Man (and woman) cannot live by root vegetables, beef stew, and murky Rhône Valley syrahs alone!
As we delve into the heart of winter, we need fresh and fruity, well-structured white wines to go with creamy chicken dishes, piping-hot fish stews, and roasted birds in creamy butter sauces.
Here are 11 American whites — mainly California chardonnays — that give a variety of flavors and textures that will help you make it through the cold winds and blowing snows.
Robert Mondavi Napa Valley Fume Blanc 2014 ($15)
Well-rounded, fruity but dry with a little spritz — always a category leader.
Franciscan Napa Valley Chardonnay 2014 ($16)
Quite enjoyable — long on the palate with lots of tangy apple accents.
Macari “Early Wine” North Fork of Long Island 2015 ($18)
A white equivalent of all those nouveau reds — fresh and fun and a little sweet and juicy as a fresh wine should be.
Concannon Monterey County Chardonnay 2012 ($20)
Decant this, as it comes a little too oaky out of the bottle — ripe fruits with good structure and minerality.
Priest Ranch Napa Valley Grenache Blanc 2014 ($21)
We seldom hear about the white grenache grape in the U.S., although it’s quite common in the South of France. It turns out quite nicely here, with bright, fresh fruit that reminds me of sauvignon blanc with flavors of kiwi and citrus.
Anaba Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2013 ($28)
Interesting wine that could be complex but comes across as not being totally knit together — oak notes, lots of creaminess, a little on the sweet/fruity side of chard.
Biltmore “Antler Hill” Russian River Chardonnay 2012 ($29)
Interesting, with creamy, peachy, cocoanut flavors, smooth, but not much structure. A pleasant “poof” of a wine.
Bennett Lane “Sangiacomo” Los Carneros Chardonnay 2013 ($41)
Creamy vanilla and apple flavors with a fair amount of oak on the finish.
Admirable Santa Barbara County Blanc & Blanc 2014 ($49)
The back story is that this is made by Beatrice Cointreau, whose family made, then sold, the French orange liqueur. The front story is that this blend of viognier and chardonnay is only partially successful, as it tastes pretty but combines flavors and textures more than blends them. Viognier can be a dominating grape, and it is here with peach and white flower flavors and aromas.
Three Sticks “Durrell” Sonoma Valley Chardonnay 2013 ($51)
A lovely wine — creamy and mellow with some lemon notes, yet good backbone and structure.
Albatross Ridge Carmel Valley Chardonnay 2013 ($53)
Pleasant — there are a lot of vanilla, fresh-wood notes that are not totally integrated. It could use a little more overall structure.