Winter often creates a dilemma for white wine drinkers. Whilst the thought of curling up in front of the fire with a comforting, powerful Bordeaux might not be enticing, neither is the thought of an ice cold, straight from the fridge white that comes with the risk of freezing your teeth and gums and initiating a headache.
All is not lost! The heavier, creamy, oily, fruity and floral whites can be served at lower temperatures than their lighter, sharper counterparts - "lightly chilled” - anything between 10 and 13 degrees Celsius -as opposed to between 7 and 10 degrees, which can make all the difference if you want to enjoy a glass but would rather avoid an ice cream head and being chilled to the bone!
Drinking these wines lightly chilled rather than straight from the fridge creates a whole new dimension, allowing the aromas to open up and the full complexity of these creamy, oily, floral, richly fruited and oaky wines to shine through.
Here are York Wines recommendations:
Starting in France with some classical traditions from Burgundy
Saint Romain, Didier Delagrange 2017, £25.95
Intense aromas of oak and pine. On the palate soft, rich, smooth and creamy with hints of peaches and oak. A chalky, salty minerality lingers at the finish. Lovely with strong ripe cheeses such as camembert or gruyere or with chicken
Macon La Roche Vineuse, AC 2018, Sylvaine & Alain Normand, £13.95
Dry and gentle with slightly smoky, oaky smooth flavours and tropical, floral notes. Soft and flavoursome in the mouth with gentle oak and a lovely long, smooth aftertaste. Lovely with rich chicken terrines, fish tartare or goats cheese
Staying in France but moving South to the slightly warmer Rhone Valley which lends itself perfectly to grapes which make bolder, fuller bodied white wines
Cotes du Rhone Blanc, Romaine Duvernay, AC 2018, £9.45
A lovely blend of Grenache, Rouisson and Viognier grapes. Smooth and dry with intense pear and citrus and subtle spices. Perfect as an aperitif with charcuterie and cheese and particularly recommended if you’re looking for something a little bit different.
Cotes du Rhone Blanc, Chateau Simian, Combes des Avaux 2019, £10.75
A fantastic Rhone Valley white wine. Blended from Grenache and Clairette grapes this is tropical and balanced with hints of aniseed and has a lovely long aftertaste, flavours that compliment spicy fried chicken or turkey burgers with a chilli and tomato relish.
Chateau Neuf Du Pape Blanc, Chateau Simian, Le Traversier, 2014, £24.95
An unusual and rare white wine. Welcoming on the nose with rich, deep, full fruit flavours and hints of licorice. Fantastic with crudo dishes like sushi, steak tartare, carpaccio and charcuterie as well as veal and pork.
Some slightly thicker, sweeter wines from Argentina and Sicily are much more decadent for the winter months but without being sickly or syrupy. The following two in particular, both share hints of Turkish Delight if you’re looking for something to transform you to Narnia.
Inacayal Vineyards Torrontes, Mendoza Argentina 2019, £8.95
Delicate and pale yellow in colour with an aromatic nose. Florals and minerals dominate on the palate with rosewater hints of Turkish Delight. Clean but slightly rounded with a lasting finish. In Argentina it is frequently served with ice and twist of lime and is definitely one to try if you’re looking for something different. Lovely with Thai food –particularly Satay dishes.
Zibibbo, Alcesti, Terre Siciliane IGT 2019, Sicily £9.25
A rare and unusual grape variety from Sicily. Fragrant and zingy with a bold citrussy hit of orange. Volcanic minerality lasts on the finish. This is one for sipping on its own or as an aperitif and perfect if you’re looking for something organic
Petrucco Friulano Fruili Colli Orientali DOC, 2018, Italy £13.95
Another Italian example of a completely different white wine is this lovely Friulano from Venice. Gentle, fragrant and full of flavour with notes of hawthorn, nettle and wild-flowers and almonds on the finish. A lovely aperitif .
A complete juxtaposition to the idea of warmer climates creating bolder white wines is Riesling - a lovely rich aromatic wine which grows best in cool climates, we have fantastic examples from both the northern and southern hemisphere
Riesling, Domaene Wachau 2018, Austria, £13.95
With the slightest hint of petrol on the nose and rich peach and apricot stone fruit flavours in the mouth, this Riesling has a lovely long aftertaste. True medium dry and goes really well with spicy food and Asian dishes
Esk Valley Hawkes Bay Riesling, 2019, Marlborough, New Zealand £12.95
Complex flavours and aromas of delicate citrus fruit, lemon and tantalising lime with hints of orange blossom and honey. From some of the oldest Riesling vines in New Zealand.
And finally, a wild card….
York Wines House White, Colombard Sauvignon, Cotes du Gascogne 2019, France £7.65
Although Sauvignon is a light, crisp and dry white, our house wine is softened with Colombard. With both Chenin and Gouais in its heritage, the Colombard softens the Sauvignon’s ultra-crisp edges making it a very welcoming winter choice. Ours is fruity on the nose with hints of peaches. Great concentration and flavour on the palate and slightly salty at the finish which compliments the lingering fruit flavours. Perfect for sipping