How to Choose the Best White Wine for You!

– I’m Drawing a Blanc!

We’ve all been there. Hopelessly stranded in the wine aisle at the grocery store, trying to balance 3 frozen pizza boxes under your arm while gazing at the seemingly never ending rows of wine.

 

. What to get!? Well in this article, I’m just going to assume you are wanting a nice white wine or two. Would I be correct? Of course I am. I’m always right when I write these articles.

So what do you get? Where do you start? That all depends on you and your preferences. I’m here to guide you and give you the information. It’s up to you to find out what best suits your palate. The world of white wine is vast and complex, ranging from extremely sweet desert wines to very dry. Maybe it’s a special occasion and you need a specific taste? Or you are just wanting to relax and enjoy some white wine with dinner. There are many options to explore, so make it fun! I will give you the breakdown of what’s available.

I recommend trying several different grape varieties until you find one or two or ten that you enjoy. Let’s get started!

Where To Begin?

 

How, exactly, do you go about finding out which white wine (or wines) is best for you? Of course, you can always ask a friend or family member who seems to always know what they are talking about when it comes to wine. There is also the store clerk at any liquor or wine store that can point you in the right direction. The problem with both of these scenarios, however, is that they don’t know your specific taste preferences. They can’t tell you what you are going to like. So let’s take the stress out of it and make it fun, shall we?

White Wine Basics

 

How, exactly, do you go about finding out which white wine (or wines) is best for you? Of course, you can always ask a friend or family member who seems to always know what they are talking about when it comes to wine. There is also the store clerk at any liquor or wine store that can point you in the right direction. The problem with both of these scenarios, however, is that they don’t know your specific taste preferences. They can’t tell you what you are going to like. So let’s take the stress out of it and make it fun, shall we?

Chardonnay

 

Let’s just start with the top dog in the white wine world! Chardonnay is the number one selling white grape varietal in the world, and its numbers keep increasing daily. This popular grape is grown around the globe, and depending on the region, flavor profiles will vary from one extreme to the other. Also, there are two completely different styles of Chardonnay: the traditional oak cask method and the newer unoaked version.
The range of flavors that Chardonnay offers is quite impressive. If made in Oak Barrels, there will be a strong influence of buttery, vanilla and caramel tastes. This old world style using Oak produces very rich, full bodied wines. The newer style of Chardonnay production does not use the oak barrels and is often referred to as “unoaked” or “naked” on the bottle. These wines will display aromas and flavors of apple, pear, tropical, citrus, and melons. Traditional “Oak” Chardonnay pairs well with chicken, pork, and seafood. The “naked” Chardonnay is great with certain dishes containing guacamole, grilled shrimp, and curry.

Pinot Grigio

 

Known as Pinot Grigio in Italy, Pinot Gris in France, Grauer Burgunder in Germany, and Grauburgunder in Austria, this powerful grape varietal is a refreshing and crisp wine that can be enjoyed for most occasions. Although depending on the region its produced, Pinot Grigio will typically be a very smooth and silky wine to drink.
Flavors of Pinot Grigio are vast, with melons and pears dominating the palate. Some may have tones of honey and smoke combined with tropical fruit. This is definitely a wine to try from different regions to see what your palate prefers. In Italy, Pinot Grigio will be a light bodied wine. In other regions around the world, however, you will often find a more full-bodied and richer variety. Try Pinot Grigio with most seafood, especially shellfish and sushi. It also goes great with light pasta dishes and most cheeses.

Sauvignon Blanc

 

Originating in France, Sauvignon Blanc is an exciting white wine variety that pairs incredibly well with food. These wines are often highly acidic and fun to drink. Regions all over the world, especially New Zealand, are taking these grapes to new and innovative places with explosive flavors not seen before. Most Sauvignon Blanc’s are bottled immediately and are better to drink sooner rather than later. Also, you will see it called “Fume Blanc” in some instances, depending on the region where it is produced.
Sauvignon Blanc is typically a dry white wine, and the aromas are intense. Fresh, juicy citrus is often an immediate sensation when drinking this wine. Add to that flavors of herbs and even fresh cut grass, Sauvignon Blanc will pop in your mouth. For the most part, these wines tend to be light to full bodied, giving your palate a crisp and refreshing adventure. Like I said before, Sauvignon Blanc is one of the most food friendly wines in the world. Try it with Oysters, Shrimp, veggies of all kinds, salads, chicken, and the list goes on.

Gewurztraminer

 

No, I didn’t just have a moment and started typing random letters. That’s the actual name of one of the most exciting white wines the world has to offer. This lesser known grape is primarily grown in France, Germany, the United States, and Australia. The most popular and well known Gewurztraminer’s are found from Alsace and Germany, however. These wines are very high in acidity, making it explode in your mouth! The wine itself is on the dry side, however, the crazy flavor profile makes your mouth feel full with exciting sweetness.
Gewurztraminer (geez it’s not easy typing that over and over) has an expansive range of aromas that will cause your senses to awaken quickly. Smokiness combined with rose petals, grapefruit and pineapple are often characteristics of this incredible wine. Although dry and sweet in taste, this wine pairs well with spicy foods, such as many Asian or Thai dishes, barbecue and wings.

Riesling

 

Riesling, possibly the most refreshing of all the white wines, is very crisp and highly acidic, giving your mouth an exciting roller coaster like ride of flavor. It is often thought that these wines are just crazy sweet, however, many possess a very dry taste depending on the region they are produced. Born in Germany, this wine will often give off a strange aroma at first. Petrol. While that doesn’t sound appealing, experts actually use this to gauge how well the wine has been aged!
Fruity aromas and tastes are quickly obvious with the first sip of a good Riesling, with notes of apples, apricots, peaches and pears dominating the palate. There are also very strong floral aromas exploding from the tall and slender bottle they are normally found in. Riesling, like Gewurztraminer (Ugh I had to write that again!), is great with many food groups, but it especially pairs well with spicy foods. Asian, Thai, Barbecue and wings again are great choices for this exciting and refreshing wine.

Semillon

 

Ahhh, one of only 3 approved white grapes from Bordeaux, Semillon is the essence of sweetness. This perfect dessert wine offers up a golden color with low acidity. It can actually seem oily at times, and is quite the opposite of some of its zesty competitors. This wine varietal also ages well, so it does not need to be consumed immediately. Overall, Semillon has an elegant taste with a heavy texture and full mouth feel.
The flavor profile of Semillon is like a full rainbow. Subtle fruit undertones complement floral, spice, earthy, and herbal aromas to give your mouth a wide range of tasty emotions. Apricots, honey, peach and Vanilla are often flavors you will encounter. Try Semillon with most seafood, cheeses, and spicy Asian or Thai dishes. Yum.

So, I just gave you six great white wine varietals to try out.

 

Like I said before, there are literally hundreds of white wine options worldwide, but these few I listed are the ones you will most likely encounter the most. I highly recommend giving each one of them a try, and as you can see, there are different variations within each variety. I would recommend trying different regions of each grape. Make a wine tasting party! Grab a few bottles of Chardonnay, from different parts of the globe and have a blind taste test. Not only will it be fun, it will really help you develop “your” taste. Because, in the end, that’s all the matters.

 

Find what makes “you” happy. As always, enjoy every sip, every bottle.

Sign Up to be a Tasting Partner!

Enter your email below and you will be the first to know about new wines, recipes, wine articles, and new additions to the Vastewine app.