Chilly White Wine for Chilly Temps

Baby, it’s cold outside! When the mercury starts to dip, we are naturally more inclined to heartier, warming reds. You know: chewy Malbecs, bone-warming Cabs, spicy Tempranillos. But what if you prefer white wine?
Vino blanco gets a bad rap during winter months. “It’s for spring,” you say? Bah! Sipping chilled white (especially from a traditionally cooler-climate country like Germany, or Alsace in France) on a cold day might seem counter-intuitive, but many whites are perfectly in sync with the richer, stick-to-your-ribs fare prepared this time of year. Whether you’re pairing it with a hearty stew or just want to snuggle up to a movie on a Tuesday, here are some winter whites that may just stave off SAD.

2009 Gut Hermannsberg, Riesling Trocken, Nahe, Germany – Ah, Riesling. The “Noble Grape.” Ignore those icky, sticky versions you’ve had in the past. Any Riesling worth its weight will always have a striking backbone of acidity to match any residual sugar hanging about. Still don’t like the slightest hint of sweet? Well, lucky you: this Gut Hermanssberg is classified “trocken,” or dry, according to the German classification system. And dry it is, with a tangy minerality and refreshing zestiness, making it a dazzling accompaniment to creamy dishes like New England clam chowder or that Asian take-out you’ve been craving but haven’t ordered because of *ahem* “resolutions.”
2010 Monastero Suore Cistercensi, “Coenobium,” Lazio, Italy – Now, this is a wine if you like it weird. First of all, Coenobium is made by a group of Cistercian nuns, but that’s not what’s weird. If you’ve heard of “orange” wine, well, here it is. Basically, the juice sees contact with its skin (like red wines), imparting not only deeper color but also intricate notes of deep cider-like flavors. Think nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon and you’ve got this very special bottle. Having roasted chicken or lamb tonight? Skip that flabby red you were eye-ing and try this beaut.
2011 Husch Estate Gewürztraminer, Anderson Valley, CA – Gewürztraminer (pronounced Geh-VERTZ-trah-mee-nur) is a traditional German varietal but in the hands of California’s Husch Estates, find a worthy producer. The “gewurtz” part of the name translates to “spicy,” which isn’t always obvious with this varietal, but with this bottle you’ll get it. Intensely floral and full-bodied, the sustainably-produced Husch has a touch of residual sugar, resulting in a flavorful middle palate but surprisingly dry, characteristically spicy finish.

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