Most people think of white wine as a warm-weather drink. A chilled glass of Riesling or a frosty Sauv Blanc on a hot day might sound like the only way, but here are some whites that will bring you comfort as the weather gets cooler.
I’d like to see the rulebook that says you can only drink white wine in summer and red wine in winter.
Perhaps it’s down to the mistake that many people make of drinking their wine at the wrong temperature:
The idea that red wine should be at ‘room temperature’ and white wine should be as close to freezing point as possible. That’s really not giving your wine its best chance to shine.
We’ve written about this before – you can find out the best temperature for your wine here – but basically your red wine should probably be a lot cooler than the temperature of your room and your white wine should definitely be a lot warmer than the inside of your fridge.
But why am I waffling on about this? What’s the bottom line?
Well, now that you know your white wine can (and should) be a lot warmer than a fridgey 1-4dC, the idea of enjoying a beautiful glass of white in colder months make a lot more sense, doesn’t it?
To help with your winter white options, here are 9 we love drinking when the sun starts getting a bit further away from us.
9 cold weather whites to see you through the chilly season
We’ve been big fans of Scarborough wine for years now, and all of their range is bankable. But it’s their Chardonnay that always really stands out and The Obsessive is the family’s finest example of that.
This wine is so full of body and texture, I wouldn’t be surprised if you could pair this up with red meat without worrying too much. So if it’s a warming white you’re after, this is an excellent place to start.
Probably the best-known winery from Chile, Casillero del Diablo always produces stand-up wine. The Chardonnay – a sure favourite of Rocky Flintstone’s – is a lively, fruit-driven wine with a slight nuttiness from the French oak aging.
Made from grapes grown at an average of 660m above sea level, this McWilliams range shows just how good high-altitude, cold-climate Australian wines can get.
This wooded Chardonnay, which is from Tumbarumba on western fringe of the Kosciuszko National Park, is full of biscuity nuttiness and toasty grilled stone fruit. The bright citrus tone running high through the palate brings everything into order and balances the wine for a long, lovely finish.
We also love the artwork on this label.
The Baily & Baily Venture Series harnesses the knowledge of master winemakers from wineries around Australia to make iconic wines that represent regions known for specific varietals.
The series’ Riesling from Clare Valley, SA is by Mockingbird Hill’s Matt Reimann, also in Clare Valley. Although it’s a crisp, bright wine, this Riesling’s complex enough to bring a smile to your face even when it’s cold and cloudy outside.
5. François Martenot Grands Prés Mâcon-Villages Chardonnay
With a history dating back to 16th Century, this Burgundy winery has had plenty of time to perfect their trade. The Mâcon-Villages Chardonnay is testament to the fact that if perfection isn’t theirs yet it’s close by.
Structured, balanced and fruit-led, this Chardonnay stops the SADs with its gentle rosy aroma and its detail-oriented flavours.
6. Craftsman Style Series Chardonnay
‘Smooth and Buttery’ might not be what you’re looking for in a Chardonnay (and haven’t been since the early ‘90s), but don’t take the label’s word for it. This Chardonnay is very much a present-day drink.
Stone fruit and soft citrus lead the way, but are tempered with oak that smooths it all out to a long-lasting finish.
Buy Smooth & Buttery Chardonnay – $15.00
From the low-yield vines of the Barossa Valley, Cat Amongst the Pigeons wines embrace a tricky philosophy that ‘quality is determined by palate not price’. Time and time again though, we see this winery produce wine that punches above its weight.
As for this Chardonnay, just a sniff brings back the feeling of summer with aromas of tropical and stone fruit. There’s a slight oakiness there too, which adds to the depth of this end-of-summer instant favourite.
This New Zealand winery is set on mineral-rich land full of calcium and limestone in its thick clay. This minerality comes out in all their wines and concentrates the flavours. Add to that the low intervention and sustainable practices, and you’ve got wine that comes out just as it should be.
Probably the most difficult to pair with a cold evening, a Pinot Gris is often one you want to drink cold, but this one from Isabel Estate smells of red apple skin and quince, and has underlying spicy ginger tones. All this with the fresh stony palate from the Marlborough earth and you’ve got a great wine in front of you.
Made on the island state of Tasmania, the wine from Josef Chromy Estate is always welcome in our house rain, shine, sun or snow… not that it snows much in Sydney. An inspiring man with an incredible story https://www.josefchromy.com.au/joes-story , Josef Chromy brings strength to the amazing quality of food and wine in Tasmania – and his cellar door in Launceston is well worth a visit.
Lime, white peach and subtle hazelnut characters in the Joseph Chromy Chardonnay all balance with a rich mineral quality. This is a perfect wine to enjoy any time of the year, but even more so as the weather cools.
When we first heard of this, we were surprised how ‘warm’ white wine should be when you serve it to get the best from it. And also how ‘cool’ reds should be too.
I’m not saying pop your Chardonnay in the oven or invest in a cryogenics system for your reds, but the numbers were a lot different to what we thought would be an appropriate temperature for wine.
Here’s a rough guide we use, though many wines will be slightly different, even within a varietal.
Sparkling and Sav Blanc = 6-8dC
Riesling and Pinot Gris = 8-10dC
Chardonnay = 10-12dC
Pinot Noir = 12-14dC
Tempranillo and Merlot = 14-16dC
Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz =16-18dC
The difference between what common belief and correct drinking temperature probably comes from the fact that wine has been around for centuries, and modern refrigeration and air conditioning hasn’t.
‘Room temperature’ was a lot lower back in the day, which means reds should be cooler than our luxurious 24dC front rooms. As for our ‘chilled’ whites, I think we can blame that on laziness. It’s just easier than giving a specific number.
Either way, the idea that white wine should be served colder than red wine has been around for longer than refrigeration. This makes we wonder if we weren’t supposed to drink whites in the winter anyway.
What do you like to drink when the nights draw in and thoughts go to the electric blanket? Tell us in the comments below!