It’s the time of year where cold nights mean fireplaces going—here are bottles to maximize cozy winter feelings.
It’s a hard quality to quantify, coziness, but the tradition of sitting in front of a fireplace, at least in the colder parts of the world, with a friend or kiddo or dog and a drink, is likely the Platonic ideal of what it means to be cozy. We selected the below bottles because they, too, embody this difficult-to-describe feeling: wines that convey a sense of moodiness, wines for reflection instead of cheeky stuff for a party, wines meant for the thoughtfulness of one drinking alone or two people quietly together.
These are bottles that will unfurl in the glass if you give them time and proper air; we also recommend having them in a glass that has enough space for the wines to aerate (no tiny tumblers here, please—aromatics are the star of the show on these wines!) Put on your house shoes/oversized slippers/thick socks and select from one of these meditative wines to accompany staring into a fire while evening grows dark.
Brezza Dolcetto d'Alba 2020
One of the Piedmont's local varieties than often gets overlooked for Nebbiolo, this Dolcetto grown in the heart of Barolo by Brezza has lots of the character of those fancier wines but perhaps with more charm. Dark, plummy fruit, medium tannin/structure, and good acidity to balance: deeply flexible for all kinds of fall and winter meals.
La Morella Colli Tortonesi Barbera 2020
Black-fruited, vibrant Barbera, with lower tannic structure than many other examples of this variety. Brambly, plummy, perfumed, and a touch wild. A great value.
Naboso Slovakia 'Spolu' 2018
Nadja and Andrej make startlingly expressive wines in Bratislava, Slovakia as Naboso. After working together in Copenhagen, they returned to Andrej's native country to make wine. 'Spolu,' which means 'together,' is a gemmy, vibrant blend of white and red grape varieties: Welschriesling, Müller-Thurgau, Riesling and Blaufränkisch. That last grape is what gives this wine its color, a light magenta. Cherry, raspberry, flowers, herbs. This wine is stunning—one that Loire Valley or drinkers of juicy Ardèche wines will love. Tiny, tiny quantities produced, so nab one while you can.
Caspri Toscana 'Rosso di Caspri' 2019
Sangiovese like you've never seen it before. This isn't round, supple, "smooth" red wine from the region: it's floral, iron-rich, sultry and stern—the rustic, untamed side of Tuscany. If you're not into rough edges, be aware: but if you're the type who works in garages or likes to make sausage, Bertrand Habsiger's biodynamically-farmed, wild iteration might be for you.
Domaine Rietsch Alsace Pinot Noir 2020
This Pinot Noir, grown on clay and limestone soils, is fermented with whole-clusters, lending an herbal and spiced dimension to the wine, but it's also made using a semi-carbonic fermentation, resulting in saturated, black-cherry-streaked fruit. This wine is at once brooding and super fresh. We wish every Pinot Noir in France tasted this expressive, wild, and free.
Barbacàn Valtellina Superiore 'Söl' 2018
Truly beautiful high-mountain Nebbiolo from the Barbacàn family, who make some of the most elegant and refined red wines in this Alpine region, but they're also soulful and fun, just like their dance-happy presence on TikTok. Rose petal, dark soil, fine structure, long finish. This is a Nebbiolo to compete with all the over-muscular, overly oaky Barolo out there.