A Tasty Take on the Holidays: Mulled White Wine Using Viognier

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Photo by James Carrier at myrecipes.com

Centuries ago someone brilliant decided to spice up his wine with cinnamon and heat it up over the fire.  At the time, perhaps it was a trick to hide the taste of wine that frequently went bad.  Or perhaps it was a mistake. Either way, mulled wine has a long and rich history contributing to its current status as a festive winter beverage.

For example, this is an interesting bit of history from Wineintro.com: “In medieval times these wines were called Ypocras or Hipocris, named after the physician Hippocrates. They were thought to be very healthy, and indeed, with wine at the time being far more sanitary than water, these heated drinks probably did keep people healthy through the cold winters.”

Luckily, our modern water supply has improved, but the love of mulled wine is as strong as it ever was. Today, it’s  a much anticipated holiday tradition, a celebration of flavor, and a delicious way to stay warm when it’s chilly outside. Most people are most familiar with red mulled wine, but white mulled wine is a delicious and soul-soothing concoction that might taste even better than it’s crimson counterpart.

The recipe below, from myrecipes.com,  works perfectly with exclusive RivkaSimone Viognier from Russian River Valley. Try a bottle and see for yourself!

Mulled White Wine

Ingredients

  • 1/2  lemon (about 2 in. wide)
  • 1/2  orange (about 2 1/2 in. wide)
  • 4  kumquats (each about 1 in. long)
  • 2  tablespoons  honey
  • 1/3  to 1/2 cup sugar
  • 6  whole cloves
  • 6  whole allspice
  • 2  cinnamon sticks (each 3 in. long)
  • 2  bottles (750 ml. each) dry white wine

Directions

  • 1. Rinse lemon, orange, and kumquats and thinly slice them, discarding seeds; quarter the orange slices. Put fruit in a 4- to 5-quart pan. Add honey, sugar (use the smaller amount if you prefer drinks on the tart side, the larger if you want a sweeter flavor), cloves, and allspice. With a knife, cut the cinnamon sticks lengthwise into thinner strips. Add cinnamon and 2 cups water to pan; bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat and boil gently for 5 minutes.
  • 2. Pour wine into hot citrus base (see notes) and heat until steaming, about 8 minutes. Keep warm over low heat. Ladle into heatproof cups or wineglasses

Notes

A lean white wine that hasn’t been aged in oak works best for this drink. You can make the citrus base (step 1) up to 1 day ahead; cover and chill. Reheat to continue. For a clearer mulled wine, in step 2 pour the citrus base through a fine strainer into the wine, then add the whole spices. Add a few fresh lemon, orange, and kumquat slices for decoration as well, if you like.

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