Welcome to deep winter. It’s time to get cozy, light a fire in the fireplace, let the radiators go full blast (only to open the window on a 2-degree night to cool down), finally watch the shows at the bottom of the watch list, and have a glass of white wine. Wait, what? Yes, there are white wines on shelves and sites right now that would pair with winter dishes, as well as a toasty Netflix and chill night.
What’s annoying about the old, tired adage “white wine with fish red wine with meat” is that it’s so not true, but at the same time, it’s so true. Phrases like these were around long before the world was introduced to deeply oaked California Chardonnay.
After Prohibition, U.S. drinkers pretty much had to relearn how to enjoy wine that wasn’t sweet, boozy, and illegal. And everything from sayings like this one to the advent of tasting rooms and the point system were tools used to rebuild our nascent wine-drinking culture.
Fast forward to today, and more people are drinking more wines from a wider variety of places and grapes than ever before, and the old ways need to be adjusted.
White wine and fish is an amazing pairing. The natural acidity in even the heaviest white wine will match with the citric acids and natural fats that make up many seafood dishes. But just as the fat and acid of a fish dish can pair with a white, so too can the acid and fat of some meat dishes.
From grilled pork, to filet mignon, to filled pasta, many white wines available today are very satisfying with hearty cold- weather dishes. Even with a plate of local cheeses and cured cuts, the simple depth and slight acidity of a white can be an event all on its own.
Here are some whites wines that rhyme with winter.
The slight weight of this wine is so pleasant that even as vibrant acidity refreshes the palate, the lingering depth accents aromas of honey and a bouquet of white flowers. There is also a whiff of citrus aromas like lemon peel and sweet orange blossom. This would be awesome with a fish stew or semi-hard cheeses like cheddar or anything from goat’s milk.
This wine has some legit depth that is balanced by good acidity and a subtle oak influence. It is structured very well and can hang with the easiest of meat dishes. Just fire up a filet mignon dressed only with the char from the broiler or grill. That with a side of roasted root vegetables, and this wine will make you cozy inside and out.
Salty and balanced by a nice weight on the palate, the bracing acidity of this wine allows for a nice grip on the palate. It makes me think of the tight, lean grain of a pork cutlet sautéed in butter or grilled and finished with a Robert sauce made of onions, mustard, and a bit of this wine.
This is an earthy white wine. It’s comfy. The acidity is leveled, almost holding up the depth to lift on your palate just slightly. It would be great with a meat-filled pasta — like tortellini with a beef and pork mixture and a dash of nutmeg — or herbed mushrooms over polenta.
It’s got weight. The kind of weight that feels just right on the palate. Smells of cracked peppercorns and honey roll up into your brain as the aromas touch your nose. There is even a nice subtle whiff of oranges. I want this wine with a chicken stuffed with goat cheese and herbs, or maybe just some root veggies with earthy toasted caraway seeds. Or both!
Cantina Tramin – Kellerei Tramin Pinot Grigio 2018
Honey and river rocks on the nose, a mineral-driven palate with a slight depth, and a little grippiness, this is not your typical Pinot Grigio. It has structure and weight and is a very balanced wine,great for a casual winter dinner after a day in the snow. Pair it with a platter of various meats, cheeses, and some salty beef carpaccio.