​A cluster of winter friendly white wines

Winter whites 2023 ©Richard Esling WineWyseWinter whites 2023 ©Richard Esling WineWyse
Winter whites 2023 ©Richard Esling WineWyse
​After a delayed start with great weather in September and the first two-thirds of October, Autumn has come with a vengeance with high winds and torrential rain, though as yet, not too cold.

Winter is quite clearly just around the corner, time to rattle the pans in the kitchen and rustle up some tasty dishes as comfort through the darker days and inclement weather. And naturally, tasty dishes cry out for tasty wines. Below are six whites I recommend, all of which are fabulous food wines. Next week’s column will recommend some delicious reds.

Abbotts and Delaunay Les Fruits Sauvages Chardonnay 2021 comes from the Languedoc and is a fresh, fruitier style French Chardonnay from carefully tended vineyards in the south of France, looking after the environment as well as the soil and the vines. An elegant, unoaked style wine, with considerable complexity on the palate. Typical buttery character of chardonnay, with aromas and flavours of granny smiths, comice pears and hazelnuts. Pair with a goat’s cheese and courgette quiche or pan-fried scallops with leeks. Majestic £9.99 mix six price.

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Coming from the same stable is Domaine de la Métairie d’Alon Le Village 2022, a Chardonnay from the low mountains around Limoux, from organic vineyards which are hand harvested. A very Burgumdy-esque white, with elegance, richness and fullness from part lees ageing. Beautifully balanced with intense flavours of ripe stone-fruit with touches of citrus and dough. Majestic again at £17.99 mix six. Perfect with roast chicken and sage and onion stuffing.

Still staying with the south of France is M. Chapoutier Bila Haut 2021 from the Cotes du Roussillon. Chapoutier is one of the greatest Rhone producers, also making wine in the south of France. High altitiude vineyards again impart freshness and vibrancy, from a Grenache Blanc dominated blend of grape varieties. Appealing aromatic nose, with salty and smoky notes on the elegantly mineral palate, with both freshness and richness combined. Seabass fillets or garlicky grilled king prawns would match a treat. £13.75 from Laithwaites and independents.

Moving across Europe and further south, Esporão Reserva White 2021 comes from the rugged Alentejo region of Portugal. Made from local varieties on 20-year-old vines farmed organically, the wine is aged for 6 months in oak to enhance the complexity. Rich, creamy, classy and fabulous quality for the price, with elegance and poise – around £19 -£21 from independents such as The Secret Cellar. Pair with bold flavours such as game pie, roast duck or Thai dishes.

Back to Chardonnay but from down under is Chateau Tanunda Chardonnay 2022 from the site of some of the earliest plantings of vines in Australia, with the chateau established in 1890. Unoaked Australian Chardonnay is packed with fresh, ripe fruit flavours and this one has an added layer of gentle complexity, with softness and a mineral touch. Easy drinking, flavoursome New World Chardonnay for anyday dishes such as cauliflower cheese or spicy baked potatoes with gammon and pineapple. £9.99 from Waitrose – on offer at a crazy £7.49 until 28th November.

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