We have all heard the saying: “No white after Labor Day!” Luckily this doesn’t apply to wine because there is nothing like sitting in front of a fire on a cold evening with some sugar cookies and a cool glass of rich white wine. We’ve put together a list for those who want to skip the red.
Chardonnay has gotten a bad rap over the years by being overproduced, overly oak-aged, and the full butter that comes from malolactic fermentation (a process where tart, bright malic acid converts to creamy, rounder lactic acid.) Many Chardonnay exist on the shelves that are tropical and full-bodied, but with balanced acidity that are perfect for a winter’s evening. Look for wines from Burgundy, France – regions like the famous Chablis which is traditional with seafood but matches pork tenderloin perfectly. Try a2019 Domaine Coulaudin-Bussy Chablis. For a domestic offering, Katie has been drinking a 2020 Brea Chardonnay from Broc Cellars that hails from California’s central coast and does see oak aging and malolactic, but with the heavy mineral soils and cool climate the ripe acidity balances out the light vanilla creaminess.
Rhône Valley Whites
Located along the Rhône River in Southern France, this valley has ancient wine-growing roots and is known mostly known for its red from regions like Chateauneuf-du-Pape and Côtes-du-Rhône, but their white wine grapes Marsanne, Roussanne, Grenache Blanc and Viognier produce wines that vary from tart and mineral to honeyed and richly round. For that special occasion, regions such as Condrieu builds Viognier that is savory and seductive but relatively hard to come by. Instead try the Domaine de la Janasse Côtes du Rhône Blanc. This grenache-based blend has citrus and apricot notes with a beautiful round mouth feel that goes perfectly with a roasted chicken.
Another grape that has seen a huge resurgence in recent years, especially in the wine nerd world is Chenin Blanc. This grape was born in the Loire Valley of France in regions like Vouvray and Anjou but is being planted all over the world and is especially thriving in South Africa. Taste profiles vary but you can always count on Chenin’s acidity, pear and peach notes, and earthy undertones. For an OG Chenin, reach for Vigneau-Chevreau’s offering called Cuveé Silex – a wine that ages in a little oak and then on its lees giving fruits like quince and apple backed up by mineral undertones. Try with roasted mushrooms for a great umami experience. For a New World offering, pick up Kumusha’s Chenin. This wine was described as “Liquid Sunshine” by winemaker Tinashe Nyamudoka. It is acidic and tart and a perfect cure for the lack of sunshine.
For the next months of chilly weather, look no further than the arms of a comforting white wine, you may not even miss the reds!