Contrary to popular belief, every season is a season for white wine. People who think otherwise haven’t experienced the warmth of an oaky Chardonnay, which can feel a lot like a cozy knit sweater embracing the palate, or a Soave that’s as beautifully balanced and minerally as a fresh covering of snow. Here are a few bottles wine experts say will help change mindsets.
7 white wines to try year-round:
In the dead of winter, people can use an extra dose of energy, and this Riesling produced by Charles Smith Wines in Washington state is booming with it. Racing acidity highlights citrus and stone fruit flavors, while fresh minerality pulls it all together. “It’s full of energy, with a persistent minerality that is nicely balanced by rich notes of honeysuckle, white peach, and citrus. Easy and delicious, it’s the perfect complement to spicy ramen or Szechuan chicken,” says Emilia Alvarez, a curation analyst for RingIT Inc., Preferabli by Wine Ring and Hispanics in Wine coordinator in New York City.
Here’s something different: a wine that smells like lemon and lime that has the flavor and viscosity of almond oil but is light-bodied with minerality, all at the same time. That’s what this Soave delivers, according to Shayna Wells, creator of Pour Pairings, a wine subscription and education service in Maryland. Made from Garganega, a grape native to the Soave Classico region in Northern Italy, Tuffo’s bottling delivers a balance of crisp and rich qualities. “This wine offers plenty of tree fruit and nut goodness with a splash of citrus and a little cream that adds a richness to it. Perfect for fall and winter weather,” says Wells.
“A balanced, oaky Chardonnay is like a warm hug,” says Brianne Cohen, a wine educator and events specialist in Los Angeles. That’s why she often turns to Bonterra Organic Vineyards’ 100% Chardonnay in the colder months. A comfortable wine, as Cohen describes it, this Chardonnay is rich and buttery, with aromas of honey and lightly toasted almonds, and a palate drenched in citrusy lemon and crème brûlée. “It’s so lovely and tasty,” she says. What’s even better, the California winery has organically farmed since 1987, and the company has only continued to increase its environmental practices by incorporating biodynamic and sustainable initiatives over the years.
Now here’s a wine to cozy up with while reading a thrilling novel near the fireplace: Azienda Agricola Inama’s take on Soave, which is reeking with forest-y aromas and almond flavors. It’s a favorite of Alan Tardi, a New Jersey-based sommelier and author of “Romancing the Vine: Life, Love, and Transformation in the Vineyards of Barolo” and “Champagne, Uncorked: The House of Krug and the Timeless Allure of the World’s Most Celebrated Drink.” Tardi says, “This is truly an underrated wine. It’s very high-quality despite the price. It’s nicely balanced, with good body, acidity, and subtle mineral character. It feels a little dusty, which is likely due to the volcanic soils the vines are grown on. The wine has a gravelly, earthiness to it. It’s quite beautiful.”
A blend of Clairette and Roussanne has just the right type of roundness to knock off the chill. This bottle, produced by Jean-Luc Colombo of the Cornas village in the Côtes du Rhône in France, displays white peach, pear, and herbal flavors that settle all the chalky minerality to create a well-balanced wine. “These grapes have less acid and are vinified in a way that they are full, round, and sometimes a touch creamy. Totally what I want in a winter white,” says Cohen.
Most people spend the fall and winter indulging in rich and decadent foods, why not do the same with wine? This pale yellow wine produced by Italian winery Terredora Di Paolo in Campania is an excellent example of a voluminous white wine, thanks to its rich aromas of apple, pear, and pineapple and fresh acidity. “It’s an ancient grape variety that’s been around for years, and it makes a beautiful wine,” Tardi says. “It has its own unique personality, very balanced with a really nice medium body. It has nice acidity, but it’s not like a bright summery, picnic wine. It has some depth. And it’s a great value. It’s ridiculous how much you get out of this wine for such little money.”
Fill up on a wine with volume and texture. Those are only two qualities that make this white wine blend worth considering. Produced by Quinta do Crasto in the Douro Valley and comprised of Portuguese grapes Viosinho, Gouveio, and Rabigato, this is a wine that has “harmonious persistence allied with lovely structure,” according to Bruno Almeida, a sommelier and wine educator in New York City. “It’s deliciously aromatic and floral, vibrant with crispy citrus fruit, refreshing along with stellar flinty minerality,” he says, adding that the wine can “elevate dishes from lobster and cod dishes, pork chops, and cheesy risottos.”