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For those who prefer white wine, but feel the need to only drink red in the winter. This blog post is for you. Below I explore the options of deep bold whites that have a little more warming alcohol and a place on your winter tablescape. The winter season has a vast variety of winter whites and we will dive into how versatile they actually are. Never have the winter woos for white wine again!
This was the lineup! You see I snuck in a dry rose. :)
So many wine glasses!
I recently led a Winter Whites Course at The Peach House where we explored just a few out of the many options for white wines in the winter months. What a great crew of kind people willing to learn a little more about the broad hobby of wine.
We teamed up with Equus Run Vineyards and featured some of their dry whites at our class. The lineup below is the order in which we tasted. All of the wines were 12% alcohol content or higher, had a higher acidity level, and of course leaned toward the dry side.
Equus Run's Sauvignon Blanc was truly delightful! I was so excited with the balance of this wine where it is light and refreshing, but dry at the same time. This was the lightest wine out of the winter lineup, but it still held its dry nature and paired with our heavier cheese selection. Generally with Sauvignon Blanc, you will expect a clean dry white with aromas anywhere from citrus to fresh cut grass. When pairing with food, remember that Sauvignon Blanc is a very food-friendly varietal.
Qualities: Pleasant Nose; Slightly Fruity; Smooth Finish; Great Balance!
Cheese Pairings: Drunken Goat (a hard goat cheese with a rind); Asiago; Chevre; Gruyere; Muenster
Food Pairings: Veggies; Shrimp; Mussels; Oysters; Savory Salads; Poultry
When choosing winter whites, Cabernet Dore was a no brainer. This about as bold and dry as the white wines come! (Check out the Cabernet Dore 101 Blog Post) Cabernet Dore holds an undeniable complexity you notice right away. I paired this wine with a creamy gouda cheese and honey. The creaminess coats the tongue and completely balances out the acidic nature of Cabernet Dore. When adding the honey it gave a beautiful balance of savory and sweet within the cheese itself! My tasters loved how gouda with honey paired with the Cabernet Dore, the combination mellowed each other out making for a beautiful combination.
Qualities: Pleasant Nose; Tart at First; Slightly Fruity; Dry; Smooth Aftertaste
Cheese Pairings: Gouda; Goat Cheese; Feta; Ricotta; Mozzarella
Food Pairings: White Fish; Pasta; Vegetarian Dishes
I had to toss in a dry rose! I loved opening people's minds in our class on how rose can be a winter wine too! Like Cabernet Dore, Zinthiana is a voluptuous bold and dry wine. The grape itself is a dark black skinned grape that makes a dark dry red wine, but the juice makes a beautiful peach color. So, we decided to keep it a rose. (Learn more over on my other blog post: All About Zinthiana Rose) I got a kick out of pairing the boujee rose with a simple cheddar cheese. You can have so much fun pairing a dry rose with a variety of unexpected salty foods.
Qualities: Floral Nose; Dry; Slight Tart Aftertaste
Cheese Pairings: Cheddar; Provolone; Ricotta; Truffle Brie; Herbed Artisan
Food Pairings: Grilled Cheese; Barbeque; Spicy Food
With Chardonnay being the number one selling white wine in the world, we thought it would be fitting to serve this at our course. We served Equus Run's Oak Chardonnay. Out of all the wines served, I would say this wine had the fullest body. When choosing a winter chardonnay try to avoid unoaked, look more for barrel aged, buttery, or oaky wines. I paired this varietal with a havarti cheese, the buttery soft sweetness paired well with Oak Chardonnay and really balanced out the oak.
Qualities: Oaky Nose; Buttery Aftertaste; Full bodied;
Cheese Pairings: Havarti; Blue Cheese; Asiago; Gouda; Parmesan; Provolone
Food Pairing: Poultry; Pork; Seafood with heavy cream base
At the end of my class I gave a tray of assorted pairings for my guests to pair with Equus Run's Bluegrass Bubbles White Sparkling Wine, and let them decide which pairing they liked best. The tray included apples, cheddar, brie, (there was one unidentified cheese on the tray, nobody including myself knew what it was- haha. I think it was mozzarella), and chocolate. I let them play around and mix and match until they came up with their favorite pairing. My guests did a fabulous job choosing brie as the winner- and I could not agree more! The creamy brie paired beautifully with the bubbles in the sparkling wine. Creamy cheeses with high butterfat content balances out the crisp bubbles.
Qualities: Buttery Nose; Apple Notes; Crisp at tip of tongue; Rounded Aftertaste
Cheese Pairings: Brie; Baby Swiss; Chevre; Camembert
Food Pairing: Buttery Foods; Salmon; Shortbread Cookies; Tarts
White wine is not just for summer time sipping. There are so many full-bodied whites that pair beautifully with charcuterie trays and bold cheeses. It is just a matter of choosing the right one! Hopefully this gave you some ideas. I learned a lot myself!