White wine has been a popular choice for fine dining and other social gatherings especially when it’s summer. White wines usually range from crisp, bearing light and airy flavors, to rich and full-bodied texture. Generally, they are classified into various types and each type brags of its own goodness and uniqueness. To discover the one that flatters your taste buds best, exploring as many types as you can may deem necessary. Don’t worry though; trying out different wines has never been more fun.
Below are seven major types of white wine you ought to know:
- Chardonnay originates in Burgundy, France and was considered the most popular white wine type way back in 1990s. The drink is known to be versatile; it can have a sparkling or still finish. It is usually wider-bodied and more velvety than other kinds of dry whites and has lemon and grapefruit-like flavors that go well with salmon and chicken dishes.
Although the grape originated in France, way back in 2005, USA had the highest numbers of hectares used in planting Chardonnay with specifically 44,509 ha in California alone and 3,200 hectares in Oregon and Washington.France ended up second with 35,252 hectares. Nowadays, chardonnay grape vines already cover over 160,000 hectares of the world’s total lot area.
- Sauvignon Blanc. Made of grapes that originated in the Bordeaux region, Sauvignon Blanc is usually blended with another grape variety called Semillon. Today, the grape can be found even in New Zealand and Australia as it can grow in warmer areas as well. However, the warmth may affect its qualities.
A lot of wine enthusiasts love this type of white wine for its varietal quality. Flavors can be sour green fruits of apples, gooseberries, and pears through tropical fruits like mango, melon, and blackcurrant. This paired with seafood, salads, and poultry is magnificent. Unoaked ones will provide a smokey texture and would need bright aroma and strong acid finish. They are best grown in cool climates.
- Grapes that make Semillon white wine also come from Bordeaux, France. Two of the best selling Semillon wines are Bordeaux’s Barsac and Sauternes which are usually produced from overripe grapes. If blended with Sauvignon Blanc, a full-bodied and syrupy wine is produced.
Aside from being recognized as the major white grape in the region, Semillion is also popular as Hunter (River Riesling), boal of Madeira, columbier, chevrier, blanc doux, and malaga. Aside from Bordeaux, Semillon can also be found in vineyards of Chile, Australia, California, and Argentina.
As to its taste, Semillon has a strong berry-like flavor and goes well with fish, clams, pasta salad, and mussles.
- This type is made of moscato grapes from the muscat family. It grows in Austria, Rhone Valley, Italy and other areas where climate is vine-friendly.
Moscato white wines are usually fruity and sweet with musky aroma and are easily recognizable the second time you taste them. The taste is so good, you would not need a dish to pair it with. Nonetheless, it still does go well with dessert.
- Pinot Grigio. Although also grown in the western regions of United States and some areas in France where it was actually born and called Pinot Gris, majority of Pinot Grigio grape variety are planted in the Alto Adige and Venezia regions of Italy. Germny and Austria also have their kind of Pinot Grigio under the name of Rulander or Grauer Burgunder, respectively. Pinot Grigio’s skins are kind of greyish blue, hence the name.
Pinot Grigio comes in three main types: minerally and dry, fruity and dry, and fruity and sweet. All tend to show aromatic and fruity flavors which are especially well suited for spicy Chinese or Thai cuisine.
- Gewurztraminer. This variety produces a sweet and very aromatic white wine primarily grown in the region of Alsace, France. A lot of Gequrztraminer are also grown in Austria, Germany, West Coast of US, and New York.
The aromas of Gequrztraminer are usually in rose petal, allspice, peaches, and lychee scent and the wine offers fruity varietal wine flavors. It may be ideal for sipping and with Asian food and sausages but a lot still prefer other types of dry whites as a refreshing drink.
- Riesling whites usually grow in all wine regions but the ones from Estern US and Alsace are considered the most excellent. Nonetheless, all are equally aromatic but usually drier, not too sweet, and not too acidic. They are considered much lighter than Chardonnay wines with lovely, fresh aromas including that of fresh apples.
Generally, Riesling tastes better as it ages and the dry ones are best paired with pork, fish, and chicken dishes. It has a crisp texture that goes well with salmon and tuna.