White wines you will love *

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These white wines manage colder temperatures brilliantly

The nor’easter that blew this week left a certain cold that finally telegraphed that autumn is here. If, like me, you’re not quite ready to give up some of your hot-weather drinking habits, there’s the good news: you don’t have to. Here are some whites for the transition to fall, wines that are structured enough to withstand the most rustic dishes of the season while offering a touch of freshness.

Chateau Guiraud Bordeaux Blanc 2019, Sauternes. Usually overshadowed by its red counterparts, Bordeaux Blanc has a moment and this example shows why. This chateau is one of the many traditional producers of sweet Sauternes which now also produces dry whites. Aromas of freshly cut wood and freshly raked earthy hummus are followed on the palate with nutty spice and a slightly oxidized style hinting at ripe yellow apples. Satisfying and deep. 14%

Matards Castle, Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux 2018. Similar in style to Guiraud’s, this warm and rich wine expresses yellow apple and quince with a lovely long nutty finish. I didn’t want it to end. It tastes of quality and prestige and is a great Burgundian impostor. 13.5%

Blue Oak “Aliot” 2015, IGP Vaucluse. I loved the artistic label of the medieval bottle and loved the wine inside, a rich blend of Roussanne (65%), Grenache blanc (30%) and Marsanne (5%). Aged in oak barrels for eight months, this is a rich, round and deep Burgundy style wine with cooked yellow apples and a tinge of oxidation. It is glorious. At 14.5% it’s not light, so do like me and grill some sausages with this one.

Chehalem Inox Unoaked Chardonnay 2019, Willamette Valley. A crisp expression of tangy green apple and pear with quince giving a tangy appearance – one of the many Chardonnay gems that come from this Oregon AVA (and stay tuned for more on that). Enjoy with braised Brussels sprouts, a notoriously difficult vegetable to pair. 12.5%

Domaine de Lange Chardonnay “Trois Collines” 2019, Willamette Valley. My tasting note on this reading “I love you Chardonnay! Another great example of what Willamette Valley can do. It had fruit purity and lovely round pear flavors and rich baked yellow apples (do you feel a theme here?), All enhanced by a savory herbaceous note.

Duchman family estate Viognier, Bingham Family Vineyards, 2019, Texas High Plains. I’m not a fan of Viognier, even (or especially) coming from his spiritual homeland Condrieu. But I love the Texas Viogniers for their packed styles that show Condrieu markers without the floral and peachy aromas and the glycerol palate that I find too heavy and difficult to pair with food. So, after removing that, this Duchman sample expresses the peach and honey notes you’d expect, but in a less stunning way with a bright acid that saves the day. Made from 100% Texas fruit. 14.1%

Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc “Te Koko” 2016, Marlborough. I admit I’m not a fan of the new world Sauvignon Blanc, but this one defies everything I thought of those who come from New Zealand. This example has a rich and deep expression that – wait! I would gladly reconsider all SB En Zed if they were in this style 13%

J. Lohr Sauvignon Blanc “Flume Crossing” 2020, Arroyo Seco (Monterey). While I’m at it, here is another new SB world that surprised me. This creamy, medium bodied sample had typical SB markers – lime and currant – but packed so as not to overwhelm the other components of the wine. I liked it with split pea and smoked ham soup. 13.5%

Bonterra Sauvignon Blanc, 2020. This completes the triumvirate of SB surprises! Made from organic grapes sourced from all over California (mostly Mendocino), it was a tasty surprise in a 1.5 liter can, showing off subtle grapefruit and kiwi fruit. Not a complex wine, but a very democratic choice for hosting large groups. 13.2%

Wedding Oak Winery Roussanne 2019, Texas High Plains. Rhone varieties are among the many stars of the Lone Star state, and this Roussanne with apple and white peach accents is one of them. Full and meaty, wide and pushing maturity levels (hey, this is Texas, so they’re doing big here), this is a more full bodied and satisfying white for a chilly evening. Tasty and enhanced with anise, this is another good Burgundian impostor. 14.1%


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