While wine officially has a season, and people associate white wines with warmer weather, you don’t have be all red all winter.
Honestly, you can drink whatever you want whenever you want. But if you want to enjoy the other side, there are some winter-worthy whites.
Very few places do winter like the Austrians, so why not try some of Austria’s white wine grape, grüner veltliner?
Winzer Krems 2018 Sandgrube 13 Gruner Veltliner Niederosterreich is a fresh, spritzy wine with lime and chalky minerality and a touch of sweetness. It offers a nice introduction to the variety, one that will remain relevant into warmer weather. $10. ★★★ 1/2
From a lesser-known California wine regions comes Smithereens by Skinner 2017 White Blend El Doradao, bringing together white Rhône varieties in a hearty, rich wine, made more complex by aging in neutral French oak barrels. The blend of grenache blanc, viognier, roussanne and marsanne is redolent of vanilla and acacia flower, with citrus and tropical flavors plus a hint of toffee and spice. Rather than trying to find a food pairing for such a unique wine, try enjoying this bargain by itself. $12. ★★★★ 1/2
As a white grape, sémillon is known as the cushioning to white Bordeaux, where is it blended to the predominately lean and zingy sauvignon blanc. It’s rare to experience sémillon by itself. Washington producer L’Ecole No. 41 is one of a few that produces it in any quantity, and it is instructive.
L’Ecole No. 41 Columbia Valley Sémillon 2017 is rich and viscous with notes of pineapple, lemon oil and vanilla in the nose. Not surprisingly, it’s a bit flabby on the end, as sémillon would be expected to be. It also speaks to the blending wisdom of the Bordelaise. $15. ★★★ 1/2
Winter is a good time to enjoy sweeter wines. Rieslings from the Eastern United States and Germany are great this time of year, as are dessert wines, such as ice wines.
GRADE: Exceptional ★★★★★, Above average ★★★★, Good ★★★, Below average ★★, Poor ★.