The Major Types of White Wine
White wine is a type of wine produced from fermented grapes or other fruits. The color of the wine can range from very pale yellow to dark amber, depending on the varietals used and the process employed by winemakers.
The wine is produced by fermenting juice from grapes or other fruits with various types of yeast.
The process begins with the grape being pressed and the must (wine juice) being separated out, with a portion set aside in casks to be fermented in a separate vessel later. This process is known as "pressing," and can also increase the alcohol content of both white and red wines, regardless of whether or not new oak barrels are used.
There are a number of ways to make white wines, including skin-fermented styles such as chardonnay and skin-contact methods like sauvignon blanc.
When it comes to buying wine, there are specific types that would be considered "white" as well as those that would not.
Here we will discuss some of the major types of white wines available today:
Let's Get Started!
This is a cool climate grape known for its sweetness levels ranging from dry to very sweet, although the latter is indeed very rare.
Riesling wines can also vary in color, ranging from straw-yellow to golden shades.
The flavor of the wine is highly dependent on the climate where it has been grown, with cool climates producing more fruity flavors along with strong floral notes.
This grape originated in France but is now planted all over the world. Chardonnay wines are known for their rich taste, which comes from aging in French or American oak barrels for at least 12 months before being bottled.
Wines made from this variety tend to have strong acidity levels and full-bodied textures so drinkability tends to be high when paired with the right foods.
Pinot Gris / Pinot Grigio
This wine is made from the same grape, but one that is called "pinot grigio" in Italian regions and "pinot gris" outside of Italy.
The former name refers to wines made with less skin contact during winemaking, thus making them lighter in color and body than their French counterparts; whereas the latter variation refers to wines with more extraction from the skins, therefore producing darker-hued wines.
Pinot gris/grigio wines can range widely in flavors depending on what country they are produced in. Some examples include honeydew melon notes or peach aromas while others tend toward mineral or flint flavors along with strong acidity.
This wine is made by fermenting pressed red zinfandel grapes. It has become very popular in the United States since its introduction in the late 1970s, although it is produced more commonly in California.
Despite being called a white "wine", it is actually more of a pale rose color that tends to be sweet rather than dry.
Blends of pinot grigio or chardonnay are sometimes used for this purpose.
This French grape is the most widely planted in the Bordeaux region, although it is also grown in Chile and California.
Wines made from this grape are characterized by their grassy flavors with strong acidity and sometimes hints of figs or elderberries.
Made from the Rkatsiteli grape, this Georgian wine is similar to sauvignon blanc due to its grassy flavors with low acidity levels and high alcohol content.
Gewurztraminer wines are made from grapes of the same name, which is German in origin.
This wine is famous for its "bouquet" or intense aromas that resemble spices such as pepper and nutmeg along with lychee nuts, rose petals, candied orange, honeysuckle and many more.
This complex nature makes it a fascinating wine to drink when one is in the mood for something different!
Marsanne grape varietals are grown most prevalently in regions surrounding France's Rhone Valley.
The wines produced are medium-bodied with moderate acidity levels along with notes of white flowers, pear skin and ripe lemons. This style serves well when paired with like chicken or fish dishes prepared with fresh herbs.
This is another Rhone grape but more full-bodied than Marsanne, which makes for a larger variety of flavors including ripe apricots, spiced figs, and honeycomb.
Due to the wines' high acidity levels, Roussanne can also be produced in sparkling styles with higher alcohol levels that are best paired with poultry or cream sauces in order to stand up to their textures.
Muscat Blanc A Petits Grains / Muscat Canelli
These wines are made from either of two closely related grapes known as muscat blanc à petits grains (white) or muscat canelli (red).
They are both highly perfumed drinks used in cooking quite often due to their capability of pairing well with a wide variety of foods.
These wines are best served chilled and offer rich aromas like lychee nuts, apricot jam or dried gingerbread spices depending on which color you choose.
This specialty from Canada and Germany is incredibly sweet due to the grapes' late harvest during the winter months when temperatures drop below freezing after they have been left on the vines far past their normal picking times.
The resulting wines are high quality but expensive due to how much extra work goes into producing them with low yields per grapevine.
Icewines can range from tasting of tropical fruit flavors such as coconut or lychee nuts along with juicy peaches, pears, and apricot jam.
As you can see, there are many more white wines than just chardonnay!
Have any other favorites?
Please share below!