Hot take: white wine pairs well with winter. That's right, if you thought only red wine is in season, think again. Certain white wines are perfect this time of year and can complement your favorite cold-weather dishes like stews and roasts. The trick is knowing which white wines don't need to be served chilled. Take a look at the top white wines to try this winter.
What to Look for in a Winter White
Sure, white wine may seem counterintuitive in the cold months, but that’s due to a few wine misconceptions circling around the rumor mill. People often avoid drinking white wine in the winter because they assume it must be served chilled, but that’s not necessarily the case.
It makes sense you wouldn’t want to sip on chilled white wine in the dead of winter, for the same reason people don’t often enjoy frozen treats like ice cream in the middle of a snowstorm. In reality, white wines don’t need to be chilled to be enjoyed. In fact, many should be served slightly below room temperature.
When picking white winter wines, the secret is to select varieties that have concentrated flavor, high ABV or high acidity. These wines complement traditional winter dishes like stews, ham, and pot roasts. It’s finally time to give creamy whites their time in the spotlight, cozied up next to the fireplace.
One of the world’s most popular grapes, Chardonnay is a go-to white in the households of many. This medium-bodied white showcases flavors of yellow apple, pineapple, butter, and vanilla.
Chardonnay can be oaked or unoaked, and both lend themselves to different pairings.
Bold, oaked Chardonnay pairs well with crab cake, halibut, pork, and cozy winter veggies like pumpkin and squash. Unoaked Chardonnay is generally more lean and complements crisp, delicate foods like oysters, sushi, and pâté.
We suggest a Chardonnay with a touch of oakiness to sub out for your go-to red, mulled wine, or red wine hot chocolate. Oh, and Chardonnay should be served around 45 to 55°F.
If you’re looking to virtually transport yourself somewhere warmer, there’s Viognier. Originated in Northern Rhône, Viognier (pronounced “vee-own-yay”) is a rich, slightly oily white wine that is becoming more and more common across prominent wine regions.
This white wine flaunts notes of tangerine, peach, mango, and honeysuckle and is often aged to imitate the buttery richness of our beloved Chardonnay.
We threw this white in the mix to give you a reprieve from the doldrums of winter. By the end of a long, cold winter, it’s nice to imagine yourself somewhere sunnier.
Champagne or Sparkling Wine
For those rich winter dishes and cozy nights by the fireplace, reach for a bottle of bubbly. If this last year taught us anything, it’s that we need to find more reasons to celebrate. A normal Monday night seems as good as any to pop a bottle of fizz and celebrate the mundane!
Opt for classic Champagne or try a sparkling wine that fits with your budget. Spanish Cava is made in a similar style to Champagne and is considered especially trendy right now. Prosecco is a great choice if you prefer a slightly sweet wine.
Something about those bubbles just signifies excitement, and it's a great way to keep your energy and momentum going into the new year. Plus, Champagne is light, refreshing, and crazy versatile when it comes to pairing with food. The bubbles seem to cut and complement every flavor perfectly, especially spice.
Perhaps one of the best examples of a white wine born in a cold climate, Riesling is the ideal winter white. Riesling is primarily made in Germany, a cold weather country with a rich, hearty diet.
Contrary to popular belief, Riesling slides along the sweetness scale, ranging from bone-dry to sweet. This high-acidity white wine boasts flavors of lime, green apple, and beeswax.
Pour a glass along with your serving of spicy curry or a hearty, traditional German dish like sausage and mashed potatoes.
You’ve just finished a delicious winter meal and you’ve got just enough room left for dessert. Our first pick? Sweet Sauternes.
A sister of Bordeaux, Sauternes (pronounced “saw-turn”) is the ultimate winter dessert wine. It’s actually made from Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle grapes.
As for the flavor, think sweet balanced with a touch of acidity. Golden notes of peaches, honeyed apricots, butterscotch, and caramel come through, with a slightly nutty finish.
This dessert wine can stand on its own, but it’s also perfectly complementary to fruit-inspired desserts, foie gras, and blue cheese. We’re big fans of reimagining the rules, so why not serve a glass with your grazing charcuterie board to start the night?
IN VINO FINITO
As you sip your winter whites, we hope you’ve expanded your knowledge, palate, and your repertoire of winter-friendly wines. Need a recommendation of which wine to try next? Email us, and we’ll help you out!