I tend to crave heartier flavors from my wines in winter, so when I go white, I choose bottles with lush, exotic profiles. This Rhone-style white blend from Treana on California's Central Coast certainly fits the bill.
Made by the Hope family in the up-and-coming region of Paso Robles, this golden brew is a duet of viognier and marsanne, with the buttery mouthfeel of a good chardonnay, but with so many more unexpected angles – a floral nose, a kiss of apricot fruit, honey, and a lingering tingle of bitter almond and tropical lemongrass to keep it interesting. Usually a bit pricey in Pennsylvania, where the 2007 vintage (code 17940) sells for $25.99, it's considerably more affordable in South Jersey where it can regularly be found for around $20 or less.
- Craig LaBan