The Wine Stylist Vol. 27 No. 01

12 White Wines For The Winter Season

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A cold winter night with a crackling fireplace and warm comfort food doesn’t always call for a Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot.  Choose these 12 white wines for the winter season.  These wines are opulent, creamy, textured, and intense.  White wine is drunk year-round in many countries around the globe, think Germany, Alsace, Austria, and Switzerland, where white grape varieties dominate.

We are heading into the midst of the winter and will shortly be experiencing frigid temperatures.  These twelve white wines are the perfect winter white wines.  Winter whites can be just as warm and comforting as red wines.  Their high acidity, depth, and intensity make them a perfect match for winter foods like soups, casseroles, stews, and roasted meats. You may discover that these white wines pair better than reds when it comes to warm winter comfort foods.

White Wines For The Winter

Diatom Chardonnay Santa Barbara County 2021

With Diatom, Winemaker Greg Brewer seeks to capture Chardonnay in its most pure and unadulterated state. Diatom is named for diatomaceous earth, a plankton fossil found in the oceanic landscape of Santa Barbara County.

The 2021 Santa Barbara Chardonnay has great intensity. It is precise and balanced. The wine’s texture and depth make this the perfect winter white wine.  Its bright acidity and minerality make it the ideal pairing with a creamy fish stew, hearty coq au vin blanc or a warm bowl of corn chowder.

Bodegas Valdemar Conde Valdemar Blanco 2021

The Valdemar Family wine group comprises family-owned vineyards divided between Bodegas Valdemar in Rioja, Spain, and Valdemar Estates in Walla Walla, Washington. As pioneers in the industry, the estate is now owned by the Martínez Bujanda family, whose involvement in wine dates to 1889.

This wintery white wine is made with grapes from selected vineyards in Rioja Alavesa and Rioja Alta from fun and unique grape varieties like Viura, Malvasia, and Tempranillo Blanco.  It pairs perfectly with international dishes like seafood paella or spicy pad Thai.  Nothing is more comforting in the winter than paella or noodles.

Pieropan Soave Calvarino 2020

Leonildo (Nino) Pieropan showed the world how great Garganega could be. Nino recognized the importance of terroir early on, expanding the family’s hillside vineyards and creating his single vineyard wines. Today, sons Andrea and Dario maintain the family’s profound commitment to the terroir and tradition of Soave. Pieropan wines are some of Italy’s greatest.

The Pieropan Calvarino is a perfect representation of a classic Soave.  It is a unique wine made mostly of Garganega with a bit of Trebbiano. 2020 is generous and rich with honey, pear, and spice notes.  Soave is one of the world’s most food-friendly wines, so for cold winter months, pair it with roast chicken, freshly baked focaccia, or gnocchi in a cream sauce.

Jean-Luc Colombo Saint Péray La Belle di Mai 2018

Innovation, passion, and dedication drive Jean-Luc and Anne Colombo, whose contributions to Rhône Valley winemaking are unparalleled.  Saint Péray is the rising star of Rhône Valley. This rich white wine is made of Rousanne from 80-year-old vines with a blend of Marsanne.

La Belle di Mai is made with 60% Roussanne and 40% Marsanne; the combination gives the wine a naturally creamy, rich texture.  It has a full-bodied palate with rich, concentrated flavors of vanilla and lemon zest. The richness of the wine makes it a perfect pairing for Dover sole or crispy fried chicken.

Fiddlehead Happy Canyon Sauvignon Blanc 2016

Kathy Joseph established Fiddlehead Cellars in 1989 to capture the pure essence of Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir. Kathy is recognized as a pioneer among women winemakers as she passionately and enthusiastically creates stylistic Sauvignon Blancs.

The 2016 Happy Canyon Sauvignon Blanc is this wine’s most recent vintage release, showcasing Kathy’s commitment to this grape variety.  This signature, Loire-styled Sauvignon Blanc is a silky-textural wine with crisp acidity and notes of citrus of cloves, Concentrated and intense, it makes for a perfectly cozy choice for winter months. Pair it with crabcakes, cream of mushroom soup, or baked brie.

Jermann Vintage Tunina 2020

Silvio Jermann’s wines are a sensation, and he has become an Italian winemaking icon. Jermann is known for its precise bottlings that capture the essence of Friuli through creamy, powerful, and acid-rich wines.

Vintage Tunina is an exceptionally unique wine made from Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Ribolla Gialla, and Malvasia.  Its aroma is intense yet elegant. Its taste is complex with honey, grapefruit, and wildflower notes.  The palate is full-bodied with a creamy texture and exceptional persistence. Pair this with a creamy chicken tikka masala or a French cassoulet.  

White Wines For The Winter

FEL Savoy Vineyard Chardonnay 2020

Nestled between the area’s last stand of old growth Redwoods and a fold of hills in the “deep end” of Anderson Valley, the organically farmed Savoy vineyard has been long recognized as one of the benchmark Chardonnay vineyards in the whole state of California.

The FEL Savoy Vineyard Chardonnay has a flinty aromatic profile with notes of lemon and pineapple, which follows through on the flavor profile. Rich, textured, and layered on the palate, FEL Savoy Chardonnay makes it a perfect winter pairing with a bowl of decadent lobster bisque or a warming cup of french onion soup.

Resonance Willamette Valley Chardonnay 2020

This Willamette Valley Chardonnay from Résonance is sourced from estate vineyards and some of the top vineyards in the Willamette Valley. The wine showcases the best of the Willamette Valley and elegantly blends Maison Louis Jadot’s winemaking with the Willamette Valley’s signature terroir.

The wine has complex aromatics of lemon, tangerine, hazelnut, and nutmeg. The palate is crisp with bright acidity. Its minerality makes it a great match with chicken pot pie or mac and cheese.  The wine’s zippy acidity and minerality cut through the richness of mac and cheese.

Markus Nimmo 2020

Swiss-born winemaker and owner Markus Niggli selects from wisely-planted ancient vines and newly-planted unusual offerings throughout the Lodi region to craft small-production bottlings.  The wines are fruit-driven but balanced with high acidity making them wines ageless and memorable.

Nimmo is a unique blend of Kerner, Bacchus, and Riesling.  This refreshingly dry unusual white showcases vivid fresh fruit with well-balanced acidity that will allow this wine to age gracefully for years.  The fresh fruit balanced with bright acidity makes this a nice pairing with a creamy butternut squash ravioli.

Girasole Vineyards Pinot Blanc 2021

Girasole has a proud history of having farmed their vineyards organically before there were even any certifications. Girasole Vineyards wines are made from CCOF-certified organic grapes that are estate grown in Mendocino County, CA. All Girasole wines are vegan-friendly.

Don’t let the grape variety fool you.  This Pinot Blanc is a full to medium-bodied wine that is great to drink even in cooler temperatures.  It has layers of citrusy characters that are all in harmony with the rich, textured palate that leads to a long, lively finish.  When the weather outside is frightful, pair this stunning wine with manchego cheese or warm hearty seafood risotto.

Vina Ventisquero ‘Tara Atacama’ Chardonnay 2020

Tara is not a classic style of Chardonnay.  It is a white wine from a very particular and unique terroir. The Pacific Ocean has a major influence on the vineyard, producing morning fog, known locally as the “Camanchaca,” and strong winds, which cool the vines, making this a desert with cool climate conditions. The area is very arid, and the soils are chalky and saline.

This Chilean Chardonnay is one of the very few wines in the world made in a cool desert.  It is a fresh, mineral-driven wine. The mouth is clean and well-structured. The chalkiness and salinity of the soil come through in the palate. The wine’s freshness, salinity, and minerality will complement salty foods – from fried chicken to a French raclette.

Yealands Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2020

Yealands wine is inspired by the coast surrounding it, so close to the ocean that the vines are often misted with sea spray. The beauty of the environment influences how the wine is crafted, respectful of nature and their land.

The palate is full and lively. The wine has subtle saline notes and a refreshing mineral finish. Try Yealands Sauvignon Blanc with creamy mushroom chicken or Tuscan chicken in a parmesan sauce. The wine cuts through the richness of creamy chicken dishes, bringing out the savoriness in the meat.

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From Wall Street to the wine cellars, Rupal Shankar is living her best wine life in New York City. When she is not writing, Rupal is globetrotting the world exploring food and wine. Rupal is a professional wine writer who enjoys sharing her experiences of wine, food and travel. She loves learning about wine through her travels but also has formal certifications: WSET Level 3 and French Wine Scholar. Continuing her formal education, Rupal is currently enrolled in the WSET Diploma program, in addition, she is studying to get her master's certification in Champagne. A Wall Street professional by day and a yoga teacher and wine writer by night, Rupal loves combining her passions - wine and yoga. She offers wine and yoga classes and workshops, “Vinyoga”.

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