Many know about pairing a wine with a particular food. Some know more about wine and select one based on its texture and taste. While others choose a wine based on the season. When it’s cold out (with a snowstorm), many like to hunker down with a nice bottle of wine. But what wines are best for winter? Full-bodied reds! They go well with the hearty meals of winter, such as Braised Chicken Thighs with Winter Vegetables and Baked Polenta with Sausage and Artichoke Hearts. According to the Biltmore, winter wines include Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Syrah and Malbec. Let take a look at what makes these wines unique.

Cabernet Sauvignon

This old favorite has its a variety of nicknames: cab, cab sauv and the king of red wine grapes per Tasting-Wine. The grapes for this wine are hardy and have a bluish-black color. It’s thick skin contains very high tannin levels, which give a very dry taste but mellows with age.

Cabernet Sauvignon gets better with age, and can be aged up to 15 years. It originates from the Bordeaux region France and is produced breeding a cabernet franc and a sauvignon blanc. This grape can be grown in other parts of the world including the United States, Italy and Australia.

Zinfandel

The grapes that make up this wine are grown in California. It can withstand California’s hot and dry climate and has the highest alcohol content of any of the red wines. Many believe the grape originated in Italy because of its similarity to the Primitivo grape. However, through DNA testing, it was determined that the grape originated in Croatia and made its way to California in the late 1800s per VinePair.

Syrah

Also known as Shiraz by the Australians, it is the darkest of the red wines and has a great deal of tannins. It originates from the Northern Rhone Valley and is the product of breeding a dureza and mondeuse blanc. It offers a variety of flavors, such as pepper, truffles and earth.

Malbec

It’s the most easily identified red wine due to the bright magenta rim it leaves on a glass. This grape originates in France and has a thick skin (like cabernet sauvignon). It offers a range of flavors, such as pomegranate, plum, mocha and leather. According to Wine Folly, Argentina brought the Malbec back to life by being top producer of the wine, making it one of the top 18 noble grapes.