It’s the first day of winter: do you know what white wines to drink? Here are a few for enjoying by the fireside (or firepit), with a hearty meal or on the couch as you “Netflix and sip” (cause you’re not still into the chill thing, are ya?)
Adega Vinho Branca Estate Reserve 2021, Texas Hill Country. From the Bilger Family Vineyards, this is a showy white with tart yellow cherry and plum fruits, round yellow apple tones, some anise notes. It’s a good Chenin imposter but made of Portuguese grape varieties. Aged in a “secret proportion” of new French Oak.
Albert Bichot “Horizon de Bichot” Chardonnay Vin de France 2020. Zesty and clean with tart pear flavors and not refreshingly, not an oak bomb. An enjoyable and fresh take on Chardonnay.
Arriezu Vineyards Cantos Blancos Verdejo 2020, Rueda DO. Made with certified organic grapes, this is a very democratic wine—pleasant, crisp, with good showings of green apple and pear. Clean and bright and will cut though a heavy soupy-stew of sausage and cabbage. Fun old school label.
Attems Ribolla Gialla 2021, Venezia Giulia IGT. A waxy/beeswax-y nose is accompanied by yellow apple and quince in this medium-plus bodied white from Italy’s north east. Glycerol on the palate, a bit of lemon pith along with cooked lemon, this is a satisfying and sturdy white.
Bodgas Corral Los Corrales de Moncalvillo “Maturana Blanca” 2020, Rioja DOC. Golden yellow, caramel-umami nose, an oxidized style with rich baked apple, benefits from a mineral uplift and savory herbal-brush notes on the finish. A wow kind of wine. A perfect pairing with escarole and white bean soup.
Château Gazin Rocquencourt Pessac-Léognan 2015, Grand Vin de Bordeaux. From one of the oldest estates and tapping the winemaking team of Malartic-Lagravière, a Grand Cru Classé, this is a fully flavored wine without being heavy Pretty oak notes on the nose, rich ripe apple with hints of hazelnut, fulfilling and a fine partner with white meats or fish in a butter or cream sauce.
Dirler-Cade Sylvaner Vignes Vignes 2020, Alsace. A dry, medium-bodied biodynamic wine from a heritage family producer. Apple skin on the nose leading to yellow apple and pear, lemon zest. A round, balanced, satisfying comfort wine for cold evenings.
Duckhorn Vineyards North Coast Sauvignon Blanc 2021. Tropical fruit notes feature pineapple and mango in this medium- to full-bodied wine. More of a rich old world style than a grassy new world – think Pessac-Léognan and with good reason: it’s blended with Sémillon.
Herdade do Esporao Monte Velho 2020, Portugal. This white blend from a progressive family-run winery in Alentejo is a reliable and welcome guest at any table – a likeable white that plays well with anything on the table, with round orchard fruit flavors. Hats off to the winemaker who sticks to the native grapes: Antão Vaz, Perrum, Roupeiro.
High Head Chardonnay 2012, Napa Valley. Full-on apple and white pear, clean and lean—no evidence of winemaking weighing this down. The name is a reference to a term in surfing slang—“head high” refers to the perfect sized wave, one that builds to the height of a rider’s head.
Landmark Vineyard Overlook Chardonnay 2010, Sonoma. Savory and full-bodied, prevalent oak but lending a rich opulent, almost contemplative tone. Umami-like caramel, baked yellow apple, hazelnut. Hedonistic and delicious. The 2020 release is similarly rich and opulent with baked yellow apples, some tropical fruit and butterscotch undertones. Oak is a noticeable accent but well integrated with the fruit.
Leyda Garuma Coastal Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc 2021, Leyda DO, Chile. Green and pungent, this will please fans of the Marlborough-style of Sauvignon Blanc. Very lime forward on the nose, green tropical fruits like unripe pineapple abound in this zesty and zingy wine.
Marichal Sauvignon Blanc 2022, Canelones, Uruguay. This is a tropical-fruited SauvB with pineapple having a starring role, backed by guava and melon. Great option for those who don’t dig the grassy-green style of other new world SauvBs.
Ottella Le Creete 2021 Lugana DOC. I love this for a bunch of reasons, the bottle just the beginning, with its gold lame-like sparkly label and big embossed crest. Over the top in a delicious way with a full-bodied lemony and yellow- and white-orchard fruit profile. Expertly integrated, fresh, interesting and satisfying. the sister Ottella Lugana DOC is a rich and full-bodied wine with yellow apple, accompanied by a tangy lemon zap, a savory underlaying of anise. Mouthwatering acid, some residual sugar weight; great with a tomato leek quiche with rich crust.
Roscioli Catalanesca “Total” 2019, Campania IGP. Made by Cantine Olivella for the popular Roman restaurant, this amphora-fermented white boasts bright anise notes and herbs, rich and savory cooked lemon curd. It’s round and full, juicy and intriguing. Limited production, available through the Roscioli Wine Club.
Taron Blanco 2020, Rioja Alta. A blend of 80% Viura and 20% Tempranillo Bianco, this is a tropical-inflected wine with white nectarine and peach that glides on the palate. Rather than fleshy and juicy, this has some gravitas from its 60-year-old vines—impressive for a price point less than $15. Great Tuesday night wine with a Tex-Mex-styled thrown-together meal of chicken, black beans and polenta.
Ventisquero, Tara Atacama Chardonnay 2020 Atacama, Huasco Valley, Chile. Lemon tones that are both creamy and tart glide over the palate making this an easy sip. Lively citrus and acid—sharp and tart. Influenced by cool coastal fog, this is a fresh unadulterated Chard.
Yering Station Chardonnay 2020 Yarra Valley, Australia. Claiming to be “Victoria’s First Vineyard,” founded in 1838 and a progenitor for the Grand Prix Award at the 18989 Paris World Exhibition, this Chard saw 11 months in French oak, which gives the wine definition, texture and hints of hazelnut, but does not dominate the delicate white orchard fruits.