Sunday, December 20, 2009

What kind of wine to mull

I've been looking out for a wine to mull and think I've found the perfect candidate. Not that it looks or sounds promising. It's called La Maison de Michel and is basically the sort of wine you'd pick up if you went to the local co-op in a French village with a 5 litre 'cubi' and filled up at the pump. It's only 11.5%, quite dry but sufficiently full-flavoured to carry a fair amount of spicing and costs just £10 for 2 bottles in Tesco - or slightly less if you buy a case of six.

For one bottle* I'd add a small glass of inexpensive ruby port (like Vintage character), a couple of tablespoons of soft brown sugar, a cinnamon stick, a piece of star anise, a few cloves and a finely pared slice of orange peel, bring the whole lot slowly to the boil then immediately take the pan off the heat and infuse the spices for 20-30 minutes. Then remove the spices and reheat it carefully without boiling. Makes around 6 cups or glasses.

Other good bets for mulling are inexpensive unoaked Portuguese and Spanish reds (oak aged wines can taste bitter when they're mulled). And as with with cooking with wine never mull a wine you wouldn't be prepared to drink on it's own!

What sort of wine do you like to mull? Do you have a favourite recipe?

* If you use more than one bottle increase the amount of port and sugar proportionately but you don't need to double or treble the spices.


  1. i mull montepulciano d'abruzzo. it's my fave mulling wine. x

  2. Similar flavour profile, I'd say. Medium-bodied, not too tannic. My wine is a blend of Carignan and Grenache from the co-op at Mount Tauch in the Languedoc.

  3. I've been mulling the cheapest red I could find in Tescos this week, Marques de Leon (from the label I'm guessing it's an unoaked Spanish red, as you've recommended above - I'm totally ignorant about wine). It's been lovely, but I do add lots of sugar. Much more than your recommended 2 tbspns. Also cinnamon, cloves, a cup of orange juice and a sliced orange.

    I also make a non-alcoholic version using 1l cranberry juice and 1l apple juice in place of a bottle of wine, only 2 tbspns sugar but orange juice and spices as above. Very useful for drivers and those needing a clear head eg for carol service choristers.

  4. Well the port makes it quite sweet, vicarswife. If I didn't add that I'd add more sugar. Orange is a nice addition I agree and love your teetotal version. I might try that. Have you tried Norfolk Punch?

  5. I've not tried Norfolk Punch - not heard of it before, in fact. I googled and it sounds interesting. Do you drink it warm?

  6. Yes, it's a non-alcoholic punch. You can buy it in health food shops. Nice if you just want a small amount. Obviously making one yourself cheaper for larger numbers.