for those winter evenings in front of the fire or when out camping.

H. How is this wine best enjoyed?
CB. This wine is always going to be a winner at the end of a meal, especially with a fruit or chocolate pudding (even a sticky date). You can also pour the VP over ice cream as a topping. And of course, it pairs with a cheese platter.

RRP $18 (500ml) | Drink to 2028 |

2015 Cosmo Wines Yarra valley Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

2015 Cosmo Wines Yarra Valley Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

Complex, black olives, dried herbs, spices and toasty oak on the nose. On the palate well-integrated fruit, spice and toasty French oak combine with fine, lingering tannins giving good mouthfeel and length of flavour. (95 points, James Halliday Cabernet Challenge; 92 points, Halliday Wine Companion.)

Winemaker and owner Lindsay Corby says: I describe this wine as a Saturday night wine, when there has been time to cook a relaxed hearty meal, and there is time to enjoy and savour the wine without rushing, or concern for the day-to-day issues of the world. 

H. How is this wine best enjoyed?
LC. As this wine begins to age, it will benefit from a gentle decant. Warming to 18–20 degrees will highlight the wine aromas, as will the use of a wide-bowled glass. The 2015 is best served with a friend, enjoyed with rich, slow-cooked meats, and a tasty cheddar.  

RRP $65 | Drink to 2032 | 

2018 Zinfandel

2018 Cape Mentelle Zinfandel

Deep, bright magenta with dark plum edges. The aromatics are bright and complex with dark chocolate covered black cherry, toasted coconut, black forest berries and fig. The palate bursts forth with ripe juicy black fruits of cherry and plum, with streaks of raspberry coulis entwined with fresh tobacco and mocha notes. The tannins fan out framing the fruit with good integration carrying mid palate sweetness through to a long, fine, yet firm finish. The subtle smoke and toast of the oak give a dark forest floor character. 

Winemaker Eloise Jarvis says: Our cult classic the Cape Mentelle Zinfandel is part of our heritage, with the vines established in 1974. A lot of love, sweat and tears goes into perfectly ripening this fickle grape, and the resulting wine from the exceptional 2018 vintage is rich and generous, with ‘Christmas in July’ vibes that are perfect for sharing with family and friends.

H. How is this wine best enjoyed?
EJ. We suggest matching this wine with grilled, thick-cut lamb chops and rosemary-smashed potatoes, or alternatively a fresh homemade spaghetti topped with slow-cooked eggplant, olive and capers. Decant and share with friends while sitting by a roaring fire.

RRP $65 | Drink to 2033 |

2018 TarraWarra Estate J Block Shiraz

2018 TarraWarra Estate J Block Shiraz

The combination of site, vintage and clonal selection has produced a wine which epitomises cool-climate shiraz. A co-ferment of the shiraz, with two per cent viognier, adds lifted floral notes to the fruit perfume. The palate has flesh and structure with lovely definition.

Winemakers of this shiraz Clare Halloran and Adam McCallum say: The perfect winter wine is all about the balance – fruit, tannin and acidity. A beautiful wine on its own or paired with your favourite warm dish. Very vibrant red fruit notes of cinnamon and pepper adorn the aroma. The palate shows trademark elegance of the Yarra Valley, captured beautifully in a robe of bright red fruits and subtle tannins. 

H. How is this wine best enjoyed?
TW. The 2018 TarraWarra Estate J Block Shiraz pairs perfectly with slow-cooked lamb or a delicious piece of taleggio cheese.

RRP $40 | Drink to 2028 |

2021 Kaesler The Bogan Shiraz

2021 Kaesler The Bogan Shiraz

Bright, deep crimson with a purple hue. Dark plum and blueberry, with hints of charcuterie and char from the integrated oak. Classic Bogan in style, full bodied, dense and rich, with flavours of dark fruits, layering the palate, finishing soft with pure, fine tannins.

Winemaker Tim Dolan says: Barossa shiraz has always been associated with the cooler months of the year and the 2021 Kaesler Bogan Shiraz is no exception. With rich plum and licorice flavours, we recommend taking a bottle on the next camping adventure. Pull up a chair in front of an open fire and pour yourself a glass (or two!).

H. How is this wine best enjoyed?
TD. Decanting is recommended, but not critical. Always pour into a large glass to ensure you can fully take in the layers of dark chocolate, blueberry fruit and toasty, charcuterie notes from the oak. This wine has amazing freshness from an outstanding vintage, however it will continue to evolve in to something special over the next 20 years.

RRP $60 | Drink to 2041 |