Though spring is on the horizon, a few nights may still require a glass of wine to warm you from the inside out. These white wine selections, delivering richness, texture, and complexity, will do just that. Some selections were sent for editorial consideration.
Rhone Valley wines and blends made from classic Rhone varieties are ideal for cool weather enjoyment. The character of Viognier, Roussanne, and Marsanne deliver white flower, blanched almond and stone fruit-filled wines with a medium body, warming you from the inside out.
Rhone’s Chateauneuf-de-Pape, Chateau de Nalys Châteauneuf-du-Pape Grand Vin Blanc ($105) from E. Guigal celebrates the elegance of these Rhone white varieties, delivering a graceful, structured wine with creamy vanilla, orange blossom, baking spice, and a lean note of rocky minerality.
Dry Riesling, with inherently high acidity, can be very lean, crisp, and clean. However, I recently enjoyed a stunning 2014 Alsace Grand Cru Riesling from Domaine Zind Humbrecht ($30) delivering a lush and exuberant wine, with lemon blossoms, crushed stone, honey, and orange peel.
Chardonnay is ideal for enjoyment on cool evenings, particularly options that go through malolactic fermentation or barrel aging, giving the wine a layer of creaminess. From Napa favorites from Cakebread, Frank Family, Duckhorn, and Chateau Montelena, to stellar Sonoma options from Jordan, Benovia, and Ram’s Gate, to the vibrant options from Willamette Valley, like those from Gran Moraine and Adelsheim Caitlin’s Reserve, American Chardonnay delivers premium quality and delicious taste.
From a relatively new California coastal AVA, Fort Ross Sea Slopes Chardonnay ($30) balances a dried stone-fruit-filled palate with zingy acidity, thanks to their rugged, rocky location right on the edge of the Pacific Ocean where ocean breezes capture freshness in the fruit.
Ramey Rochioli Vineyard Chardonnay ($65,) from Sonoma’s Russian River Valley, celebrates the history of this 80-year-old family estate, melding fragrant Meyer lemon, orchard fruit, and toasted cream with a backbone of fragrant spiciness.
Slightly savory, creamy and rich, Stonestreet Estate Bear Point Vineyard Chardonnay ($60) layers caramel, golden apple, and lemon curd, finishing with a touch of briny salinity.
Aromatic Paul Hobbs Crossbarn Sonoma Coast Chardonnay ($27) melds honeysuckle and stone fruit with ripe honeydew melon.
Lloyd Chardonnay ($40) from the Sangiacomo Vineyard in Carneros reveals baked apple, toasted vanilla cream, and juicy guava notes.
With a well-integrated, fruit-forward palate, Gundlach Bundschu Chardonnay ($27) highlights crisp green apple, winter melon, and lemon-lime citrus notes.
Opening with butterscotch and toasted orange peel, Ziata Chardonnay ($50) is lush yet refined, with sweet spice and juicy pear.
Zesty tropical notes of lilikoi and pineapple lift from a glass of ZD Chardonnay ($42) highlighting the ripe juiciness of California Chardonnay, blending fruit from Napa, Sonoma, Monterey, and Santa Barbara.
Textured, expressive Stoller Reserve Chardonnay ($35) melds ripe lemon and baked biscuits with steely, crushed stone minerality.
Argyle Nuthouse Chardonnay ($40) showcases ripe fig, green apple, toffee, and toasted hazelnut.
Willamette’s Ponzi Reserve Chardonnay sees 100 percent spontaneous malolactic fermentation and 20 months of barrel aging, giving this creamy custard and maple filled wine depth and palate coating richness.
In Mendoza’s Lujan de Cuyo and Tupungato regions, with elevations ranging from 3000-4500 feet, Alma Negra “V” ($20) blends Chardonnay, Viognier, and perfumed Gewurztraminer, aging the wine for six months in predominantly new French and American oak, creating a deep golden, honeyed wine with bright acidity.
Blending Chardonnay with textured Rhone varieties, Prisoner Wine Company “Blindfold” ($32) delivers blanched almond, mandarin, and nectarine, with a lovely, lingering finish.
From Texas High Plains Grenache Blanc, Marsanne, Piquepoul Blanc, and Roussanne, McPherson Cellars “Les Copains” ($27) is a harmonious Rhone-inspired white layered with peach, honeysuckle, and tropical mango.
Washington State’s Maryhill “Aurelia” Proprietor’s Reserve Roussanne -Marsanne ($17) is soft and gentle, revealing caramel, white flower, and juicy pineapple. Highlighting more stone fruit, Maryhill Viognier ($19) leads with apricot, white peach, and golden grapefruit.