No Spitting Allowed: Fragrant White Wines for Winter

Drink reviews with honest verdicts

Hearty foods and big red wines are the faire de saison, but sometimes we need to drink some white wines to remind us that warmer days are coming. We’ll be examining several over the next few weeks, so let’s start with the white pinots, a couple of rieslings, and a cross with Swiss roots.


2010 Alois Lageder Dolomiti müller thurgau

The Swiss Dr. Müller crossed riesling with something — what is still being argued — 130 years ago, and the grape spread in northern European vineyards like kudzu with a not much better reputation. Be that as it may, Lageder has done a good job with it here. The wine has gewürtz-like, spicy aromas; the tastes are tart apple and dried herbs with good minerality and earthiness. It finishes pleasantly tart.

Verdict: More often than is credited, the winemaker actually is the deciding factor in how good the wine is. ($15)


2010 Galer Estate Pennsylvania pinot gris

The first release from this Chester County estate bodes well for the winery. The wine is clean and vibrant with lots of pear tones, good minerality, and balanced acidity. Just a delight to drink.

Verdict: If this wine doesn’t make you think of spring, what will? ($20)


2010 Alois Lageder Dominiti pinot bianco

Pretty floral aromas fool us a bit, because the wine is quite crisp and dry with flavors of applesauce and cloves. A lot of minerality and very much a food — not a sipping — wine. As I was drinking it, I had visions of panned-fried lake perch.

Verdict: This wine says, let’s cut the chitchat and head for the table. ($14)

2010 Tenutae Lageder "Porer" pinot grigio

The single-vintage wine is more-structured than most PGs, although it is round and somewhat generous. Flavors are orange peel, white flowers, and just a touch of cloves. Good minerality.

Verdict: This one says, "OK, maybe some toasted almonds as we get to know each other, then let’s head to the table." ($23)


2010 Château Tanunda Grand Barossa riesling

Classic petroleum nose that many rieslings have along with a hint of gaminess. But the tastes don’t quite carry though — light in flavors (orange and brioche) without much structure.

Verdict: Certainly not a charmer, but nevertheless serviceable. ($15)


2010 Pacific Rim Columbia Valley riesling

Clean "angelic" nose. Toward the sweet side, but it still falls within the table-wine category. Hints of cinnamon to go with the apple. Enjoyable, but not memorable. (Made from organically grown grapes.)

Verdict: A good wedding wine — something to please everyone, but it won’t draw attentions from the festivities. ($13

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