Tag Archives: white wines

The best white wines for winter sips

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.

On or off the rocks? 6 picks for National White Wine Day

During uncertain times, there is one thing for certain – white wines pair well with summertime. In honor of National White Wine Day, here are six selections to enjoy on or off the rocks, as recommended.

#1 – In a nod to 1950s Paris, Le Goût d’Autrefois Blanc Limé, a Vignoble Ducourt Bordeaux refresher with lemon, lime grapefruit, sauvignon blanc, semillon and bubbles, is the only one of these wines where ice cubes are preferred. This slightly bubbled spritzer is the perfect gateway wine for newbies or for those who prefer a light wine with low alcohol (8%).

$17 for each impressively designed bottle with retro hinged closure.

#2 – Better known for its production of premier pinot noir, the Willamette Valley in Oregon offers an exotic cedar + salmon 2018 pinot gris to sip throughout summer and beyond. During peach harvest time, this wine’s stone fruit aromas call to the season. Like a ripe peach, each sip of this pinot gris is refreshing and rich with exotic fruit flavors that include kiwi and guava. Chill before serving with grilled white fish or roasted chicken and veggies, but please… leave out the ice cubes.

$18.99 per bottle www.cedarandsalmonwines.com

#3 – Vranken-Pommery recently launched a single vineyard Louis Pommery Carneros Chardonnay 2019, and you will definitely want to sip on this beyond summer – without adding ice. By all means, however, chill before sipping. You’ll notice an expressive palate of creamy honey, attributed to the slight malolactic fermentation, and cantaloupe, and maybe even a touch of almond paste. Best served with blue cheeses or any creamy cheeses, and dessert of crème brulee.

$29.99 per bottle www.vrankenpommery.com

#4 – New Age Sweet Wine is a versatile wine to drink on its own, on the rocks – YES! – or mixed as a cocktail. I am typically not a fan of sweet wines – other than port – but I drank my glass on its own, sans ice – and it was quite pleasant on a warmer than usual day. Made with Argentinian grapes: 90% Torrontes and 10% Sauvignon Blanc, try on ice with a slice of lime or splash of gin and slice of grapefruit to change things up a bit. Pair with Indian, Thai, Chinese or Japanese dishes.

$12.99 per bottle www.quintessentialwines.com

#5 – Georges Duboeuf Pouilly-Fuissé 2018 Chardonnay is a French wine that deserves the royal treatment – so please do not add ice! Serve chilled as an aperitif or with lobster, cured salmon toasts, or cheeses. Better yet, set the bottle aside as it ages well. In typical French style, expect notes of acacia flowers with balanced minerality and… a finish of chestnut! Oh yes. Quality counts.

$39.99 per bottle www.quintessentialwines.com

#6 – Last, but certainly not least, is another Georges Duboeuf, but this time a brilliant pale gold Mâcon-Villages 2018 Chardonnay. The complexity in this wine offers loads of citrus… think lemony, and a nutty bouquet mixed with white flowers typical of France. This is a summer fresh white wine that is lovely when chilled, but please do not add ice.

$22.99 per bottle www.quintessentialwines.com

On a white wine bender


One of my top favorite red varietals is pinot noir, which MacMurray Ranch does quite well. Their 2010 Russian River Valley Sonoma County pinot noir ($27) is nice, but a bit too much acidity for my palate. The growing season for 2010 was met with challenges of record-breaking low temperatures in spring, and then lots of rain — leading to late bud break and more acidity in the grapes. It works if paired with the right dishes, such as bacon-wrapped double cut pork chop, a recipe courtesy of MacMurray Ranch.

But what really caught my palate in a pleasurable taste sensation was MacMurray Ranch chardonnay ($20), a 2011 made with grapes from the Russian River Valley in Sonoma County, California. This cool climate varietal is perfection in a glass, aged in a mixture of new and used French, European and American oak barrels at medium-plus toast levels. With this chardonnay, I enjoyed dinner of lobster ravioli covered in Parmesan cheese, lemon, butter, wine and garlic sauce.

Now I wanted to explore more white wines. So I did.

A Mirassou 2012 sauvignon blanc ($12) proved luxurious, a wine you can choose to drink on its own or paired with appetizers. I chose to offer it alone as a welcome sip to arriving dinner guests. This gave a feel of high society somehow — to simply sip and greet guests. Once the appetizers were brought to the table, the wine remained loyal in taste. Perhaps it’s the Meyer lemon aroma, but it seemed the perfect wine to cleanse our palates before the main course.

On a separate occasion I opened a bottle of 2012 Mirassou moscato ($12) made with California grapes — 35 percent from San Luis Obispo County — a destination I have yet to taste my way through. When I first sipped this wine, I craved brie cheese. But I didn’t have any, but I did have an event to attend — a lobster festival of fresh steamed lobsters and clam chowder. This sweet wine is best served with friends.

Finally, I opened a 2012 Mirassou riesling ($12), a fruity concoction made with grapes from the Central Coast and Russian River Valley in California. Now, I am not the biggest fan of riesling, especially when it comes to the acidity. But this riesling was quite enjoyable two nights in a row. The first night, I enjoyed a glass with dinner of organic chicken pie, applesauce and Brussels sprouts. The next night, I enjoyed the remainder with a friend, dipping chips in a cheesy sour cream dip before dinner of creole shrimp and sweet potato grits. We both agreed this was a stand-up riesling.

Will my feast on fine white wines continue for a while? Probably. In fact, with Champagne season fast approaching — holiday parties and New Year’s Eve on the horizon, it’s a safe bet.

For more information, visit www.Mirassou.com or follow them on Facebook.