White Wine
An easy to follow and easy to understand primer on the basics of white wine types


What is White Wine?

White wine is made from the juice of the red grape (yes, red) as the fruit has no red color. The skins are removed from the grape by pressing the grape so that the juice flows out but leaves the skin behind.

Some white wines are made with white grapes that really aren't white at all. Generally white grapes are green, golden, and some even have a pink hue.

types of white wine

Major Varieties of White Wine

Chardonnay and Pinot Gris/Pinot Grigio are undoubtedly the two most popular grape varieties when it comes to different white wine types. These are usually the go to wines for most white wine drinkers.

Chardonnay (char-dun-nay) has a velvety citrus flavor and most are fermented in oak barrels. That toasty, smoky, spicy, vanilla, butterscotch taste is the oak, while the wine itself has fruity aromas. Classically Chardonnay's are dry.

Pinot Gris ( pee-no gree)/Pinot Grigio (pee-no gree-zho) has a bit more acidic bite as a young wine. Although this is considered a white grape, it has an unnaturally dark skin, ,medium to full bodied, deeper in color than most white wines, and can have an aroma similar to peach skins or orange rind.

Gewurztraminer (geh-vairtz-trah-mee-ner) or as I call it Grr-whats-a-trainer. Never met one I didn't love and coming from a serious red wine perspective, that speaks volumes. Exotic, soft, rosy, and fruity..what's not to like.

Reisling (ree-sling) is often light bodied, refreshing, and crisp. Perfect on a hot day hanging by the pool. Fruity and flowery and many of them are considered a sweet white wine. Reisling, which is originally from the regions of Germany, boasts a dry yet sweet flavor with a good bit of acid to round out this "pleases everyone" wine.

Sauvignon Blanc (so-vin-yon blahnc) is another popular wine, which is drier and less fruity than many of the other white wines, but still offers a fresh finish. Light to medium bodied and may have a grassy, herb-like character and depending on the climate the grapes are grown in the flavors and aromas may have a vegetal or fruity character.

Semillon (seh-mee-yohn) is an interesting white wine with more of a fig-like character. Semillon is usually blended with Sauvignon Blanc to help increase the fullness of the wine.

Viognier (vee-oh-nyay) hints of peach and apricot define this white wine type with low to moderate acidity.

Maybe white wine sangria is something you've always wanted to try. It has the best of what white wine has to offer with the added bonus of fresh fruit and a lemony-lime soda giving the sangria a wonderfully bubbly attitude..

Blush (Rose`) is a White Wine?

Rose` wines are pink wines, are considered white wines and are made from red grapes. The rose` gets is pink color because the juice of the grape stays in contact with the skins of the grape. Remember "How Does Wine Get its Color"?

Chill and drink as you would a white wine.

sweet white wine

Watching your carbohydrate intake? So how many carbs in white wine? Calories in white wine?

Cooking with white wine?

Here's my tip - If it tastes good in a wine glass, it will taste good in your recipe. The specific white wine type does depend on your recipe. The earthier and more savory your recipe choose a type of white wine that is on the drier side. Dry is the opposite of sweet. So it stands to reason that if your using a white wine for seafood, keep in mind that seafood already imparts its own sweetness and adding to that with a white wine that is sweet will only magnify the intensity of the sugars.

This is the short list of the wine varieties of white wine types available. Of course, you want to find a wine that you love and can always enjoy. However, it is good to experiment with different white wine types to develop your palate and explore new wines. A fun way to do this is to host or attend a wine tasting party. If you have a local wine shop, ask about tastings they host. I know I'm a regular! Or, grab a friend and a new bottle of wine and imagine the possibilities!


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