Winter is a time to cozy up with hearty meals paired with bold, flavorful wines. There’s just something more special about prepping a roast or firing up a skillet while sipping on a glass of delicious vino when it’s freezing outside.

Here are my favorite winter wine pairings that are sure to warm up you and your taste buds even on the coldest of nights.

Chardonnay & Pot Pies

Chardonnay pairs equally well with chicken pot pielobster pot pie, and chicken Wellington as with luxurious crab.

The rich, buttery notes from the oak aging of the chardonnay complement the subtle flavors of creamy chicken and lobster without compromising the delicate, flaky pastry crust. Chardonnay is also a perfect match with a variety of crab, such as wild Alaskan snow crab, King crab, and Dungeness, as its silky texture gives way to the firm but flaky crustacean with each bite. Pair the warm crab with melted butter or try it cold with a little cocktail sauce, horseradish, and some lemon.

Winter wine pairings with multiple pot pies on a counter.

Pinot Noir & Salmon

Next on our winter wine pairing adventure is the regal duo of pinot noir and wild salmon — one of my favorite red wine and seafood pairings.

There is no better companion for this fatty and flavorful fish than a silky, elegant pinot noir. The wine’s fresh and ripe red fruit flavors and earthy undertones bring out the natural richness, while its bright acidity helps cleanse the palate of the rich texture from the salmon, creating a truly harmonious sensation of flavors. If you want bigger and bolder flavors, get your hands on a bottle of reserve pinot noir and pair it with the equally impressive, and expressive, Pacific King salmon.

Winter wine pairings with plates of salmon and a bottle of pinot noir.

Cabernet Sauvignon & Steak

Now it’s time to fire up the grill, throw a skillet on, and turn up the heat with steaks and cabernet sauvignon. Whether you prefer the tender texture of a New York strip or the juiciness of a savory bone-in ribeye, a proper bottle of cabernet sauvignon is guaranteed to elevate your steak experience.

The wine’s firm tannins and dark fruit flavors of black currant and blackberry complement the rich proteins while taming the charred bits and cleansing your palate for the next bite. This cabernet would also work with a porterhouse, but if you prefer straight filet mignon, consider this your next bottle.

Several cuts of cooked steak on a wooden cutting board with French fries and rub.

Royal Crest Red Blend & Roasts

Last but certainly not least is the versatile and velvety Royal Crest, a Bordeaux-style blend that pairs with a range of winter roasts.

This wine, with a flavor profile of blackberry, cedar, and vanilla, is about more than just fruit, making it the perfect companion for a classic beef Wellington. The secondary notes from the wine blend seamlessly with the mushroom duxelles and puff pastry, creating a delectably complex combination of flavors I suggest taking your time with. The Royal Crest is also my choice to pair with a prime rib roast, as its array of secondary characteristics acts as another layer of seasoning without compromising the juicy, beefy flavors we expect from prime rib.

Winter wine pairings with mini beef Wellingtons on a platter.

Harry & David wines

David A. Cohen left his former life as a publicist and literary agent to pursue his passion for wine, food, and travel. He is a Level 2 Certified Sommelier and a graduate of the International Culinary Center Intensive Sommelier Training course, and maybe a little too obsessed with wine and food pairing.

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