I think white wine gets the short end of the stick during colder months. I personally love a crisp white, particularly fireside or with a steaming hot bowl of soup. So, so good.
In general, Chardonnay is usually a safe winter bet. To be honest, if you're cuddled up under a blanket watching a good movie, you can drink whatever white wine you like! But I'd like to encourage you to explore your options.
To help get you thinking, here are five winter white wines to enjoy, no matter the temperature outside.
Marvelous Yellow 2012, $15 (South Africa)
White blends are always a great option for winter parties, and Marvelous is such a perfect wine for gifting or to have as your dinner party table wine (best. label. ever!). The blend is primarily Chenin Blanc with a splash of Chardonnay and Viognier. It does have a bit of oak from the Chardonnay, but I think the florals and minerals add up to a nice, smooth mix. Marvelous wines are made by a winemaker and a chef working together, so this wine is a perfect party food wine; honestly, it makes me want to whip up a risotto, right now.
Hip Chicks Viognier 2013, $23 (Oregon)
One of my favorite Portland Urban Wineries is Hip Chicks Do Wine, and consistently one of my favorite wines from them is their Viognier. The floral bouquet is a gentle reminder of what's waiting for you at the end of the season; the crisp white has almost a lemongrass touch. It's a lovely sipper all on its own, though you'll have no trouble pairing with cheese and crackers or that aforementioned hot soup!
Bonus points if you can pronounce viognier correctly.
Geyser Peak Pinot Grigio 2013, $12 (California)
Although Pinot Grigio seems like a poor choice for winter, you'll want to bring this wine to the fire pit, as it's the perfect pairing for s'mores (Do I have your attention now?). Geyser Peak is an easy-breezy option, light and fruity. The wine is a single varietal sourced from a variety of appellations, making it a super smooth sipper.
Domaine Du Tariquet Chardonnay 2013, $9 (France)
Although I'm usually the last person to suggest an oaky Chardonnay -- particularly a bracing French varietal -- there's something about the Tariquet that I'm partial to. Get this wine ice cold; if you want to put it outside in the snow, I will not judge you (too much). It's a great one for those very hearty meals where a sharp, cold wine helps as almost a digestive. A food pairing that comes to mind is a steak with thick mushroom brown gravy. Old man winter can't beat this one.
Qupé Marsanne 2012, $21 (California)
We round out our winter white wine conversation with a combo of not one, but two, lesser known white wines. The Qupé Marsanne is actually 75% Marsanne and 25% Rousanne, grown in one of my favorite up-and-coming California wine regions, Santa Barbara. This wine really embodies the Qupé style: elegance from the French Rhone grapes with that relaxed coastal California flair. If you're looking for a white wine to pair with holiday hams and turkeys or thick stews, you've found your match.
Now that we have the whites covered, need a red wine to round out the dinner menu? Try a bordeaux blend.
Lead photo by scui3asteveo.