Wine Tour Articles

Get Cozy This Winter …..


Warm Up with Winter Wine Tastings in Maryland

Imagine a Winter Wonderland of glistening trees and shimmering landscapes. Vineyards showcase their diverse personalities going from golden and red in the Autumn to almost bare bones before returning to their beautiful green in the Spring. Most everyone enjoys visiting the wineries in the Summer and Autumn seasons. Winter is actually a great time to visit with the Maryland Winery Operators, Winemakers and tasting room managers who are much more available to chat during the slower colder months.

A Winter Wine Tasting Tour can be a perfect escape from those gloomy, dreary and frigid Winter days and bring a hearty flavor to your wine tasting experience.

Winter Wine Tastings are Wonderful

Here are some benefits to a Maryland Wintery Wine Tasting Tour

  • Tasting Rooms are much less crowded
  • Operators, Winemaker and Tasting Room Managers are more available to chat
  • Great way to spend a cold winter day
  • Perfect for a Holiday Get Together with Family or Friends
Heat it up!

 Some wines even taste great warm! Try it out with a swirl of cinnamon.

Winter Wine Suggestions and Pairings



  1. Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet Sauvignon is a great winter wine, possessing a rich, bold, fruity flavor. Its notes of plum, cassis, blackberry and even coffee, caramel and herbs are flavors that taste even better when it’s cold outside. It is aged in oak barrels which contributes to its complex flavors. Cabernet Sauvignon can be described as sharp, dry, sweet and smooth and is a great red wine for beginners.

Pairs well with: Steak and other beef dishes, holiday roasts, mashed potatoes, mushrooms and cheese plates with sharp and aged cheeses.

  1. Petite Sirah
This rich and flavorful wine contains notes of dark fruits, coffee and dark chocolate, reminiscent of yummy holiday treats. It has a high tannin content and a dark, rich color. This bold wine pairs well with bold, flavorful foods and can even be used in sauces and reductions.

Pairs well with: Savory stews, potatoes, braised meats, spicy foods and strong, dry cheeses.

  1. Shiraz
Also known as “Syrah,” this popular winter wine is bold and flavorful. While some Shirazes can be described as “lighter,” many varieties of Shiraz lean toward the “savory” side, with notes of cured meats, blueberry, coffee and smoke. It has a beautiful opaque magenta color due to its high tannin content and a clean, velvety finish. Shiraz is available in both New World, containing more fruity and spicy flavors, and Old World, being more earthy and acidic, varieties. Consider adding a variety or two to your rotation this winter.

Pairs well with: Lamb, grilled meats, seasoned mushrooms, spicy stir-fries and hard aged cheeses.

  1. Valpolicella
Developed by adding wine to casks that have grape skins leftover from the production of Amarone, Valpolicella wines are full-bodied, rich in tannins and perfect for winter wine-worthy occasions. There are several variations of 4.jpgValpolicella including Classico, which contains the flavors of strawberry, raspberry, sour cherry and spice, and the Ripasso which possesses notes of plum, espresso, nutmeg, cocoa and spice. Amarone and Recioto are two other variations that are even richer and sweeter.

Pairs well with: Red meat, mushrooms, poultry, grilled vegetables, seafood stews, salmon and other foods with rich, savory flavors.

To many wine enthusiasts, there are few things better than a hearty, deep red wine in the middle of winter




Winter White Wines and Pairings

While many people associate white wine with warmer weather, it shouldn’t be passed over as an appropriate winter wine. White wines pair well with many winter comfort foods, and can even be included as an ingredient in your favorite fondue, braised or slow-cooker meal. Winter is the perfect time for sipping full-bodied white wines. The higher acidity level found in the winter whites below helps to cut through rich and heavy winter foods. White wines are best served at temperatures between 45 and 55 degrees F and decanted to bring out their aromas.



  1. Chenin Blanc
While Chenin Blancs are often used in context with the word “wooly,” they’re perfect for cozying up with some comfort food, clothes and relaxation. Who couldn’t use more of that? Chenin Blancs contain fruity flavors of apple, pear and passionfruit along with ginger, honey and jasmine and oaky flavors of butterscotch and nutmeg. They can range in variety from fresh and fruity to sweet and oaky and even sparkling varieties, making them a versatile white wine choice for all tastes.

Pairs well with: Sweet and sour cuisine, salads, vegetable dishes, creamy chicken dishes, rich fish, aged cheeses and souffles.

  1. Oaked Chardonnay
Buttery, flavorful and rich can be qualities that are craved during the winter. Many oaked Chardonnays bring just that. Try a “toasted” variety for a new tasting experience that might be worthy of regular winter enjoyment. Oaked Chardonnays boast flavors of caramel, vanilla and butter with a little citrus. Their dry and fruity taste make them the perfect complement to savory and filling winter foods.

Pairs well with: Thick creamy chowders, mashed potatoes, creamy pasta sauces, chicken, turkey, lobster, sea bass and warm, dense breads.

  1. Pinot Gris

Also called “Pinot Grigio” this popular white wine possesses a heavier texture than other white wines while maintaining a light and refreshing feel. Earthy and sweet, Pinot Gris possesses notes of lemons, white nectarines, jicama, clove and ginger. Varieties made in the Alsace region possess more powerful winter flavors than those produced in Italy, which tend to be lighter and crisper.

Pairs well with: Meat stews and other crockpot meals, smoked meats, cream sauces, flaky white fish, mussels and oysters.