Embracing a welcome change of pace to drinking heavy cabernets this winter, here are some full-bodied white wines to sip while winter finishes its course.
Sun Wine Kisi Qvevri Dry Amber
It’s no surprise that the country of Georgia is experiencing a wine boom in the U.S. The fact that Georgia is one of the oldest winemaking regions in the world came to light five years ago, when archeologists discovered qvevri (pronounced “kway-vree”), traditional clay vessels used in winemaking. Inside the qvevri were grape seeds dating to 6,000 BCE. UNESCO was so amazed by the longevity of these ancient clay jars that they included qvevri on its Intangible Cultural Heritage list in 2013.
A bottle of 2019 Kisi Qvevri, a dry amber wine, offers a luscious mouthfeel. This is a rare grape varietal of Georgia, made in a traditional clay vessel, a qvevri, skins-on to create a full-bodied “orange” wine. Deep citrus notes and hints of black tea on the finish. Bottle price: $22
Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve 2018 Chardonnay
If a wine could taste like slipping on a classic little black dress, this golden wine would be the perfect fit. It has remained the cream of the crop of Chardonnay’s for over 25 years, and this year, especially, it’s best enjoyed with a favorite companion during an indoor picnic.
Behind the making of this wine, whole grape clusters were pressed to retain the fresh fruit qualities and the fruit was sur lie aged with monthly battonage (lees stirring) to create a Kendall-Jackson signature velvety texture and creamy flavor.
Its silky texture delivers powerful and seductive tropical notes of pineapple, mango and papaya and aromas of vanilla, honey and toasted oak. If this wine were a celebrity, it would be Meryl Streep, simply due to its versatility to act as a lovely accompaniment to winter squash, creamy pasta dishes and pork loin. Bottle price: $17
2018 Rkatsiteli Qvevri Dry Amber Wine
In traditional unfiltered qvevri style, Rkatsiteli, which literally translates to “red stem,” is made of Georgian grape seeds whose history dates back to 3000 BC. This sumptuous wine is “orange” and offers a ripe citrus bouquet and sweeping, complex palate of dried orange peel, sweet tea, stone fruits and a lingering finish of caramel. Bottle price: $20
2019 Banfi La Pettegola Vermentino of Toscana IGT
Central Italy vermentino grapes make this choice a nice change of pace to a traditional sauvignon blanc. Its crisp bouquet of fresh-cut bouquet leads to a palate of grapefruit and pineapple, a bit of honey, with a lemon-citrus lingering finish. Enjoy with a salmon taco. Bottle price: $19.99
2019 Banfi Principessa Gavia Gavi DOCG
Its bouquet is more subtle than its taste, which lends to a full-on intensity of fruitiness and a tingle telltale of a slight secondary fermentation. The story behind the label will lend to a tingly sensation: Princess Gavia’s love story is the stuff of legends. In the 6th century, Gavia fell in love with a soldier. Their marriage was forbidden by her father, Clodimir, King of the Franks, so they ran away, eloped, and settled in northwestern Italy in the Gavi region of Novi Ligure, which was surrounded by vineyards. This is a wine best served as an aperitif with seafood hors d’oeuvres. Bottle price: $19.99
In this year of the pivot and discovering a new you, do you dare to be different? If so, winter whites are a good start.
Charlene Peters, a.k.a. Sip Tripper, reviews wines, travels the world and authored a book of her culinary travels, titled “Travel Makes Me Hungry: Tales of indigenous tastes & recipes to share,” available on Amazon.