White wines are made all over the world. They are favourites because of the light flavours, the huge variety, and the fact that they pair with almost any food.
The light grapes that one buys in a store to eat can deceive that white wines are not as complex as red wines. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, there might be more flavour variety in white wines.
As with all wine grapes, the environment that they grow in can have a huge effect on the taste of the wine. The mineral composition of the soil and the amount of rain, sun, and fog can all change the flavour of the wine.
One of the most interesting experiments is to buy a single grape wine, like chardonnay, from different places. A chardonnay from California will taste very different from one from Chile, France, Australia, or South Africa. It’s worth testing it out.
Once you have done that, you can choose a single region, like south-eastern Australia, and try all of the chardonnays from within a few hundred miles of each other.
The list below is only a few of the different varieties that are commonly available.
Gewürztraminer (pronounced [guh-vers-tra-meener]) – From France and Germany, this is a sweet white with slight hints of hints of grapefruit and flowers. The sweetness can range from lightly crisp to sugary sweet.
Chenin Blanc – This is a crisp white wine that often tastes like green apple, pear, and honeydew melon. It can be very dry, sparkling, or even a sweet dessert wine.
Sauvignon Blanc – Because these grapes are grown all over the world, the variety of flavours is astounding. It tends to be bone dry with herbaceous, grass, pineapple, and peach flavours.
Pinot Gris – A very light, clean wine, there are flavours of citrus, pear, and melon. This is a German variety that has become hugely popular around the world. It has different taste everywhere it is grows.
Riesling – This grape has so many different flavours, it is hard to list them all. Most of the flavours are fruity, like apples, citrus, peach, with a hint of floral. Originally from Germany, Riesling is now found all over the world.
Chardonnay – This is likely the most versatile of the white grape varieties. It can be drank by itself, but it also blends well with almost everything. Tropical flavours, like pineapple and papaya, will share the glass with apple and citrus fruits. Aged chardonnay can take on a leather and oaken taste.
Marsanne – Usually blended with other varietals, marsanne has a sweet and fruity flavour. It can take on a nutty almond flavour in some instances that make this a light and complex wine.
There are of course many other grapes and variations but this selection should keep you on top of the game for now.