Saturday, July 18, 2015

Everything You Need To Know About The Basics of White Wine

White wine is always a hit at parties and get-togethers. Most people can name a favorite brand, but not everyone truly knows the subtle differences and numerous varieties of the wines produced by the hundreds of varieties of white wine grapes. These grapes are planted on all corners of the globe, so the drink you're sipping on could have started in France, Italy, or Spain! Keep reading to learn about the flavor profiles and regions of the most common white wine grapes. This list could obviously be way more extensive, but here are a few of the more common varieties.


Almost everyone has heard of Chardonnay. It's versatile and popular and grows all over the globe. Some of the most recognized producers are Burgundy, France, California, and Australia. Its taste calls to mind fresh green apples and can be made to be crisp and stony, buttery and toasty, or even brilliantly fresh if the green apple and citrus flavors are highlighted.

Chenin Blanc

Chenin Blanc is a white grape typically found in the Loire Valley of France. It's very versatile and can produce sweet dessert, sparkling, dry, and off-dry flavors. In South Africa, it is known as Steen. Wines made from these grapes typically have floral aromas, assertive acidity, and apple and pear-like flavors.


This variety grows in Alsace and produces very intense floral, aromatic, and spicy vino. They can range from extremely dry to decadently sweet. In Oregon and northern Italy, it makes a crisp, grapefruit-flavored wine that pairs very well with spicy foods and Asian dishes.


This is the most important grape in the northern Rhone, and has only recently begun to be labeled in the U.S. Both in France and the U.S., it is often blended Roussanne, Viognier, and Grenache Blanc. It ripens reliably and makes full-bodied wine, low-acid and with flavors of almonds, lightly spiced pears, and white peaches. Some of the oldest plantings in the world are located in Australia.


There are many varieties of Muscat, but all contain a strong aroma of oranges. When fermented dry, it generally imparts a hint of sweetness. Muscat is great for light sparkling wines, especially the Moscato d'Asti of northern Italy. The Muscats of Australia produce the most luscious and dense varieties.

Pinot Grigio

Pinot Grigio creates light, food-friendly wines that don't overwhelm the palate with the taste of alcohol. Popular versions come from the Tre Venezie, Alsace, and the Pfalz region of Germany. A very close cousin, Pinot Gris, has become the pre-eminent wine of Oregon. The California version of Pinot Grigio is heavier, but vintners in Washington make a version that is intense, tart, and pairs well with seafood.

Use your newfound knowledge to discuss your drink options with guests at your next dinner party or event. Your friends will surely be impressed by your repertoire.

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