Baby, it’s cold outside! But you can get warm and cozy on the inside with some medium and full-bodied winter whites. Because who doesn’t like a great body-ody? You see, all white wines aren’t meant to be light and refreshing. There are some that are complex, concentrated and, well BIG. Remember, these styles should not be served super cold, rather, “lightly chilled “between 50-55℉ in order for the flavors to fully open and come alive.
|Sparkling||Well chilled||43°-50°||Champagne, Cava, Asti, Crément|
|Light/Med Bodied Whites||Chilled||45°-50°||Pinot Grigio, Sancerre, Chenin Blanc|
|Med/Full Bodied Whites (i.e. Oaked), Light Rosés||Lightly chilled||50°-55°||Fiano, Oaked Chardonnay, Languedoc Rosé|
|Light Bodied Reds, Fuller Rosés||Lightly chilled||55°||Beaujolais, Light Pinot Noirs|
|Med/Full Bodied Reds||Room temp||59°-64°||Big California Cabernets, Zinfandel, Bordeaux, Rioja, Australian Shiraz, Barolo, Vintage Port, Oaked Pinot Noir|
Let’s get ta sipping!
10 White Wines With Body
Marsanne is a white grape from France’s Northern Rhône with round flavors of lemon, pear, quince, melon, and baking spice. It is sometimes produced as a single varietal, but is most known for being a blending partner with its best friend… Roussanne. In some Rhône AOCs, small amounts of Marsanne are even blended with Syrah to add richness and weight to the finished wine.
Fiano is an Italian white grape found in Campania and on the island of Sicily. The wine has a long history and dates back to Roman times. As a small, thick-skinned berry, the grape produces relatively low yields and small amounts of juice. However, its juice is often mixed with its lees (dead yeast cells) for an extended period of time, adding to its rich complexity and flavor depth. Its primary fruit flavors are those of green and stone fruits, like green apple, pear, peach, melon and mango. It is also well-known for its notable honey and nut flavors. In addition, its floral and herbal profile creates an aromatic and minty aroma. Although most Fianos are meant to be enjoyed young, premium expressions can age in the bottle for years.
Gewürztraminer is a white grape from Germany and France, and is one of the 4 noble varieties allowed in Alsace. It is very floral and aromatic, with flavors of orange, peach, apricot, pineapple, white flower, rose, honeysuckle, and honey. It is know for its perfume and pungent spicy aromas, which jump right out of the glass. It can be made in both dry and sweet styles.
Pinot Gris/Grigo is a semi-aromatic white grape variety known by “Gris” in France and “Grigio” in Italy. The Pinot Gris grapes from France, commonly in the Alsace region, are picked later in the season than Pinot Grigio grapes from Italy. The delayed harvest causes the grapes to be riper and more complex than its Italian counterparts. As a result, the riper flavors display stone and tropical fruit notes like peach, nectarine and pineapples.
Semillon is a white grape from Bordeaux, France. It is famously blended with Sauvignon Blanc to add body and structure to Bordeaux Blanc, or “White Bordeaux.” It has flavors of lemon, lime, pear, stone fruit, white flower, honey, beeswax and sometimes even petroleum. Sauternes is a sweet wine made from moldy Semillon grapes. In wet, humid vineyards, grape-growers allow a fungus known as Botrytis to infect the ripe Semillon grapes, causing a condition called “Noble Rot.” It is then blended with Sauvignon Blanc for the final wine, which boasts sweet flavors of peach, honeysuckle, butterscotch and baking spices.
Rousanne is a white grape from France’s Northern Rhône region and is usually blended with its infamous bestie, Marsanne. These two varieties are the only white grapes allowed in the Northern Rhône. Roussane is known for its high acidity and aromatic perfume characteristics. It is also famously blended with Syrah in the highly-esteemed AOCs of Saint-Joseph, Hermitage, and Crozes Hermitage. It is known for its stone-fruit flavors, including apricot, nectarine, peach, and melon. Roussanne also has subtle hints of pear, fresh flowers, honeysuckle, herbs, and baked bread. Premium expressions can age for many years in the bottle and develop additional tertiary flavors of honey, nuts and hay.
Viognier is an aromatic white grape variety that most commonly grows in France’s Rhone region. Although Viognier wines can be made light and fresh, they are commonly produced as fuller styles with intense floral and perfume notes. With the right exposure to sun, the grapes are able to accumulate the sugar and flavor complexities required to produce medium-full bodied white wines. Its base profile boasts hints of green fruit like apples and pears, as well as riper stone fruits such as peaches, apricots and nectarines. Viognier also has intense aromatic notes to echo the scents of jasmine and other white flowers. Oaked expressions further develop flavors of vanilla and sweet spice.
Assyrtiko is a white grape that is native to the Greek region of Santorini. Here, it is one of the most widely-planted white varieties and thrives in the volcanic ash soils of the Aegean Islands. Assyrtiko can be made into both a dry or sweet wine and is sometimes blended with Sauvignon Blanc or Semillon. Its primary fruit flavors are citrus, stone, and tropical fruits. As an aromatic variety, it also portrays a signature perfume and blossom aroma. Assyrtiko vine roots can reach many feet below the earth’s surface, which adds a mineral characteristic to the finished wine. One of its most notable characteristics is its high acidity.
Garganega is a white grape from the Veneto region of Northern Italy. It is the variety used in the famous Suave and Suave Classico DOCs, where premium expressions are produced. Along with its tangy acidity, Garganega has flavors of lemon, golden apple, peach, melon, white flower, nuts and honey.
Arinto is a white grape from Portugal, and one of the grapes that make up the famous Vhino Verde blend. It has flavors of lemon, apple, rich peach, lime, white flowers and minerals.
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