Winter whites ready for the holiday wine sipper

Holiday white wines

White wine in winter is a wonderful thing.

Here are five winter whites that are ideal for holiday sipping, and they’ll transition us into 2024, too.

Wine: Solvero Wines 2022 Pinot Gris

Winery: Solvero Wines

Why drink it? Talented winemaker Alison Moyes (Osoyoos Larose, Liquidity) is leading the charge at Solvero Wines, with chic, delicious wines such as this Pinot Gris. Thanks to minimal intervention and neutral French oak, a rich fruit bowl of flavours shines through: peach, pear, apricot, pink grapefruit, honey. Serve chilled.

Pair with: Roast turkey, chicken, mildly seasoned salmon, sushi, spaghetti carbonara or pasta with white sauce

Price: $25

Wine: Upper Bench Estate Winery 2022 Riesling

Winery: Upper Bench Estate Winery

Why drink it? Because Riesling is one of the world’s greatest wine styles, and Upper Bench’s version is awesome. That’s why. Winemaker Gavin Miller’s 2022 Riesling is fabulously racy, balanced and dry, with notes of lime, green apple and honey. It’s also a wine that beautifully transitions all seasons; it’s as delicious and appropriate on a hot summer day as it is at Christmas dinner. Serve chilled.

Pair with: Roast pork, charcuterie, Thai green curry, sushi, smoked salmon.

Price: $26

Wine: Hillside Winery 2022 Heritage Series Viognier

Winery: Hillside Winery

Why drink it? Viognier is an ancient wine grape associated with France’s Rhone Valley, where it likely ended up after the Romans went through in the third century. Flash forward to now, and it’s found in wine regions around the world, including the Okanagan Valley. This excellent example from Hillside is aromatic, with notes of white flowers and baking spices. Serve chilled.

Pair with: Roast or grilled chicken, turkey or salmon, or cheeses such as Brie or Comte. The wine’s natural spiciness help it stand up to dishes such as pad thai or butter chicken, too.

Price: $28

Wine: Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars 2022 Pinot Blanc

Winery: Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars

Why drink it? This medium-full-bodied white wine has pretty floral and wet rock aromas combined with stone fruit flavours: think peaches and nectarines. The grapes are hand harvested and the wine spends five months in neutral oak and stainless steel before bottling. Genetically related to Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc is an often under-appreciated white wine grape in Canada but it really deserves to be in our glasses more often.

The Mavety family, which owns Blue Mountain, makes other beautiful wines, too, including one of the Okanagan’s best Gamays which, similar to this white wine, would be a brilliant addition to your Christmas table.

Pair with: Turkey, roast chicken.

Price: $29

Wine: Phantom Creek Estates 2021 Viognier

Winery: Phantom Creek Estates

Why drink it? The sixth most planted white variety in British Columbia, Viognier makes a wine that is stylish and food-friendly. From vineyards located on the Golden Mile Bench, this example has notes of honeydew melon, mandarin orange peel and pineapple. Time in French and Austrian oak gives it some spice, but there’s a touch of mineral sass to keep things balanced. Serve chilled.

Pair with: Roast chicken, hard and soft cheeses, salmon, maybe a creamy dip with seedy homemade crackers.

Price: $40

This is part two of a four-part series spotlighting great wines for the holidays, featuring selections of red, white, sparkling and sweet wines.

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About the Author

As a kid, Shelley Boettcher often found herself in the back seat of a pick-up, exploring the back roads of the Okanagan Valley with her parents. They’d occasionally leave her and her brother in the car while they stopped at mysterious addresses to buy wine. They would emerge, clearly happy, as they stuck a box or a few bottles in the vehicle. Then they would continue on their journey.

But it wasn’t until a trip to Spain in 2000 that Shelley herself fell in love with wine. She came home from the holiday and promptly told her editor she wanted to become a wine writer.

And she did. 

An award-winning food and wine writer and editor, Shelley holds her master’s degree in journalism and her advanced WSET certification, as well as her level 2 International Sommelier Guild certification. A wine columnist for the Calgary Herald, she spent a decade as CBC Radio’s national syndicated wine columnist and she has written three books about wine, including two that were Canadian bestsellers. Her byline has appeared in magazines and newspapers around the world, including the New York Times, The Guardian, The Globe and Mail and Postmedia newspapers across Canada. 

Shelley has travelled throughout many of the world’s wine regions and countries, including Niagara, Oregon, Washington, California, France, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Australia, Germany, Argentina and the Republic of Georgia. A few years ago, she even tracked down and visited a winery in Denmark. 

Shelley has also served as a professional wine judge regionally and internationally, including the Okanagan Wine Festivals, Vinitaly and the Chianti Classico Consortium. For more than a decade, she has been a restaurant wine list judge for the Vancouver International Wine Festival, too. She still teases her parents for sparking her love for wine, especially BC wine.

And her favourite? Whatever she's drinking at the moment.

You can follow Shelley on Instagram @shelleyboettcher or Twitter at @shelley_wine. 

If you have a BC wine you’d like to suggest, email Shelley at [email protected] with the name of the wine and a short note about why you enjoyed it.