Winter is for White

by Christina on January 10, 2013

If there is one thing the Sexy Mother Foodie truly loves, it is breaking rules. People tend to think of red wines as rich and warming—the stuff of hearty stews and fireside cocktail hours. The problem is the extension of this logic to mean that whites are for summers, when we need to cool ourselves with something light and thin.

How very wrong this is. The coldest winters were made for whites. My point is proven by the best European alpine wines (German rieslings, Austrian grüner veltliner, etc.)

Just as the rest of the modern world is setting aside its summery whites at Labor Day, Sexy Mother Foodies are ordering them by the case. Mind that theses are no lackluster, flat, and lemon-watery bottles but bold and spicy wines that are exactly what you should be drinking with that après-ski raclette. Or maybe a grilled cheese (with extra butter).

Here is a short list of what I’m stocking up on right now (and before you read this, don’t even think that you don’t like riesling “because it is too sweet.”):

Alsatian riesling: These aren’t “sweet.” French ones should be dry. (Not necessarily so for the German!). Hearty sausages. Braised root vegetables. Pork roasts. Yum.

Torrontés: Inexpensive Argentine ones are just the thing for the saucy and very aromatic Thai take-out I seem to crave each time it snows. They can get overwhelmed by too much spice, but I have a bottle that tastes like lemongrass.

Sparkling: You can’t go wrong, no matter what you’re eating. Just look for “traditional method” on the label (formerly “Champagne method”) and you’re good to go. And if you haven’t been drinking Spanish cavas, start there.

Gewurtraminer: Admittedly, this isn’t for everyone. It’s as polarizing as lychees in a bouquet of roses. However, even my naysaying husband agrees that it’s great with spicy Szechuan.

Chenin blanc: As far as I’m concerned, I saved the best for last here. This is by far my favorite grape ever since I accidentally opened a 20 year-old bottle I had intended to save for a special occasion. Funny thing: It made a special occasion of that night.

It smelled of honey and hazelnuts but was completely dry, full, and perfect. It’s the kind of wine that pushes you into the kitchen to roast a chicken.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Susan January 10, 2013 at 6:46 pm

Great Advice, thanks! I have long been a fan of Riesling and spicy Asian food. I tend towards a sweeter tooth so I enjoy the Gertz. as well. Your food pairings sound great, I am now inspired to think about what I can make this weekend!


Christina January 11, 2013 at 3:37 pm

Well, I’m proud to have inspired you!
And don’t back down from your love of sweeter rieslings. They are very underappreciated. I had an off-dry (slightly sweet) one with Indian food that was incredible.
For a very special sweeter drink, try a Sauternes-style “late harvest” sauvignon blanc from South America (I have one by Echeverria). You can pretty much take a zero off the price of the French ones, and they can be outstanding. Very memorable.


PragmaticMom January 10, 2013 at 11:11 pm

I’m not a wine expert but I love breaking rules so I really enjoyed your post and will be checking these out at my liquor store!


Christina January 11, 2013 at 3:38 pm

Let me know how it goes! I feel like we can often get stuck in a white-wine rut, so here’s to hoping you find a new favorite.


mdb January 22, 2013 at 6:05 pm

I just recently tried Torrontes for the first time, and I love it. Going to find another bottle today.

Looking forward to trying the others that you suggest—a good break from the stream of Malbec and Garnacha that I drink all winter long.


Christina January 22, 2013 at 6:14 pm

Fantastic! Torrontes is so under-appreciated yet budget friendly.
The Alsatian rieslings are a bit more costly, but see if your wine shop has any dry Australian rieslings–particularly from the Clare Valley–that they recommend.
Off topic, but if you’re looking for a totally new red, I’m a fan of Zweigelt in the winter. It has high acidity and can really offset heavier food nicely (anything fried). Enjoy and good luck!


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