Two years ago, a harrowing blizzard hit the Wine Enthusiast offices, and rather than following our regularly scheduled editorial calendar, we instead spent the afternoon rounding up bottles to create one of our favorite lists to date: 10 Big, Heavy Reds to Drink While You Hide Under a Blanket.
Well, here in the northeastern U.S., the weather is freezing again, salt is back on the pavement and we find ourselves again preparing for the holidays by trying to find the biggest, boldest, heaviest, warming red wines to drink under a blanket over the coming week.
Recommended Red Wines to Stay Warm
Frank Cornelissen 2017 Munjebel Nerello Mascalese (Terre Siciliane); $39, 97 points. Mixing power and finesse, this full-bodied red opens with intriguing aromas suggesting smoke, graphite, truffle, molten chocolate and wild black-skinned berry. On the structured, enveloping palate, velvety tannins wrap around blackberry jam, crushed black raspberry, licorice and grilled herbs, while a mineral note lingers on the finish. Tangy acidity lifts the finish. Drink now–2030. Zev Rovine Selections. —Kerin O’Keefe
Delas Frères 2016 La Landonne (Côte Rôtie); $280, 97 points. Sun-baked garrigue and smoky notes of iron and earth accent intensely ripe black cherry and cassis in this wine. Made from 100% Syrah, it’s a hulking powerhouse of black-fruit flavors but finessed by firm acidity and fine, integrated tannins. Stunning already it should improve through 2036 and hold further. Maisons Marques & Domaines USA. Cellar Selection. —Anna Lee C. Iijima
Anaba 2016 Bismark Vineyard Syrah (Moon Mountain District Sonoma County); $48, 94 points. From a high-elevation site in the Mayacamas Mountains, this bold full-bodied red is defined in black and white pepper, garrigue and blueberry, with a subtle underlying hint of vanilla. Seamless, strong and sensual, it is lush on the palate with an enviable and lasting bite of grip and structure. —Virginie Boone
Avarizza 2015 Reserva Malbec (Mendoza); $30, 94 points. An opaque color and ripe blackberry aromas combine forces to create a bold opening. A lush palate overflows with blackberry and chocolate but shows plenty of levity. Elegance among heavyweight Malbecs isn’t common, but this newcomer has it. Drink through 2028. Vida Wines, LLC. Editors’ Choice. —Michael Schachner
Ken Wright 2015 Bryce Vineyard Pinot Noir (Ribbon Ridge); $63, 94 points. Bright red fruits, sappy acids and citrus highlights combine here. The supporting tannins are ripe and toasty, with a slightly grainy mouthfeel. Suggestions of coffee grounds add further interest to the finish, which expands gracefully as it breathes. This is a wine still pulling itself together and clearly built to expand and improve with further bottle age. Drink now through 2030. Cellar Selection. —Paul Gregutt
Penfolds 2015 St. Henri Shiraz (South Australia); $99, 94 points. Aged for 12 months in over 50-year-old large wooden vats, St. Henri shows refreshing little oak when compared to some of the brand’s other premium reds. It’s still unmistakably Penfolds, though: rich and polished. The nose is a downright pretty mix of sun-ripened blueberries, mocha, violets, black olives and touches of fresh eucalyptus leaves and Middle Eastern spices. There’s power on the palate but elegance too. Silky with an even-handed grip of savory fine tannins, the fruit is ripe and plush and set up for aging. Drink now, with decanter and protein at hand, or cellar through 2029. Treasury Wine Estates. —Christina Pickard
Carol Shelton 2016 Cox Vineyard Reserve Old Vine Zinfandel (Mendocino County); $28, 93 points. This big and bold wine finds a great balance between ripeness and structure, so it’s packed full of fruit and oak spices without being sweet and cloying. Blackberry and boysenberry flavors are shaded by hints of vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon while a creamy texture carries everything along through a lingering finish. Editors’ Choice. —Jim Gordon
Château Tessendey 2016 Fronsac; $20, 92 points. Owned by a family long associated with Fronsac and Saint-Émilion, this wine is ripe, sumptuously textured while still developing. Generous, bold tannins match well with the black fruits. Drink the wine from 2021. Frederick Wildman & Sons, Ltd. —Roger Voss
Gramercy 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon (Columbia Valley); $50, 92 points. Pleasing aromas of cocoa, thyme, dark coffee, graphite and cherry lead to elegant, lip-smacking flavors that still carry a sense of richness. Refined, subtle tannins back it up. Coffee notes linger on the finish. The balance is spot on, and it brings an unabashed sense of deliciousness. Editors’ Choice. —Sean Sullivan
Santa Carolina 2012 Herencia Carmenère (Peumo); $100, 92 points. Baked berry aromas are accompanied by spicy oak and rooty hints. A brawny palate is in good shape but boosted by tartaric acidity. Blackberry, black-cherry and coffee flavors are oak-aided, however this is surprisingly short on the finish, which often happens with ripe red wines like this. Drink through 2025. Carolina Wine Brands USA. —M.S.