With a nip in the air, nothing beats the lovely sensation of a fresh, crisp white to waken the senses and lighten the mood.
Instantly uplifting, think of the first sassy sip like coming across a cluster of snowdrops peeping through blades of grass – we’re drawn to the purity and freshness, with the promise of something rather lovely to polish up our palates.
And with so many bright styles to pair with wintry dishes, white wines are a surprisingly good option for these cold, dark evenings.
Looking for the best winter white wines? Here’s what’s on our (ice) bucket list…
1. Graham Norton’s Own Sauvignon Blanc 2019, Marlborough, New Zealand, £7, Asda
The popular chat show host’s own labels have won multiple awards, and Norton’s sauvignon blanc channels a vibrant mix of zingy characters. Outrageously good and a wine with lots to say, there’s a riot of passion fruit, kiwi, guava and tropical fruits on the nose, and plenty of juicy, mouth-watering flavours with lovely balance, concentration and an energetic finish. One for winter salads, Asian-style seafood and pea purée.
2. Chateau Ste. Michelle Dry Riesling 2019, Washington State, USA, £9.99, Waitrose
The sommelier’s favourite white, this ripe style from Washington State’s largest producer and top-rated winery ticks all the right riesling boxes. Refreshingly dry with pretty peach and citrusy, floral aromas, a beam of pure, ripe stone fruit flavours feel invigorating and fresh, with a hint of minerality on the lifted finish. Food-friendly and versatile, this will go great with spicy sausages with sauerkraut, cheese fondue, smoked fish or caramelised onion tart.
3. Bees Knees Chenin Blanc Viognier 2020, Western Cape, South Africa, £10.99, Laithwaite’s
A wine that really lives up to its name, this is fabulously fruity. Expect ample apricot and white peach laid over baked apple and citrus flavours, with exotic honeysuckle and spicy accents. Creamy, mouth-watering and there’s more tropical fruit bolstering the lively finish – a joyous glass with gourmet fish pie.
4. Vasse Felix Classic Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2020, Margaret River, Australia, £12, Tesco
This brilliant white has become one of Margaret River’s best-loved and most classic wines – a famous Bordeaux blend of semillon and sauvignon blanc which excels Down Under. With lovely leafy, grassy aromas and hints of zesty lime, a textured, oily quality gives an added dimension to the ripe kiwi, lemongrass, guava and gooseberry flavours, topped off with a beautiful freshness on the finish. Well-crafted and expressive, enjoy with crab cakes or lemon and garlic roast chicken.
5. Yealands Reserve Grüner Veltliner 2019, Marlborough, New Zealand, £12.99, Waitrose
An Austrian grape that speaks with a Kiwi accent, this gorgeous grüner veltliner promises and delivers an appealing style that goes well with food – and can gorgeously take on Asian inspired recipes, such as Thai chicken coconut curry. Playful on the nose, with an enticing hint of honey and ripe yellow plum followed by a gentle, spicy note, it’s juicy, plump and full-flavoured, with peach and nectarine flavours mingling nicely through to the fine, minerally finish.
6. Grand Vallon Châteauneuf-du-Pape Grande Réserve Laurent Brotte 2019, Rhône Valley, France, £14.99, Aldi
A white Châteauneuf-du-Pape? This is a rare treat from the southern Rhône, a deliciously complex white that’s round and full-bodied. Attractively aromatic, with fleshy stone fruits, citrus and pear flavours wrapped in peach, with buttery overtones and hints of honeysuckle that linger nicely with a trace of citrus on the finish. Ideal with rich seafood dishes, it would be tempting to shell out for lobster, dressed crab or monkfish for this one.
7. Vergelegen Reserve Chardonnay 2017, South Africa, £17.51, Amazon
If you ever needed a reason to celebrate chardonnay in all its golden glory, this is a stunning expression of the grape. Rich and elegant, with a polished use of oak, there’s a wealth of flavour built around citrus and tropical fruit, ending with subtle butterscotch and well-integrated acidity keeping the flavours tangy and vibrant on the long, wonderful finish. Utterly delicious on its own and a crowd-pleaser with seafood risotto.
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