Interesting White Wines for the Holiday

We are only a few days away from Thanksgiving, which means holiday celebrations, parings, and sharing are about to occur. Though versatile red wines are often the Thanksgiving go-to, like Pinot Noir, Grenache, and Beaujolais, we also enjoy a tasty white wine with the holiday meal, especially one that is a little something beyond the norm. Toast with one of these beauties throughout the holiday season and beyond.

Just north of Chateauneuf-du-Pape in the southern Rhone Valley region lies Les Cassagnes de La Nerthe. Nestled at the edge of a Mediterranean influence forest filled with oak trees and abundant with wild woody herbs, known locally as the garrigue, the Cotes-du-Rhone region showcases a unique terroir thanks to the influences of the surroundings and the clay and limestone soils where terraced vineyards are planted. Each of these elements adds to the character and flavor of the La Nerthe wines. Les Cassagnes de La Nerthe blanc blends 30% Grenache blanc, 30% Roussanne, and 30% Viognier with a touch of Marsanne to create an earthy wine lively with stone fruit flavors of apricot and peach, melding harmoniously with woody thyme, sagebrush, and lavender. With a slightly creamy finish that melds with fresh acidity, the balanced wine is delicious with autumn squash soup, grilled white fish, or roasted poultry.

Since 1919 La Scolca has been crafting elegant wines in the Piedmont hills of Italy, with the La Scolca d’Antan white wine showcasing the very finest Cortese grapes within the Gavi region of Piemonte. Though the area was once known for its hearty red grapes, the family has been showcasing the white variety of Cortese for generations. The Gavi dei Gavi ages a minimum of 10 years in the cellar, creating rich notes of dried lemon and orange peel, golden apple, toasted walnut, and hazelnut. It is a wine that can easily be enjoyed with heartier meats and game dishes, fresh cheese and pasta, but also special enough to sip on its own, enjoying the aromas, flavors, and history.

From the Fiddlestix Vineyard within the cool-climate, Pacific-influenced region of Sta. Rita Hills within Santa Barbara County, Fiddlehead Cellars crafts its aromatic and expressive Gruner Veltliner. The variety is most widely planted in Austria, but cool-climate regions throughout California and Oregon have been dabbling with the grape and achieving outstanding success, as is evident in the selection from Fiddlehead Cellars. Aromas of white flowers and citrus leaves open the fragrant wine, followed by a juicy but dry palate of lemon-lime, ripe peach, and spicy ginger with a touch of blanched almond and toasted spice enhanced by the partial barrel fermentation. This is a great alternative for lovers of Sauvignon Blanc.

Since 1871 the Garofoli family has been making and selling wines in the hills of Italy’s Marche region, running to the base of the Apennine Mountains. The winery has worked with the Verdicchio variety for generations. The Garofoli Supèra Verdicchio di Matelica is a relatively new addition to the portfolio from high-elevation vineyards above the Esino River valley in the Apennines. Supèra showcases Verdicchio’s citrus-rich style, creating a well-rounded wine revealing layers of white peach, lemon curd, and mineral-rich crushed stone. With nice weight and a slightly viscous texture, the wine would be beautiful with roasted turkey or pork tenderloin.

New from Portugal’s prestigious Herdade do Esporao, Bico Amarelo Vinho Verde is a blend of native white varieties grown in the most northern part of the county where the vineyards enjoy the influence of the Atlantic Ocean, keeping the vines lush and green throughout the year. The blend includes Loureiro, Alvarinho, and Avesso varieties and is produced without the addition of CO2 or additional sugars, symbolizing a modern style for wines from the region. The resulting wine is aromatic and lively, revealing citrus, crushed stone, and a touch of creaminess from the soft stirring of the lees during battonage.

Crafted from a blend of grapes that normally are not blended together, like Chardonnay, Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, and Viognier, the Conundrum White blend is a multi-textured wine that isn’t confusing at all. By using a bit of this and a bit of that the final selection is rich and balanced with well-rounded layers of golden citrus, ripe orchard and stone fruit, fresh white flowers, and creamy whipped honey. Rich enough to be enjoyed with roasted white meats and oily fish or creamy linguini with poached shellfish.

Chardonnay isn’t an unusual wine to enjoy during the holidays, but it is not the first wine you may think of when considering the wines of Argentina. However, high-elevation vineyards in the foothills of the Andes Mountains provide the ideal location to produce elegant Chardonnay wines with full-bodied flavor and refreshing acidity. Catena Chardonnay