I'm Dreaming of a White (Wine) Christmas
Updated: Apr 29
A few weeks ago, I posted a blog post that addressed a few common wine etiquette myths. Among these popular misconceptions was the idea that wine is seasonal. Meaning, you can only drink white wine in the summer, due to its light and refreshing nature, and red wine in the winter, since they're typically more robust and fuller in body. I concluded my well-researched thought by saying that y'all should just drink what you want when you want. And I still stand by that!
But there is also a reason why this myth exists in the vino zeitgeist.
If we get into the nitty-gritty of it, there are some white wines that pair better than others with meals you typically eat in the winter. The warm, heavier meals that fill you up and make you want to veg out on the couch afterward.
There are also white wines that are fuller in body, a trait that holds a candle to their red wine counterparts. If you're typically a white wine drinker and want to experiment with more "winter-friendly" whites, or are craving something a little more robust, check out my suggestions below. And hey, maybe you'll try something new! Which is always a goal of mine. We're here to experiment. With wine. If you do end up trying a new style that you wouldn't normally try, let me know what you think of it!
No "full-body white wine" list is complete without mentioning Chardonnay. Or, more specifically, California Chardonnay. Oaked Chardonnay is made using a method called "malolactic fermentation." Meaning, the tart-tasting malic acid is converted into softer-tasting lactic acid. With lactic acid, think lactose. Lactic acid is the reason why you often get a creamy or buttery taste in your golden colored Chardonnay.
Oaked Chardonnay is not for everyone, and Chardonnay in general is a widely controversial grape. You either love it or you hate it. If you are in the camp of people that love it, try pairing it with a nicely seasoned poultry dish, or a delightful creamy pasta salad to complement the texture of the wine. If you hate it, try tasting an unoaked Chardonnay or a Chablis. Oftentimes, those who claim they don't like Chardonnay are referring to California Chard. But these are lighter in body, and I'm getting off-topic. So let's move on.
Chenin Blanc is a great middle-ground between Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. It rivals the mouth-feel of a Chardonnay but carries the sharp acidity of a classic Sauvignon. Its medium-body structure isn't too overwhelming. This makes it the perfect choice for the "white wine only" drinker. If you're new to Chenin Blanc, try picking up a bottle from South Africa the next time you find yourself shopping around. Otherwise known as "steen," Chenin Blanc is the signature grape of South Africa. And it's delicious.
The awesome thing about Chenin Blanc is that, due to its versatility, you can pair it with any dish. This wine goes great with your starter salad, your entree chicken dish, or even your sweet dessert. Just be sure to check what style your wine is (Chenin Blanc can be oaked or unoaked and dry or sweet), and pair accordingly.
Viognier is a great white wine that totes a solid medium body mouthfeel. It tends to have a very oily texture (which sounds weird when referring to wine, but I promise you it's not) and is often aged in oak. This is what we can attribute its fuller body to. As a general reference - our OG full-bodied white wine friend, the California Chardonnay, is aged in oak barrels. This is a contributing factor to its robust feeling when you drink it.
At your next holiday gathering (whether it be this year or 2021), try pairing a Viognier with your favorite semi-sweet dessert. More specifically, this wine couples well with a mixed berry or cherry pie, or an almond tart.
A rule of thumb when pairing your wine with your desserts: the wine should be as sweet or sweeter than the dessert you are eating. If you pair your dry Viognier with something containing too much sugar, it will severely affect the flavors of both the wine and dish.
You've never had a Roussanne? You've never even heard of Roussanne? What is wrong with you?!
I'm just kidding. Of course.
This dry, white, medium-full bodied wine is low in acid and extremely fun for pairing. Originating in France, this grape is now mainly grown in Italy, Australia, and America. The taste is often compared to herbal tea and contains aromas like pear, chamomile, and even brioche buns. Bring this unique wine to your next family get-together and you'll be sure to impress them with your newfound wine knowledge, and your unique taste in beverages.
Consider pairing this exclusive wine with any cream sauces, spicy foods, or Asian cuisine. It's very versatile and can handle a variety of different food flavors and dishes. Roussanne is so low maintenance that it may just be your new best friend.
Which white wines do y'all love drinking during this time? Let me know in the comments below!
P.S Here's a Mariah GIF because I know it's what we all need right now.