There’s something amazing about a good white wine. Ranging from crisp, with light, airy flavours, to rich and full-bodied, white wines are the perfect choice for a hot summer’s day or fine dining.
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With so many different types of white wine to choose from, you may have no idea which types of white wine are the best. Should you choose Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, or Chardonnay? Should you go with Italian whites, French whites, or even New World whites from Chile, Argentina, or Australia?
If you’re looking for one of the oldest and best white wine grape varieties, look no further than Sauvignon Blanc. Thanks to winemakers in the French Loire Valley and Bordeaux, and more recently, Marlborough, New Zealand, white wine has become popular around the world!
The flavours of Sauvignon Blanc are different to most whites. You get a very “green” flavour, with plenty of herbs in the subtle notes. A less-ripe (cooler climate) Sauvignon Blanc will have strong flavours of limes and green apples, while a Sauvignon Blanc made from riper grapes (warmer climates) will have stronger flavours of peaches and passionfruit. But beneath those primary tastes, you’ll get hints of gooseberries, grass, jalapenos, and bell peppers.
This wine has a medium/medium high acidity, and it contains pyrazines – special aromatic compounds that give it its rich flavours. It tends to be a fairly dry white, but the intensity of ripe fruit flavours in regions such as Marlborough, New Zealand can give the appearance of sweetness.
Serve with: French Sauvignon Blanc such as Sancerre is a classic match for goat’s cheese, while riper, New Zealand Sauvignon’s are great with Thai food and asparagus.
Try the great-value Touraine Sauvignon Blanc from Chateau Gaillard.
AOC Touraine Sauvignon Blanc Chateau Gaillard
It is biodynamic, low in sulphur and suitable for vegans. Coming from the Loire Valley in France, it has those lovely subtle aromas of grapefruit and cut-grass on the nose and a fine, dry palate with citrus freshness.
If you want one of the most unique whites around, look no further than the German Riesling! It’s one of the most different types of white wines and needs to be tried at least once!
Riesling is believed to have been born in the Rhine River region of Germany, though it is grown all over Germany, Austria and all across the world now. For the best Rieslings, look for wines produced on the south-facing hills running along the Mosel River.
Riesling is one of the most aromatic white grape varieties. You get heavy fruit aromas of pear, honey-crisp apple, nectarine, and peach, and you may even detect subtler hints of honeycomb or petrol as the wine ages.
People often think of Riesling as being sweet, but it comes in all styles, from bone-dry to lusciously sweet. The key to making the best Riesling wine is getting the balance between sweetness and acidity just right.
Serve with: Duck, pork, crab, Asian cuisine, spicy Indian food, and roasted naturally-sweet veggies like bell peppers, onions, and squash.
For a taste of classic Mosel Riesling, try the Beetle Riesling.
Made in a dry style, it still has lots of fruity flavours and a lovely soft texture. The low alcohol makes it an ideal partner for a fresh Asian salad at lunch.
If you’ve never tried a Moscato wine , you’re missing out! This Italian wine is sweet and flavourful, and is one of the oldest cultivated grape varieties in the world. It has always been popular in its native Italy, but has only recently become fashionable again outside of its homeland. It offers freshness, great flavour, versatility and excellent value.
Moscato grapes are grown everywhere in the world, but it’s the Italian Moscato wine that is most famous. The smell of Moscato is so unique that there is no word to describe it aside from “Muscat Aroma“. It is one of the only grapes that has a ‘grapey’ smell. It contains a chemical called linalool, which is also found in aromatic herbs like cinnamon, citrus flowers, and mint.
What sort of flavours can you expect from Moscato wine? The strong fruit flavours include peaches, lemons, oranges, apricots, and nectarines, while other subtler flavours include vanilla bean, caramel, rose, and jasmine. It is a medium-acidity wine that tends to be fairly sweet.
Serve with: The sweetness and acidity make it an excellent partner for fresh Asian dishes with some spice. It also an invigorating wine to have with summer puddings such as a fruit tart.
The Torelli Moscato d’Asti is the perfect example of how deliciously enjoyable this style of wine can be. With plenty of sweetness, and just 5% alcohol, it can, and should, be enjoyed anytime, with anyone.
DOCG Moscato D’Asti
Also known as Pinot Gris, this is one of the most famous of the Italian and French white wines! The most famous Pinot Gris wines come from the French region of Alsace. The wines from Alsace are rich, and complex, with a wide range of flavours.
Italian Pinot Grigio is usually lighter with more simple peach and pear drop flavours.
Our very special Pinot Gris from Burgenland, Austria might not be a typical example, but it is certainly one of the best. The vines are completely unpruned, and the wine is fermented with the skins to give the wine an amazing golden orange colour. ‘Natural’ wine at its best.
Serve with: Light Italian Pinot Grigio is great with seafood while richer wines from Alsace or the Meinklang Pinot Gris, can be drunk with roast chicken. The Meinklang would be a fantastic white wine with turkey at the Christmas dinner.
Our very special Pinot Gris from Burgenland, Austria might not be a typical example, but it is certainly one of the best.
Graupert Pinot Gris
The vines are completely unpruned, and the wine is fermented with the skins to give the wine an amazing golden orange colour. ‘Natural’ wine at its best.
Chardonnay is one of the most famous types of white wine in the world, and one that grows in pretty much every wine-growing region. It is the most planted white wine grape in the world, and is made in many diverse styles, making it a wine for everyone!
There are two basic styles for Chardonnay:
- Oaked – For a softer, creamier Chardonnay, try oak-aged wine.
- Unoaked – For lighter, higher acid (more refreshing) flavours, you’ll want an unoaked Chardonnay.
The French region of Chablis is famous for their unoaked Chardonnays, while the Cote d’Or in Burgundy is renowned for its oaked varieties. You can find great organic Chardonnay from Argentina, Italy, Australia, California, and Chile.
The riper the Chardonnay, the more like pineapple, mango, and apricot it will taste. The less ripe it is, the more like lemon and green apples it will taste. Oaked Chardonnay will have flavours like vanilla, butter crème brulee, coconut, and toast. The oaked wines tend to have a medium-low acidity, while unoaked varieties have a medium-high acidity.
Serve with: Creamy poultry and pork dishes or roast vegetable tart for lighter Chardonnays.
We have a wide range of Chardonnays, but one of our all-time favourites is the Domaine de Brau Chardonnay Finement Boisé.
Domaine de Brau Chardonnay
Finement Boisé literally translates as finely wooded, and it’s this careful use of oak aging that gives this inexpensive wine real style and class. An equivalent wine from Burgundy could be twice, or three times the price. Have this with a Sunday roast, or even the Christmas dinner, and revel in its subtle charms.
There are, of course, many more white grape varieties to be explored and enjoyed. We even have white wine made from red grapes, Richmond Plains Blanc de Noirs, which is a white wine made from red Pinot Noir grapes.
Even within one grape variety there can be huge variety due to factors such as climate, aspect, soils and winemaker. It is these variations that make wine so fascinating, so have some fun and experiment!