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Travel + Leisure - November 2022

The 15 Best White Wines to Buy in 2023

Get to know these game-changing white wines.

travel and leisure flight of white wine in glasses

This year, my interpretation of what makes a wine meaningful began to take on a whole new shape. Some wines are game-changing in the sense that they forever influence the way your mind and sense of taste experience the world, while others tangibly affect the greater good, and when we’re lucky, we find a select few at the intersection of both. Here are the 15 worth talking about in the coming year.

1. Frescobaldi Toscana Gorgona Bianco, 2020 (Gorgona, Italy)

bottle of white wine with a white label

A blend of vermentino and ansonica, the 2020 vintage of Gorgona’s idiosyncratic white wine bursts with freshness and just-ripe tropical fruits on the palate. The Tuscan archipelago’s sea breeze is ever-present, along with warm Mediterranean sun and brusque notes of wild flora ranging from rockrose to mastic bush. This wine has a delightfully round mouthfeel that’s tempered by bright, crisp acidity. And given the story behind the label — Gorgona is a penal colony and a handful of its inmates are actually working viticulturists and winemakers as part of the prison’s unique rehabilitation project with Italian wine giant Frescobaldi — it’s an investment you’ll feel good about in more ways than one.

 

white wine with black accents

2. Domaine Marie Bérénice 2021 Bandol Blanc (Bandol, France)

Some of the greatest voices in wine right now come as a package deal — for years, I’ve looked to "Wine Girl" author and entrepreneuse Victoria James and her husband Lyle Railsback for the scoop on what to drink at any given moment. Earlier this year, I got wind of Railsback’s latest import endeavor, France+Western, a love letter to the “great unknown” of the world of fine wines. Currently, France+Western is championing a variety of independent growers across France and Italy including Domaine Marie Bérénice in Bandol, where winemaker Damien Roux is producing some of the appellation’s most interesting red, white, and rosé. The 2021 Bandol Blanc is a blend of clairette and ugni blanc from organically farmed older vines, and at less than $40, its delicate salinity and white flower–driven flavor profile make this complex yet easy-drinking wine an excellent value. If supporting small businesses is as important to you as buying delicious (and sustainably produced) wines full of personality, this is a fantastic place to start.

 

3. Les Lunes 2020 Barra Vineyard Chardonnay (Mendocino, California)

You’ve got to hand it to wine clubs — thoughtfully curated bottle subscriptions like Raw Wine Club can be a really fun way to discover wines you might not otherwise have come across on your own. For me, this was the case with Raw Wine founder Isabelle Legeron’s most recent selection, which featured an intriguing 2020 chardonnay by Shaunt Oungoulian and Diego Roig, the organic farmer-vintner duo behind Les Lunes and Populis. The 2020 Les Lunes Barra Vineyard Chardonnay showcases an awesome Mendocino County vintage from this single family-owned vineyard — the wine is soft and fresh with notes of lemon curd, toasted brioche, and pineapple, perfect for a variety of seafood dishes or even just a casual glass before dinner. You can join the Raw Wine Club to taste Legeron’s future picks — she is France’s first Master of Wine, after all — or shop the Les Lunes 2020 Barra Vineyard Chardonnay on its own from retail sites like Vivino.

 

4. Bidaia Txakolina Blanc (Basque, Spain)

bottle of white wine

Ah, Txakoli — one of my all-time favorite Basque wines, known for its natural effervescence, citrus notes, and fresh acidity, often poured from high above the glass as a means of “waking it up.” I especially enjoy Bidaia winemaker Maria Hernandez’s quaffable Txakolina Blanc, which Vinovore — a Los Angeles wine retailer that champions female and minority winemakers — describes as “lean [and] linear” and “zippy like a wind-up toy on your tongue.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.

 

5. Stranger Wine Company 2021 Pinot Gris (Buchanan, Michigan)

Michigan winery Stranger Wine Company is one to watch, especially as the state’s relatively little-known wine scene is beginning to make its mark on the global wine community. Run by Master of Wine candidate Maxx Eichberg and his partner, Sidney, Stranger Wine Company just released its first vintage after purchasing Avonlea Estate in Buchanan last year, and currently on offer are a 2021 carbonic pinot noir and a rosé of pinot noir, as well as a cabernet franc and an excitingly crisp pinot gris. Give the latter a try if you’re interested in seeing a fresh, new take on Michigan winemaking — drink now or cellar for the next few years if you’ve got the patience.

6. Camins 2 Dreams Re:Generate Grüner Veltliner - Limited Edition Navajo Wine Project (Santa Barbara, California)

camins 2 dreams bottle of wine

Another great pick from Vinovore’s selection is the Camins 2 Dreams Re:Generate Grüner Veltliner, produced by natural winemaking power couple Tara Gomez and Mireia Taribó in Lompoc, California. The two specialize in syrah and grüner veltliner, and the latter serves as the principal grape for their Re:Generate release, an exclusive and very limited collaboration with Vinovore founder Coly Den Haan and Amy Atwood Selections’ Courtney Walsh that benefits the Navajo Ethno-Agriculture Foundation. The bottle’s label is Chumash-designed, a nod to Gomez’s tribe, and comes with Indigenous seeds for drinkers to grow as cover crops. Expect pleasant bubbles (the wine is a pét-nat, or naturally sparkling) with bright notes of lemon zest and green apple and a nice, dry mineral finish.

 

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