A glass of wine wide a side of cheese after a terrible day. Ah! Doesn’t that sound amazing? But what do you prefer? A glass of red or white? Well, if you do prefer white, which kind is it? Now, that sounds like a task! Well, it isn’t going to be anymore. If only you know the things that go beyond your glass of sparkles. To begin with, what is white wine? And what are the types of white wine?
Questions like these can significantly ease your way of making a choice. However, you are your guide! And only you know which sparkles create fireworks for you. What does white wine make you think of? Wine from white grapes, right? Well, that isn’t the case. This is because the color of the grapes has no contribution to the wine.
White wine is produced by fermenting grapes of any color and without their stems, skin, or seeds. This gives the drink a pale yellow, yellowish-green, yellowish golden, or ivory color.
The wine was initially produced with the grape variant known as Vitis Vinifera. These grapes are black, which is why the world initially knew wine to be red. Nevertheless, these grapes underwent a genetic mutation which led to the development of white grapes.
Nowadays, white grapes also help produce white wines.
Table of Contents
White wine grape varieties
Various kinds of grapes are used to prepare white wine. Some of these are:
One of the most famous varieties that produces one of the best white wines. Native to the Burgundy region of France, these grapes are green with a tinge of red. They also thrive well in areas such as South Africa, New Zealand, and the Pacific Northwest.
This, too, produces some of the best white wines ever. It is especially famous due to the palate of flavors it can mingle with. These include honey, apricot, green apples, earthy minerals, and lime.
Since these grapes are naturally fragrant, they do not require much of the oak fermentation or aging procedure. Moreover, the wine from these grapes is thinner and less acidic, allowing you to relish them to your heart’s desire.
Also known as Pinot Gris is grapes are produced by mutating the same grapes. The name Pinot Gris has evolved due to a naming confusion that arose from the language.
The French refer to this as Gris, whereas Italians call it Grigio. These grapes contain two main olfactory notes; dry and woodsy and floral. Since these grapes make greyish purple wine, they are also used to make red wines.
The Pinot Grigio grapes produce a heavier wine than all the other types of white wine. However, Pinot Gris, the mutated grapes, has found space in the hearts of people who prefer less fruity white wine.
Predominantly from the Alsace region of France, these grapes are also widely grown in Italy, Germany, and Austria. These grapes produce the driest of white wines. It has a medium-bodied demonstration with a slightly sour taste and stabilized acidity.
Oak barrel fermentation of these grapes helps in reducing its acidity and producing a lower acidic form of the same wine. These wines mostly have both a heavy and light flavor. Most of their flavors include a yellow apple with star anise, pear, lemon, walnuts, applewood, and mulch.
These grapes produce a transparent white wine with one of the greenest taste types amongst all the other white wines. These grapes produce some of the highest acidic wines with the most powerful fruit notes.
Sauvignon Blancs are therefore produced by balancing the herby flavor with the fruity one to produce a perfectly amalgamated wine. These mixtures give the drink a silky, sour, and flavored taste.
These grapes produce some of the best tangy and floral white wines available in the market. These grapes are generally aromatic. However, these wines are lined with a tinge of lavender and rose bouquet followed by lychee, pineapple, strawberries, and allspice.
Moscato or Muscat
These are one of the oldest and non-genetically modified grapes in the world of white wine. These grapes have been in existence for the past 3000 years and continue to do so. Mostly found in France, these grapes produce some of the sweetest white wines ever.
It also has one of the lowest alcohol content of about 5 to 7% ABV. It is smooth and sugary and tastes best when paired with appetizers. This wine contains notes of Japanese pear, lilacs, white cherries, and orange blossoms.
These grapes are renowned for producing some of the crispiest, tarty flavored wines that are a perfect blend of herbs, musk, and fruits. These grapes are generally grown in the Lombardy and Piedmont regions of northern Italy.
These wines have a greenish or straw color and are mostly clear without much fizz or bubbles. They generally contain flavors that include banana, passion fruit, lime, mulch, and campfire smoke. They taste slightly on the sour end, which is why they need the malolactic fermentation procedure.
There are different types of white wine, such as dry white wine, sweet and fortified white wine, fortified wine, and sparkling wine. They are different from each other due to the difference in grapes and the preparation procedure.
This also creates a significant difference in their role, taste, and uses. This is also why the price of a bottle of dry white wine varies from that of sparkling wine.
The nutritional content of 100 ml white wine
|Water - 86.86 ml|
|Sugars - 0.96 ml|
|Energy - 82 kcal|
|Protein - 0.07 ml|
|Fat - 0.00 ml|
|Fiber - 0.00 ml|
|Carbohydrates - 2.60 ml|
Types of wine
Primarily, there are three types of wine. These are as follows.
Rosé, sparkling and fortified
People choose to drink white wine as per moods and occasions. For example, Rosé goes best with warm weather. Sparkling wines are perfect for occasions or events such as birthday dinners, etc. At the same time, fortified wines are preferred after heavy meals.
White wine is lighter and more refreshing than red wine. They usually have a fruity, citrus, or floral aroma. White wine also contains less alcohol.
Made out of dark-skinned grapes, red wine is more dense and intense than the other wines. It also has a higher amount of alcohol and tannins. Most red wine companies believe in aging the juice in oak barrels. This gives them a distinct taste and aroma.
Types of white wine for cooking
Many cuisines use white wine as a common ingredient. This is purely due to its unique contribution to the dish. White wine is acidic. This works well with high-fat content dishes and balances it. Moreover, the drink’s acidity aids in making foods like meat or fish tender by breaking their fibers.
White wine is an amazing ingredient for slow cooking. It acts as a great dish wetting agent. This helps in stabilizing the fat in the sauce. For example, in the preparation of risotto. The same job is visible in the gravy preparation for chicken with morels, chicken à la comatose, yellow coq au vin, blanquette de veau, etc.
It finds special use in marinades; white wine is used in powder form. This aids in breaking down the protein fiber. This is also noted in the preparation of Italian-style tuna carpaccio. Despite its usefulness, not all kinds of white wines find room on your plate. But a few that do are as follows.
Brittle White wine such as Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, and Chardonnay Unoaked. Pinot Grigio is neutral and highly preferred. Sauvignon Blanc is perfect for preparing seafood or sauces that contain cream. Unoaked Chardonnay is immensely rich in flavor. You can try the following bottles for your kitchen and as a drink as well.
Dry Madeira, from the Islands of Madeira. It was predominantly produced by the Portuguese and is an excellent choice for the sauce for Beef dishes, especially Beef Wellington. You can try Cossart Gordon and Co, 5-year-old Sercial Madeira, Portugal, for $25.
Dry Marsala acts as a classy combination with chicken or marsala veal. It can also be used to prepare the decadent in the Italian dessert called zabaglione. You may try a Cantine Florio Fine Marsala Dry bottle, from Sicily, Italy, for $14.
Dry Sherry is a versatile drink. It is immensely great in the preparation of foods such as a pot of chicken and cauliflower soup. It works great as a reglazing agent and reduces the effect of the cream. Moreover, Sherry is your go-to appetizer with seafood, especially oysters. You need to try a bottle of Taylor Wind Company Dry Sherry, New York, $7.
Sparkling wine is specially designed for a Champagne vinaigrette or a sorbet. However, it works wonders as an alternative to white wine used in beurre blanc as well. Open a bottle of Poema Cava, Brut, from Penedés, Spain, $11.
If you do not get your hands on any of the above exquisite pieces of white wine, try using the following instead:
- Duck Pond Pinot Gris, from Willamette Valley, Oregon, for $19
- Gabbiano Pinot Grigio della Venezie IGT, from Italy, for $13
- Toad Hollow, Chardonnay, from Mendocino County, California, for $14
- Mouton Cadet, Sauvignon Blanc, from Bordeaux, France, for $10
- Black Box, Sauvignon Blanc, from Valley Central, Chile, for $15
The perfect guide to relish your wine
Here’s a perfect guide that can tell you the steps you need to take to relish this amazing drink. These are:
Choose the right bottle
If you’ve just developed a love for this irresistible drink, it’d be best for you to start on a lighter note. Some of the lighter varieties include: Albariño, Chablis, Chasselas, Chenin Blanc, Cortese, Pinot Blanc, Muscadet, Xarel-lo, Garganega, Fruilano, Aligoté, Verdejo and Verdicchio.
Select the right glass
Different wines have different glasses for serving. This is extremely important to ensure you make the most of the drink. White wines deserve must be poured in small bowled glasses. These glasses help in preserving and delivering the aroma since they are closer to the nose. Moreover, they maintain the temperature of the drink and convey more acidity in the wine. This unique glass is the ‘Montrachet’ glass.
Know how to serve
White wine tastes best when served chilled. However, different white wines need different temperatures to chill and enhance your experience. Light white wine such as Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc need temperatures between 7 to 10°C to chill. More or less can spoil the drink’s acidity. Full-bodied white wines such as Pouilly Fuissé and Viognier need to be chilled at warmer temperatures, between 10 to 13°C. You should serve sparkling wines chilled. These include Champagne Cava and Prosecco.
Let it breathe
Most wines need some breathing space. For this, you can either use a decanter or pour and swirl. Although swirling the drink in the glass may seem improper, it isn’t! Swirling the wine allows oxygenation and helps the aroma express itself. No wonder wine tastes more delicious after a few minutes.
Most of the time, white wines come with the right kind of dish as accompaniment. However, if you haven’t used it in your food and want to drink it anyway, we’ve got your back. Due to its sweeter taste, white wine goes well with many dishes, especially meats like chicken and fish. White wine also tastes amazing with fatty foods such as cheese. Their sweetness and acidity balance the taste and takes your taste buds on a ride to heaven. Therefore you can easily pair it with dishes like Mac n cheese, béchamel sauce, etc.
Wine is a drink that we can have at any point of the day. Be it day or night, you will want to try different types of white wine. This is why it is important to understand the intricacies of the same. Such details can only help us understand and inculcate the drink better into our lives. It helps us strike a chord and experience the best out of it.