Hydrate or Die: Two Whites to Whet Your Winter Whistle Melissa Withers January 11th, 2012

The hiss of the radiator. The crack of the fire. The clink-clank of the baseboard. Whatever your poison, the price of cozy toes is always the same: dry as bone. Upside? The crisp, cool white wines of winter. I’m not talking run-of-the-mill sauvignon blanc–the kind you chug in summer with reckless abandon. I’m talking about flavorful whites that whet your whistle, go great with food, and give even the driest room a hydrating kick. Here are two value-priced newbies that I’m counting on to see me through until spring:

Milbrandt Traditions 2010 Chardonnay

Straight up: this wine is a steal. Balanced and easy, this wine splits the difference between the deep, buttery flavors of oak aged wines and the clean finish imparted by the mighty steel barrel. 50/50 steel/oak aged, this wine extracts the best from each. The oak imparts substance and structure, the steel crisps and smooths, making this wine approachable, fruit driven but not sweet, and totally drinkable. With aromas of tropical fruit and subtle pear and vanilla flavors, this wine is perfect to have on hand for people who both adore AND abhor the oft-maligned Chardonnay grape. Recently named one of the US’s top 5 wineries by Food & Wine magazine, this vineyard is pioneering sustainable production and supplies grapes to some of the top producers in Washington State. Screw top. Under $14. But no one will know unless you tell ’em!

Bodegas Eidosela Albarino 2010

Discovering this wine was what hungry cows feel must feel when fate delivers them a field of virgin alfalfa: deeply satisfying. Green apples, orchard fruits, and a  balanced acidity that comes alive in your mouth. This small-production, sustainably-produced Spanish stunner was born for food, killer with seafood, salads, roasted veg, oysters, poultry and pork. I poured this wine at Thanksgiving and it kicked ass, cutting through the buttery mash of starch and gravy like nobody’s business. Fronkin’ good, in a big way, at under $15 a bottle.

I purchased both of these wines at East Side Pharmacy on Hope St, but they’re available across the state. So if you dehydrate and die this winter, you have no one to blame but yourself.

A disclaimer: both of these wines are sold by Andrea Sloan, also of Rhode Palate. I’m not gonna kid you…Andrea has rocked my world by introducing me to dozens of wines that are now among my favorites. Some she sells. Some she doesn’t.  So, if this piece makes you buy a bottle of the aforementioned winter whites, she’ll earn about forty-six cents. Despite the lure of four dimes and a nickel, she in no way encouraged me to write this review.

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