The idea that white wines are all fresh, light, and best suited to summertime drinking has been successfully challenged by a new wave of rich, white wine styles that are full-flavoured, winter food-friendly and better suited to the dinner table than a sun-drenched deck.
So, what exactly makes a good winter white wine? Here in Australia, winemakers are getting savvy to more intricate winemaking techniques such as skin contact and subtle oak input that create more textural wine that has a greater mouthfeel than lighter aromatic styles.
Here are some of the best white wines for winter, and top tips on how to drink them.
When it comes to cold weather, the old adage “chardonnay is the red drinker’s white” rings true. Buttery and blousy with a rich mouthfeel, traditional styles of chardonnay have always been a good choice of white wine in winter. The Hunter Valley still yields some of the best kinds, and those with a little bottle age are ideal with a ripe brie or camembert cheese.
The new wave of Australian chardonnays, like Brokenwood Chardonnay from the Hunter Valley and Devil’s Lair Honeycomb Chardonnay from Margaret River, are also worth looking out for. Brighter and more finely balanced, they make a good summertime drop, but intense tropical fruit flavours and supporting notes of oak make this style equally well suited to the dinner table year-round. Wineries in Margaret River, Yarra Valley and Beechworth are leading the way.
Perfect winter food pairing for chardonnay:
Roast chicken with all the trimmings; ocean trout rillettes.
Crisp, clean, cool sauvignon blanc will always be in demand, but canny winemakers are rethinking their approach to the zesty drop and experimenting with newer styles using techniques more commonly associated with chardonnay. Think oak fermentation with native yeast, extended yeast lees contact and time resting in a barrel prior to bottling. The result? Textually rich, multi-layered sauvignon blanc that ages well and makes a good winter white wine.
Sauvignon blanc is also the answer to the question, What is the best white wine for cooking winter dishes? Try it in coq au vin or beef stew.
Perfect winter food pairing for sauvignon blanc:
Asian dishes such as Thai green curry chicken; salt-and-pepper squid.